I read an IDC report recently that summarised the future of customer care services. It’s only a page long, but worth reading as it describes how caring for customers is not only becoming social, but also mobile and virtual.
These various aspects are all a part of the channel shift that I feel will shape the industry in 2013. The future of customer services is not just being able to respond to a message on Twitter, it is around a fundamental shift in the way customers behave and expect service.
Many people now use their telephone more as a mobile computer – especially for social networking – than as a telephone. Expecting customers to be calling a specific helpline for support is no longer how customer care services work. It may be that sometimes a call is still the best way to deal with a problem, but companies cannot expect the customer to use a channel, they need to offer a variety of channels and catch the customer regardless of which channel they use.
In many cases, social support can just signpost customers to the right information. Organisations often have an enormous database of help available – an FAQ that actually extends to every possible question. The customer needs support just to find the answer to their question in such a vast database of information.
This process can often be improved through simple actions like making a short explanatory video on how to fix a common problem. Then if that video is uploaded to a public site like YouTube, it will often pop up as the search result when a customer searches for ‘how do it fix this …’ on Google. This kind of social and virtual support means that customers are being helped yet they don’t even call your help desk.
It’s true that customer care services are changing fast and now social support has become a standard part of the mix, we are going to see the industry changing more than ever in 2013. Expect a channel shift ahead…
Photo by Jérôme Sadou licensed under Creative Commons