Customer service is changing. As we mentioned in our last blog post, channels don’t matter as much—the focus has shifted to customer service effectiveness instead of efficiency.
ThinkJar’s Esteban Kolsky recently spoke to customer service practitioners as part of his annual research project about the state of customer service.
According to Esteban, practitioners identified six critical trends fueling customer service innovation:
1. Budgeting. Growing budgets are shifting from maintenance to improvement aided by digital transformation initiatives bringing customer service in alignment with the rest of the enterprise.
2. Spending priorities. There are three areas where customer service will be spending over the next two years: customer experience and customer engagement; automation and self-service; and a new operational excellence model aligning these needs with corporate digital and business transformation.
3. Technology adoption. Technology is slowly deployed in customer service, usually following lengthy and painful pilots. We are seeing a slight shift in this model supported by the comfort of customer service practitioners with platform-based operations and artificial intelligence following years of use. There is also an increase in the use of technology to train better agents.
4. Data. Data-based decision making is rising. Virtually all customer service practitioners we talked to are investing in data analytics and predictive operational enhancements and are less concerned with cost savings. Expect to see an effectiveness-focused metrics model emerge.
5. Channels. Disconnected channels became cumbersome to support and impossible to tend to separate from everything else. Channels are becoming the communication medium for customer service operations, irrelevant as separate entities. And with platforms becoming the prevalent solution in customer service, channel management is now commoditized.
6. Cloud and platforms and ecosystems. Large service organizations are still running on-premises for critical functions, but virtually all organizations are being forced to consider cloud-adoption strategies. Smaller and modern organizations have taken to the cloud quite well, showcasing the realities of this transition; expect larger cloud adoption to happen soon.
Customer-centric customer service
According to Esteban, these six trends, combined with a shift toward enterprises becoming digital businesses, is resulting in a new model for customer service that emphasizes customer-centric effectiveness rather than company-centric cost efficiency.
You can also check out the full ThinkJar white paper, Six Transformational Customer Trends, and hear what Esteban has to say in this this webinar, 5 Critical Steps for Outcomes-First Customer Service.
This blog post is part of a four-part blog series highlighting trends and how you can apply valuable insights to fuel your customer service transformation.
In the Customer Service is Digitally Transforming – Series, you'll find the following posts:
Part 2 - Six trends driving customer service (this blog post)