The year 2017 witnessed many significant changes and developments in the customer service industry. Customer service professionals are always looking for ways to keep with the times and meet the constantly evolving customer demands. This is because it is expected that within approximately two years time, customer experience will surpass cost and product as a key brand differentiator. Below is a list five predicted trends in customer service that may appear in 2018:
Increased data-charged personalization
Machine learning has paved the way to creating more personalized customer service. Advanced technologies can now leverage software in analyzing customer input and identifying emotions. Such programs can monitor phone calls to evaluate the customer's situation and provide this data to the customer service representative to direct them in how to deal with the customer. Additionally, organizations now rely on data analytics to learn about the customer's preferences and interests in order to make their experience better and provide them with targeted ads.
Increased use of cloud technology
Cloud technologies have been able to overcome the limitations that were imposed on organizations. It has afforded the opportunity for even the smallest of businesses to do things that a lack of resources and budget constraints once prevented. Among the numerous factors that motivated organizations to deploy cloud-based software is the more varied and easy to use payment options. This ease of use removes barriers that might have previously put customers off purchasing products, which can increase an organization's revenue. Cloud technology allows organizations to deploy advanced customer analytics software at affordable prices. This helps them work towards improving their customer service without breaking the bank.
Omnichannel experience management
The constant increase of social media and cloud platform use among customers means that organizations need to broaden online communication options. However, with this omni-channel approach to customer service, organizations must ensure that they provide great service across all channels. On average, businesses utilize about nine points of contact for customer service. Consequently, customer service representatives should be trained in a wide range of skills that help them in dealing with each medium correctly. An organization's ability to maintain a seamless experience across all channels is what distinguishes it from its competitors. But most importantly, businesses need to be sure that their systems can withstand the increase in traffic.
Increased use of conversational commerce
The term conversational commerce refers to the use of online platforms and messaging to place orders on products. Data from such transactions is then gathered and used in predictive marketing analytics to study customer behavior. Artificial intelligence also allows bots to directly interact with users, read messages, analyze browsing and purchase history, and respond to requests. The use of conversational commerce is maximized when the organization is able to identify and extract the most relevant data for use in personalized services and marketing purposes.
Merge between human interaction and automated technology
While the past few years have seen a significant increase in the use of chat bots for customer service, it is believed that the industry will continue to be heavily dependent on human interaction. A hybrid workforce such as this aims to merge the capabilities of both humans and machines, using each one's strengths to make up for the other's weaknesses. Unlike chat bots, the connection that customers form with customer service representatives adds an element of interactivity to the relationship and compensates for what machines lack.