Do you see customer service as a necessary evil? Or as an opportunity to further deepen the relationship with your customer? The future of customer service aligns with the second view.
Anyone who researches what customers find really important will see usual suspects past: convenience and easy payment are at the top. And what also invariably scores highly is service. It must not only be solution-oriented. But also friendly and knowledgeable. You can view these service interactions as ‘critical’ touch points‘: they make or break the customer relationship. But how do you best respond to it? These six predictions will help you form a picture of customer interaction in 2030.
The customer relationship will be the heart of the business
Attracting a new customer is much more expensive than keeping an existing one. Especially online, it is becoming more and more expensive for companies to get new customers. For example, look at what it costs to advertise via social media. This means that companies must get more out of their existing customers. Smart use of technology and data enables companies to build a strong brand.
The big trend is that companies want (and must) make more and more one-to-one contact with their customers. This is made possible by investing much more in messagesapps and digital voice assistants. Consumers can increasingly arrange all kinds of things within these conversational interfaces, and as a reward, they will also be much more open to relevant, personalized offers. In that context, customer service will make the final shift from cost center to profit maker. Every conversation is a commercial opportunity and an opportunity to further deepen the customer relationship.
Customer service becomes customer teams
Customers have conversations with a company or brand. They do not distinguish between marketing, sales and service. Internally, companies still do this. This silo formation is one of the biggest obstacles to delivering a frictionless, personalized customer journey.
In the future, companies will therefore organize themselves differently. For example, in multidisciplinary teams per customer segment, such as age and education. Within these teams, all kinds of disciplines will be represented, such as advertising, service, sales, UX and database marketing. Specialized customer service representatives will be good soft values must have extensive knowledge of the product or service. These will often be flexible workers, which increases the focus on e-learning, certification and AI augmentation.
Customer questions are becoming more rather than fewer
This growth in the number of questions is driven by a number of important forces. In the coming years, the global economic middle class will grow from 1.8 billion to 5 billion people. These people all gain more purchasing power. It will cause an avalanche of orders and therefore questions.
Conversational AI can automate a lot of questions by 2030, but AI will not yet be ready for more emotional and fine-grained cases can be automated. Finally, according to research from Gartner, around 75% of people by 2030 are expected to contact customer service due to loneliness. So yes: you can wet your chest as customer service when it comes to the volume growth of contact moments.
Self-service is customer driven
Self-service is still often used with the aim of relieving the company of regularly recurring questions. That in itself is fine as long as it also improves the customer experience. Obviously, if customers have to wade through FAQs or poorly designed chatbots, that’s not the case. As soon as the effort for the solution is shifted to the customer, it is immediately at the expense of loyalty.
In 2030, self-service will be more customer-driven. In practice, this will mean that bots will talk to bots more often. Think of the reminders and tasks that you can already set in your smartphone. If the order has not yet been delivered, your bot will automatically send a reminder to the company’s customer service. So questions will soon come not only from humans, but increasingly from machines. Organizations will need to focus on this. So you get the difference DIY, do-it-in-community and do-it-for-bot.
IoT is driving the adoption of proactive service forward
It is already the case that you receive an SMS if your order is delayed. What you see more and more often is companies proactively providing services because they can read the status of their service or product remotely. Think of a message from the service provider fixing your WiFi if there is something wrong with it.
As devices are increasingly connected to the Internet, vendors can help customers in many more ways. That means help afterwards. But also preventive, prior to a problem. This way, you can prevent service interruptions through predictive maintenance. Especially if you can tell customers afterward that you saved them from a problem, it feels like a gift.
Multi-experience: virtual and physical reality coincide
New modalities such as touch-, hand gesture and eye tracking which will affect customer service. With multichannel, the channel was central, with omnichannel the total experience across the channels. Multi experience contains specific travels central and it is about creating wow moments within the total experience.
An example is that you can order a pizza twenty-one different ways at Domino’s Pizza. One of these ways is for you to watch the World Cup and give a spoken command to your television that will order the desired pizza for you. The multi-experience is highly context-related, increasingly taking into account where you are and the device you’re using. The possibilities in the metaverse are still shrouded in mystery. Multi-experience is still in its infancy, but in 2030 companies will be better able to have an influence at certain times.
About the author: Michiel Gaasterland is an evangelist at CM.com.
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