As we move into the New Year I’ve been asked by a number of people about what to expect for customer service in 2013. Here are five trends that every company should be paying attention to.
- Social customer service will continue to grow in importance. There are many different social channels that customers like to use to communicate. Companies are going to have to step up and monitor these channels, and most importantly, respond quickly. Companies are being measured based on response times and the percentage of customers they respond to. What company wouldn’t respond to a customer’s comments, either good or bad? Responding to social (read that as public) comments on the various social media channels will be the “table stakes” to play in the game of business.
- Gamification will grow in popularity. It is redefining the customer experience as companies create an interactive experience that engages and entertains the customer. The customer experience goes far beyond just delivering great customer service. Companies are putting games on their websites, attracting customers to the sites just to play the games and have fun. “Winners” of these games can win products, discounts, elite status and more. For a great example of this, visit the Home Shopping Network’s website. (www.HSN.com).
- Big Data will get bigger. There are a number of ways companies are gathering data including surveys, comments on social media, buying trends and more. As companies find it easier to get data, they will potentially become bogged down in it. The key is to determine the data you need, gather the data and then take action on the data. That last step is the key. Some companies have acquired amazing information and then do not do anything with it.
- Mobile is growing. More people than ever are comfortable using their mobile devices (phones and tablets) as instant communication tools. Customers will use mobile devices to connect with customer service centers for support via voice, instant chat, video chat and social media. Using GPS/location services, companies will be able to deliver real-time promotional offers to customers who agree to let their favorite companies interact with them while they are shopping. This is just the “tip of the iceberg.
- Customers are smarter than ever. They know what good service is and expect it. Companies who make the promise, better keep the promise, or risk public comments on social media channels, or worse, the customer will just do business elsewhere. The companies they do business with will not be compared to other companies in the same industry, but to simply the best companies in any industry. Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Nordstrom, FedEx and others are setting the bar high for everyone. Customers will expect the same levels of customer service from your company. If you don’t provide it, your competitors will.