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The Future of Customer Support

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The field of customer support has been garnering more and more importance in recent times. As companies begin to realize the value added by having a first-rate customer service team, there have been continuous and rapid developments in the industry. Whether it is the introduction of global customer service teams, the evolution of live chat, or even mastering the art of writing perfect emails, the field is under constant evolution.

Here is a list of the 5 biggest future developments in customer service.

Data Analytics

There is an abundance of information out there in the world, but the real question is, how much of it is relevant to your customer service goals? How and what data will let you understand your customers better and enable you to provide them with great service? This is where data analytics comes in. If you are able to parse the data you have from a customer–not just their contact details but even their smallest interactions on your website–you might be able to give them a great customer service experience and ultimately gain their loyalty to your brand or company.

Let’s take the example of Nordstrom. One might think that providing a personalized experience is impossible in retail stores. Yet, Nordstrom achieved this feat by using data analytics to its advantage. It equipped its employees with personal book software consisting of customer preferences, their previous purchases and shopping style (both online and offline). This allowed employees to send personalized emails to customers whenever their favorite brand was in-stock or if there was something new that would interest them.

Self-service

Self-service has become a major part of every brand’s customer support. Customers are no longer ready to wait for agents to resolve their issues. They want instant solutions, preferably in a single Google search. This trend is only set to increase in the upcoming months where more brands will embrace self-service with open arms.

In fact, self-service is something your brand can’t do without in future. This is because it’s a powerful way to improve your customer support in a cost-friendly manner. An extensive knowledge base will make sure that customers get their answers when they face any issues. With this, customers need not depend on your support team unless it’s a serious issue and your agents don’t have to deal with repetitive issues all day. This way, self-service will help teams let customers self-serve themselves by creating an instant version of customer support.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Gartner has predicted that by 2022, 40% of customer-facing employees and government workers will consult an AI virtual support agent every day to take a decision or process support. That’s the rate at which artificial intelligence is making its way into the field of customer support. Successful implementation of AI will save great costs and increase the productivity of customer facing teams.

Here’s how the healthcare company Humana took to AI to improve its customer satisfaction. The AI solution powered by Cogito analyzed the human voice in phone conversations and provided real-time guidance to agents. This helped the agents build better rapport with their customers thus reducing the overall handle/resolution time.

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Also, Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are gaining more importance and heavy investments as part of AI. While machine learning algorithms train the system to give relevant replies, NLP helps the system understand human language. From bots that chat with customers to voice assistants that can interact over phone, AI is sure to become the face of many customer support channels.

Personalization

With customer expectations rising up, they don’t want support agents to treat them as just another ticket. They want agents to go the extra mile and empathize with them. To do this, agents would need sufficient context. After all, with customers being bombarded by many companies, getting them to stay is a luxury.

Eventually, customer support will become an integral part of a customer’s journey rather than making an entry only after the purchase is done. Customers will be able to contact support from their preferred channel and brands will use the respective channel when they want to contact them. Also, brands have to keep creating feel-good moments for their customers through friendly staff, goodies and loyalty programs. That’s why few years down the lane, personalization will play a major part in customer service and retention.

Social Media

If you ask what’s the hurry to build your brand’s online presence, chances are that your future customers wouldn’t know about you at all. Social media is set to become a major channel of a brand’s customer support for it will make a significant impact on the customer’s purchasing decision.

More people have started checking out a brand through social channels. A brand’s social media presence gives a sneak peek of how quick their customer support is and how they treat their customers. This is because, be it any experience, customers share it on social networks. That’s why when customers reach out to brands through social media with issues or questions, brands gain a lot of attention. After all, the customer gets to contact support just by tagging the brand’s name.

Conclusion

Customer support has come a long way from being considered a cost center to a profit center. With businesses becoming customer-centric, support is proactively moving towards creating an experience in itself. From analyzing data to using social media for making customer support better, the changes are taking place rapidly which couldn’t be possible if not for technology. On the whole, the future of customer support holds great promise for brands that are excited about creating great customer experiences.  

Source:
https://www.gartner.com/binaries/content/assets/events/keywords/symposium/ps26/gartner-symposiumitxpo-gold-coast-2017_executive-summary-report.pdf

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