Customer support service has always been an integral part of any profitable business strategy ever since the dawn of free market and enterprise capitalism. The old-age mantra of ‘customer is god’ stands true even today. This is why customer support is given top priority as it can be the difference between success or failure of a business. If a customer is indeed the most valuable stakeholder in a business then it only makes sense to cater to all their needs in the most efficient manner possible. Technology has made sure that every need and want of consumer is met on priority in the most hassle-free manner possible.
Technology and customer support service has always had a closely integrated relationship. From physical support counters in stores to call centers to email support and now real-time chat support, customer facilitation system has been on an upward trajectory riding on the ever new and amazing technological innovations. This decades-old forward march is not likely to stop anytime soon as we see new and disruptive technologies at a geometrically accelerating pace. This is why it is imperative for businesses to remain informed and up-to-date with all the new developments in order to stay ahead of the competition and support the customer in the best possible way.
Below is a brief overview of future trends of customer support service and how you can make the most out of it by employing a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) service.
1. It will get personal
Today’s customer support landscape mainly consists of rough ideas and hit-and-miss methods but that is changing fast. As internet penetration gets deep and deeper by the day, generalized customer support will no longer be satisfactory. Consumers are already demanding more personalized and individual attention to their specific needs and required technology has already been made available.
In order to achieve this feat, make sure that you have a working profile of every customer (anonymous of course) containing all the required reference data points so that any support representative is able to provide the personalized service to the customer. It doesn’t need to be that obvious, you just need to drop hints here and there that you have a complete grasp on that particular customer’s background data and use it to provide decades-old quality customer service.
2. Customers will prefer Self-service
This is an innate evolutionary feature of human beings that they tend to solve their problems on their own first and reach out to outside help only if they can’t. The same principle applies to customer support services of all kind. Already a significant majority of customers prefer to be self-serviced as shown by a Harvard Business Review Survey [https://hbr.org/2017/01/kick-ass-customer-service]. The growing trend of self-checkouts at all major retail stores shows that self-service is really the future and it is here to stay.
You can facilitate the self-service mechanism for your customers by making all the relevant product-related and troubleshooting information readily available on all your digital platforms. Detailed product manuals and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) tabs have been the norm for ages but you need to go a step further and include tutorial videos, animations and interactive designs on your website and social media platforms. Consumer feedback from prior complaints and support tickets can be sued to optimize the self-service experience at all levels.
3. Future is automatic
Automation is a very prominent and distinctive feature of the fourth industrial revolution that is disrupting each and every dimension of economic, social and political spheres of modern society. From fully automatic manufacturing plants to unmanned vehicles to robot surgeons, automation is everywhere and even the support industry is not immune from it. Chatbots that handle customer complaints on their own without any human interference are already making inroads in the customer support service sector and their influence is likely to grow in the future.
An ideal way to reap the most benefit out of any new and disruptive technology is to deploy it as early as possible. It is highly recommended that you set an automation plan in motion at an organizational level as soon as possible no matter what sector you belong to. Automated replies, chatbots, AI assistants are a few practical examples of automated technologies that you can use at your workplace to make the customer support process seamlessly automatic.
4. Data is everything and everywhere
The whole edifice of modern digital infrastructure is built upon the belief in the power of data and it is the sole driving force behind the automation of everything digital in coming years. From individually tailored targeted advertisements to YouTube recommendations, all these processes are driven by unfathomable amounts of data willingly provided by the residents of the digital world. According to Facebook’s own numbers, approximately 4 petabytes (10^15) of data are created each day by its 2.4 billion users.
Data is the panacea that your business needs in order to provide automatic and fully personalized support service to each and every consumer on an immediate basis. For this, you need to collect as much data on them as possible. This can be done with elaborate interfaces and customer surveys that collect all the relevant data points in a non-intrusive manner. It must be remembered that data collection must always be ethical and secure and the consumer should be fully informed of the data being collected and should have complete control of their data and its privacy.
