Once again, it’s time to take a look into the crystal ball. Which of the latest ideas in customer care are likely to have staying power in the months ahead? Forrester published a report predicting customer service trends in 2016; we’ll highlight five of them here.
Trend #1: Companies will make self-service easier. People want to solve simple issues quickly and easily, and even if your customer service is outstanding, the idea of speaking to an agent may be seen as hardly worth the effort. Evaluate your company’s existing level of self-service offerings. If your website isn’t easily searchable and equipped with resources to address common issues, it may be time for an overhaul.
Trend #2: Field service will empower customers to control their time. Technology can be used to forecast precisely when field staffers will show up at a customer’s home, and extra effort will be made to stay in constant contact with the customer. Field staffers will also jump on the self-service train by offering ways for customers to track the status of repairs.
Trend #3: Prescriptive advice will determine decisions and connections. The analytics so readily available today will be used to make customer care processes more efficient. For example, customers will be routed particular agents based on agent knowledge and skill sets, or, analytics can help generate prescribed steps for resolving issues.
Trend #4: Connected devices will deliver insights for preemptive service. The Internet of Things will start transforming companies from being product-based to service-based. For example, devices attached to cars will transmit information that could be valuable in understanding how and why something goes wrong, possibly even preventing it from happening in the first place.
Trend #5: The customer service technology ecosystem will consolidate. Our customer care world revolves around three areas with separate technology tools: queuing and routing, customer relationship management, and workforce optimization. Quality customer service depends on how well we’re able to integrate information from all of these tools. Forrester predicts that they’ll soon start to consolidate and become easier to use.
Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.