Call center service provider Fonolo recently reported on “Top 10 Customer Service Trends for 2012.”
Customer service industry predictions stem from not only technological innovations, but also key managerial tactics such as insourcing and consideration of knowledge management principles.
Savvy managers of frontline service providers will incorporate these trends in their strategies for member interactions:
1. Mobile phones are increasingly prevalent, with more than 5.9 billion subscribers. Convenience and availability, along with capabilities to link with Twitter and Facebook, have put mobile use in big demand.
Mobile users will account for 50% of inbound business calls by 2016. Further, 36% of such calls will originate from smartphones.
2. Social media is another game-changing feature, as consumers can easily complain about their interactions with companies.
Notably, companies responded to customer complaints only 29% of the time, although 83% of those filing complaints appreciate a response.
This indicates businesses are slower than consumers to adopt new technologies. Businesses need to move platforms such as Twitter from one-way communication channels to opportunities for problem resolution.
3. Community-based service. The advent of communication devices such as online message boards has made businesses more effective, as consumers receive timely and accurate service messages.
Fewer support people are required in this effort, resulting in cost savings.
4. The cloud is growing in popularity, due to cost savings.
By 2013, at least 75% of call centers will incorporate the cloud.
5. Customer feedback channels will grow in importance as companies realize the value of asking for input.
Use of varied social media sources such as Twitter, Facebook, and Gripevine will be important. Data from these channels will be collected and analyzed in efforts to improve service outreach.
6. Insourcing will be a trend reversal from overseas outsourcing strategies.
In efforts to save money, companies have endured low-quality customer service interactions. Lost customers are difficult and expensive to replace, and outsourcing cost savings have been negated.
7. Voice of the customer programs increase loyalty and help retain customers.
Challenges might persist as companies learn to collect and respond to feedback, but the benefits to be reaped are many, resulting in improved service offerings.
8. Video will become more prevalent, providing new ways for customers to remain in touch.
About 70% of consumers globally watch online videos, a cost-efficient channel for information sharing.
9. Self-service strategies will be vital because consumers can access answers at any time of the day or night.
Consumers will appreciate the lack of hold times or email response lag; service providers will appreciate cost savings with the availability of self-service options.
10. Knowledge management systems will allow integration of other consumer interactions, such as social media and mobile channels. Knowledge management practices will re-emerge through targeted CRM efforts, making possible personalized outreach.
Application of new and growing technologies will be important in the future for effective customer service interactions. Data gleaned through various mobile and social channels will prove important in structuring targeted messages.
Allowing consumers to access information will not only increase loyalty but provide cost savings to service providers. Technology will need to combine with thoughtful service strategies to yield customer satisfaction and retention.
(Via Credit Union Frontline)