Five Customer Care Trends to Consider Implementing In Your Strategy

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.

 

The Tools You Need to Augment Your Quality of Customer Care

Boy, how customer care practices have changed over the past few decades.  It’s amazing how quickly technology and the Internet impacted the way we interact, conduct business, and make purchasing decisions. Now contact centers should be utilizing the wealth of advanced technology and Web-based marketing and customer care tools available . In fact, it’s rather unwise for contact centers to neglect the important insights that can be leveraged from today’s contact center technology and multichannel marketing solutions.

Specifically, contact centers should consider implementing the following marketing and technology tools:

Predictive analysis: First, contact centers must develop a customer profile database that stores important demographic and transactional information. From there, patterns such as demographic preferences can be gleaned so that contact centers can better predict future consumer behavior. When you have access to data that can help you prepare better for future interactions you’ll be able to deliver optimal results time after time.

Email marketing: Today’s consumers spend a lot of time with their noses in their inboxes. Therefore email is a crucial marketing channel that businesses should leverage to gain more attention from existing and potential consumers. Not only is it a great way to raise awareness for your brand, it also produces actionable data—like open rates and click rates— that companies can use to track their customers’ engagement.

Live chat: Millenials are an ever-growing proportion of today’s consumers. And this generation in particular values the convenience of self-service customer care methods. So, it’s vital that contact centers employ a variety of communications channels to serve the various age groups who need information about products and services.

Market segmentation: Due to the fact that not all of your consumers are exactly alike, it’s important to have different strategies in place to serve the needs of specific groups. Leveraging data analytics tools can help you segment your customer database and sort your customers into groupings based on demographic similarities.

Don’t just sit back in awe of how rapidly technology is revolutionizing the customer care industry, rather, jump in and take advantage of the possibilities these innovations can afford your business.

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 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

 

The Top Customer Care Trends Contact Centers Must Consider

Due to the recent advancements in the contact center space from more intuitive technology to more strategic multichannel marketing services, organizations have been able to adjust their brand focus to what (or who) truly matters most: the customer.

In fact, Forrester’s report “Trends 2015: The Future of Customer Service” suggests that customer-forward technology and communication methods are becoming increasingly omnipresent in the customer care industry—as they should be to improve the customer experience. After all, technology and marketing tools are meant to help your agents have more meaningful conversations with clients to bolster their satisfaction with your brand.

The report highlights a number of customer care trends that will continue to develop throughout 2015. Below are the three that will impact contact center customer care most:

  • Customers Embrace Emerging Channels to Reduce Friction: A great many of today’s consumers prefer to make customer care inquiries on the go. As such, contact centers must ensure they provide their consumers will a multitude of avenues for connecting with agents. For example, adding supplemental services such as live Web chat or texting services to your telecommunications services will provide consumers with more flexible options. By providing these multichannel services, your consumers will feel empowered to make customer care inquiries over the platforms they prefer.
  • Companies Explore Proactive Engagement: This trend regards the emergence of proactive engagements that anticipate the “what, where and how” for customers. In the contact center space, this means leveraging predictive analytics so that agents—whether handling the phone lines or answering live chat queries—can better prepare themselves to address queries efficiently. This also means using insights derived from predictive analysis to boost your multichannel marketing efforts. For instance, by using data to understand consumers’ needs, you can leverage email marketing, for example, to send potential customers messages about your brand that resonate with them before they even realize they need your products or services.
  • Predictive Analytics Will Power Offers, Decisions and Connections: This trend further encompasses predictive analysis at the technological level. More specifically, organizations will use predictive analysis as a catalyst for more in-depth levels of data analysis. For example, in the contact center space, predictive analysis can be used to match a consumer to his or her most suitable customer service agent. This process—or what we at InfoCision refer to as skills-based routing—helps streamline customer care interactions so that agents with the most experience in specific fields are linked to customers with inquiries in those areas. As a result, agents are able to make more informed decision and furthermore, establish more meaningful connections with consumers.

In summary, contact center leaders should focus on implementing more data analytics into their strategies as well as utilizing multichannel marketing channels more effectively to drive customer satisfaction and boost their bottom lines.

Want more industry insight and advice? Explore the rest of our blog!

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 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

 

The Importance of Making On Hold a Last Resort in the Contact Center

There are some unbelievable stories about companies that don’t put a concerted effort towards their quality of customer service. In fact, just recently a woman spent six hours on hold with American Airlines trying to rebook her cancelled flight due to weather-related issues. Instances such as this not only frustrate customers on an individual level, but they also damage a company’s reputation on a greater scale.

Contact centers have plenty of resources available that giant brand-name businesses, such as American Airlines, should be using to establish themselves as customer service experts. One such resource, which tends to have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction, is simply the attentiveness and personality demonstrated by the Communicator on the call.

For example, in contrast to the American Airlines story, a customer service representative of online retailer Zappos once stayed on the line with a customer for an incredible 10 hours. The length of the interaction was not due to hold time or conflict; rather, the Communicator was expressing out of this world service and social skills.

Zappos exhibited quality customer service through the skills exhibited by its contact center Communicator, while American Airlines call didn’t even make it to the point of contact with an agent. So, what kind of tools can businesses leverage to ensure that putting their customers on hold is a last resort? Here are some tools that should be implemented within every contact center for success:

Skills-based routing: This tool will automatically transfer a customer’s inquiry to the available Communicator with the greatest amount of experience in the subject matter.

Comprehensive IVR: Your auto-attendant should offer comprehensive menu options to meet the satisfaction of your customers upon first impression—otherwise the customer will already have grown frustrated by the time they are greeted by an agent.