5. No, it won’t take our jobs
All this talk of data-driven and algorithm supported automation has many people worried about the impact that it will have on the human workforce. The most frequent concern is that machines will take our much of the work that human do these days and this will cause a massive rise in unemployment rates all over the world resulting in severe political and social implications. These fears are mostly based on misinformation and scaremongering of a minority of people. No doubt, some current jobs will be eliminated as they become automated but there is ample precedent available that technology has always created more jobs than it has eliminated.
The current idea of a permanent life-time job after a set period of learning will not be applicable to the workforce of the future. This is why it is strongly advised that businesses start taking immediate steps to train and reorient their workforce according to the changing dynamics of modern work dynamics. The idea of on-job training and lifelong learning needs to be the norm. Similarly, customer support services professionals should learn to share the workspace with algorithms. In fact, this would be a good thing as most routine tasks will get automated, human workers would get ample free time to focus their attention on the bigger questions and long-term planning.
6. Social media is here to stay
Between all major social media platforms, their combined userbase amounts to 15 billion, that’s double the number of the global human population[https://buffer.com/library/social-media-sites]. These users spend on average more than 2 hours daily on these social media sites [https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2019/01/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic.html]. This mammoth number of users coupled with the time spent there make social media platforms the true commercial hubs of the modern digital landscape.
It is imperative for any business to maintain an active presence across all major social media platforms considering the immense sway that they have over their users. Similarly, customer support services are also shifting to these social media sites as consumers prefer to interact with their favorite brand via the social media of their choice. As the consumer feedback, there is usually public so all social traffic must be monitored suing keyword monitoring and social listening tools in order to intervene in a timely manner whenever a consumer has some complaint or query.
7. Realtime customer support will be the norm
As the internet and related digital services have grown more sophisticated and penetrative with time, delays and latency factors have been reduced to the minimum. One unintended consequence of it has been the decline in attention span of digital consumers. One still remembers the day when a picture used to take minutes to load on a dial-up connection but now everything is available on the literal fingertips. This has put immense strain on customer support service systems as customer prefer real-time service and do not want to wait at all when they file a complaint or ask a query.
In order to stay on top of this particular consumer demand, you should devise a unique combination of different strategies including geographically separated support representatives, automated replies that can engage the consumer until a support rep is available or robust self-service mechanisms so that customer is able to solve their problem on their own. Point is that all customer complaints and queries should be resolved on an urgent priority basis at all times.
8. Old School is still cool
Despite all the revolutionary technological breakthroughs and the latest disruptive innovations of all kinds happening in the digital world, old school communication tools are not completely done away with yet. Email is a prominent example of classic technologies that has managed to stay relevant against the onslaught of trendy social media options of engaging and interacting with customers. Email is still the preferred channel of formal communication even among the majority of millennial internet users as shown by this survey. [https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/08/top-marketing-channel.html].
This is why it is recommended for businesses to not simply do away with old communication technologies in favor of newer ones. It would be ideal for your business to keep a mix of customer support services while employing all available platforms and channels in order to provide most efficient support to a maximum number of customers via the platform of their own choosing. You must keep all options on the table for the customer and they go with the choice that they make.
To wrap up our discussion on future of customer support service, it would be safe to say that digital disruption has already made significant improvements in ways due to which this industry and businesses must update their organizational processes and Standard Operating Processes (SOPs) according to the need of time. It can be pretty hectic especially for the new businesses to set up and maintain a global network of customer support services across a multitude of platforms that employs both manual and automatic support techniques.
This is why Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is a recommended strategy in this regard as you delegate all the hard work to a competent third-party who take care of all your customer support service needs. We at TransData offer a wide variety of integrated customer support services at flexible rates backed by a very efficient and productive team of committed experienced professionals so that you can choose any plan according to your business needs. Have a look at our services and offers here [Insert link] or contact us to get a quote.