In my last blog I talked about the need for any executive planning a customer service function to explore the future. This is a fast-changing industry now and who could have predicted a decade ago that customers would be receiving service from brands without even calling for help?
So, it was good timing to see that the customer service expert in business magazine Forbes, Micah Solomon, has just published a list of ten key trends that are shaping the customer service industry globally today – in particular the way customer expectations are changing.
You can read the complete list by going to the Forbes website here, but if I had to choose the three examples Micah lists where I agree that he really has captured some of the most important trends then I would suggest:
- Customers expect 24/7; Whether you need to adopt a follow-the-sun strategy or just have the team rotating in shifts, you can no longer offer a customer service channel that shuts for the day at 5pm.
- Customers expect omnichannel integration; you can’t have different prices online compared to in-store. You can’t respond to calls in a minute, but email in 24 hours. Customers expect all the channels to operate in the same way today.
- Customers now feel empowered; everyone is a publisher. If a customer has a complaint, they don’t have to hope that the consumer editor in a newspaper runs their story – they just blog it or tweet it or Facebook it and if they have enough friends, that complaint could even go viral.
This speed of change and complexity in the modern customer service environment is one of the biggest changes. The customer now expects to communicate with a brand before, during, and after a purchase – not just when they have a problem. Your team needs to be ready to have those conversations.
Do you agree with these trends or do you think that my top three and Micah’s top ten have missed something important? Leave a comment here on the blog or tweet me on @matt_sims1.
Photo by Stavos licensed under Creative Commons