Predictive Models: This technology allows for the better preparation of contact center agents. Data is collected in order to outline consumers and creates a model based on past consumption behaviors in order to predict the problem ahead of time.

Make sure putting your customers on hold is your last resort. Learn more about the ways business can implement stronger resources to improve their quality of customer service.

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 American Teleservices Association (ATA). 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

How to Turn a Customer Service Interaction Around in Minutes

Technology can only help contact center agents so much when a service call goes inexplicably awry. In those situations it is the agent’s personality and genuine empathy shown for the consumer that can turns the interaction around immediately. In serving today’s consumers, using business intelligence is a remarkable solution to better understanding consumer trends and expectations. But even so, a synchronous relationship between the individual using the technology and the technology itself needs to exist.

Predictive analysis, a tool that aids Communicators in resolving customer issues more timely and accurately, is of course widely appreciated by consumers looking for a quick and painless interaction. But the consumer isn’t aware this technology was deployed in order to provide best-in-class service; he or she can only judge the interaction by the surface of the call portrayed through the demeanor and demonstrated knowledge of the Communicator.

A staff of emotionally sensitive and socially intuitive Communicators will help businesses build brand and relationship equity among consumers. According to the American Express “Global Service Barometer,” recommendations from friends and family are most likely to get consumers to try a new brand. In fact, positive word-of-mouth is more influential than a company’s sale or promotion in recruiting new customers. How are you going to increase your businesses recommendations?

Follow these tips below and you’ll be sure to surpass your contact center services ROI:

  • Bond with the customer: It’s as simple as asking about the customer’s day. Create a real conversation in order to grasp hold of details that can better establish a personal connection between customer and Communicator.
  • Show empathy: Don’t just help your customer solve the problem; convey a genuine level of empathy for the situation at hand, especially in situations where the interaction is going south. Small details down to tone of voice can matter in relaying empathy in the contact center space when body language is not applicable.

Never doubt the impact of sincerity in customer service—show your consumers you’re more than a voice in the receiver but rather a human who cares about the issue at hand on a personal level.

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 American Teleservices Association (ATA). 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Predicting Customer Service Success: The Importance of Data Analytics

I think most would agree with this suggestion:  consumers expect customer service agents to know how to efficiently solve any and every problem at hand. Due to the fact that agents aren’t mind readers, supplying your contact center with the right tools to better identify future customer inquiries is critical in reaping full ROI.

Recent research suggests that advanced business intelligence directly improves customer experience as well as contact center services ROI. According to Dimension Data’s “2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report,” 57 percent of companies relate improved customer service experience levels to ROI, while 75 percent of contact centers can now pre-identify and segment their customers. It’s evident that contact centers’ improving ability to predict customers’ future behavior and, in turn, offer a catered experience to each segment is an important correlation.

Guarantee your agents are prepared for any type of customer by instating these three forms of business analytics:

Predictive Models: Foresee the imminent behaviors of particular customers by compiling past transactions to create a customized model. Learn from past consumer actions by using those experiences to better prepare for the next. The customer is bound to appreciate the personalized attentiveness of an experienced Communicator.

Market Segmentation: Use your contact center’s abundance of incoming data to organize your consumers. Grouping certain consumers based on personality and historical tendencies saves time and money. This allows for improved Communicator assignment, as the agents most experienced with specific groups can be strategically assigned in order to ensure the best customer experience.

Customer Profiles: The ways in which we are able to use data are nothing short of incredible. Contact centers receive massive amounts of information about customers through inbound customer service calls and/or outbound calls to prospective non-profit donors. Leverage this data in order to create customer profiles based on the similar attributes detected in specific groups of consumers. These profiles will give businesses an edge in predicting future behaviors.

Hiring mind readers isn’t a realistic goal, but we can provide our employees with top notch business intelligence for a best-in-class customer experience. Learn more about business analytics strategies that can help augment your contact center services ROI.

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 American Teleservices Association (ATA). 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

One-to-One Marketing: Fact or Fiction?

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

If you’ve heard about one-to-one marketing and are still a little skeptical, I understand. After all, it’s difficult to believe that it’s possible to deliver such personalized attention to each individual customer or prospect. Even if you’ve heard that your competition is engaged in one-to-one marketing, you may not yet be convinced that it is truly possible. The fact is, however, that today’s technology makes it a reality.

For instance, InfoCision offers multichannel marketing solutions that can help your company target consumers individually based on a wide variety of characteristics. Using our business intelligence and data analytics solutions, we highlight meaningful information that enhances your marketing campaign. We achieve one-to-one marketing using tools like:

  • Predictive Models that use customer data to predict future purchasing behavior
  • Customer profiles created by using data to determine similar attributes of people who take specific actions
  • Market segmentation, or the process of taking a list of people and grouping them together based on shared attributes
  • Demographic Scripting that presents varied messages to consumers with different interests and needs based on factors like age and geographic location

Combining these powerful business intelligence tools allows your business to make sense of mountains of data and hone in on customers in a way you might not have thought was possible. And when you partner with InfoCision, you’ll never be short on prospects to target as our Consumer Database contains over 200 million records, as well as demographic (attributes such as age, gender, geographic location) and psychographic (attributes such as lifestyle, values, preferences) data.

The more personal your marketing efforts feel to customers, the more likely they are to feel that you understand their needs. Establishing that personal connection between your company and the customer is what helps create loyalty—something that benefits any business.

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 American Teleservices Association (ATA). 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 has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.