Six key trends are transforming customer service—Here’s how to translate them into real business value
Today, digital transformation across the enterprise is impacting customer service. The most successful companies are evolving customer service from single-channel or non-integrated multichannel into a dynamic platform for customer experience. These organizations are embracing a new model of customer service where channels are irrelevant and customer service operational excellence is measured by effectiveness rather than efficiency and cost-savings.
ThinkJar’s Esteban Kolsky recently spoke to customer service practitioners as part of his annual research project about the state of customer service. He identified six critical trends fueling this customer service transformation, including budgeting, spending priorities, technology adoption, data, channels, and cloud and platform ecosystems (to read more about the trends, check out this blog post or the full ThinkJar white paper.
But how do you begin to translate these trends into real business value so you can embrace this new customer-centric model of customer service in your organization?
Collaboration: the foundation of the new customer service model
According to Esteban, it’s critical to talk to peers and colleagues because customer service strategies must follow corporate investment priorities. If your organization has a chief customer officer, or someone who oversees experiences and engagement, this is the first person you need to engage with to make sure your initiatives align with what they are doing. Some of the investment priorities detailed in ThinkJar’s latest study are end-to-end experiences, customer engagement, and a better use of data.
Finding other people in your organization who are undergoing similar modernization efforts is also crucial. While, it’s unlikely you will have to completely replace existing customer service solutions, you will likely combine efforts and resources between departments. The truth is, actions that were formerly privy to sales or marketing or even accounting are no longer isolated from customer service given the focus on end-to-end experiences.
As you work to adopt trends to fuel customer service transformation, make sure to have conversations with operations, IT, marketing, and even sales because customers will require more than what customer service can provide. For example, as new customer service technology is adopted, 60-90% of customer service interactions are likely to be automated. The remaining interactions will be exceptions, one-off cases, and previously unknown issues. All will need to be resolved along the entire customer continuum—with help from other departments and subject matter experts—and not just from a simple interaction with customer service.
Personalized, ad hoc experiences are what customers are after, requiring access to more IT resources than ever before. Access will be required not only to other departments and their processes, but also access to data and information previously unavailable to customer service. Talking to IT and architecture teams about making this simpler is also essential.
Leveraging cloud to create innovative customer service solutions
Finally, understand the enterprise’s cloud strategy. While customer service continues to lag in cloud adoption, solutions that are ecosystem-based must be run from a cloud infrastructure to be effective. Whoever oversees cloud-migration and adoption in your organization must understand this new customer service model. They can plan the necessary integration points, technology needs, and how to better leverage data tools existing in the enterprise, as well as what customer service platforms bring to the table and how they can be used to improve operations in other areas of the enterprise.
Ecosystems are about leveraging cloud properties and components to create innovative solutions for the enterprise. Working together, collaboratively, is the essence of the new customer service model.
Your ultimate goal should be to incorporate transformation customer service trends to create strategies for the next two years aligned with the new customer service model. It’s also important to collaborate with your providers and partners to determine how to better achieve a truly effective customer service platform for everyone, not just customers, to have better experiences.
To get a more complete picture of the new customer service model, check out ThinkJar’s publication: Customer Service 2019-2024: a Framework to Adopt the New Model of Operational Excellence for Your Service Team and hear more about what Esteban had to say on the topic in this webinar.
In the Customer Service is Digitally Transforming – Series, you'll find the following posts:
Part 2 - Six trends driving customer service
Part 4 - How to translate CSM trends to business value (this blog post)