I spoke at a TEN event recently and one of the recurring themes together with customer service bloggers and commentators over the past couple of years has been multichannel and in particular the ambition for companies to move to an omnichannel platform. It’s is an important topic and is clearly something we are facing in the customer service business – channels are proliferating and they need to be accommodated.
But the focus should not be on specific channels or technologies. This misses the point. A company like ours is actually focused on ‘this generation customer service’, not just what the media is saying is cool at present or in the near future.
Think about how customer service has developed over the past decade. There has been a shift in emphasis from customers coming to the brand through established channels – a phone number or email address – to companies needing to catch up and find the channels that customers prefer using.
So the ability to analyse data and locate channels has become a critical part of the process today. This is worth remembering because serving customers on multiple channels is not just a case of asking a few of your contact centre agents to respond to Twitter messages.
What is needed is an entirely new approach, hence my preference of calling it ‘this generation cutomer service.’ Companies need to be ready to adapt, to integrate new channels, and to change the way they interact with customers depending on what becomes popular and useful.
Today we are seeing Near-Field Communication (NFC) and WhatsApp becoming important to companies, but what will it be in future? Perhaps augmented reality and virtual systems like Oculus Rift will become important, but regardless of the channels themselves, it is the approach to customer service that needs to change, not just the channels used. The emotional signature left behind by a great customer experience will resonate perpetually no matter in what mix of channels the brand interaction was transacted.
What do you think about the changing nature of customer service? Have you seen a strategic change in how new channels are approached and a flexibility about where service is offered? Leave a comment here or tweet me on @aniederer.
Photo by Sergey Galyonkin licensed under Creative Commons