Customer expectations will continue to rise in 2018, and brands need to keep up the pace if they want to compete. Fortunately, customer-care technology keeps on improving as well. If you want to provide top-quality phone customer service in the coming year, look at the areas of personalization and automation.
Many contact centers are struggling along, expecting their agents to solve increasingly complex problems with outdated systems. This contributes to high turnover rates and associated costs that can have severe impact on your business in more ways than one.
Technological innovations to watch in 2018
In order to deliver good, consistent customer service, you need talented, well-trained agents who are empowered and engaged with their work. That was true 50 years ago and will not change in 2018. What we will see is technological advances, especially in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing, that will support your team to deliver their best.
Virtual assistants such as Siri and Cortana are now part of daily life for most people. The technology is getting better all the time, and your customers are accustomed to dealing with them. Many simple customer issues can be handled by chatbots, which can answer questions posed in plain everyday language.
This has been shown to improve resolution times by as much as 99% and increase customer satisfaction ratings.
Of course, chatbots can also be extremely frustrating when you reach their limits. In the 2018 customer contact center, you’ll have chatbots to handle the lower-tier queries, such as, “When are you open?”
The groundbreaking difference is that the next-generation chatbot will be able to realize when the issue is too complex for it to handle and seamlessly transfer the call to a live agent.
The technology used in this way will help lift the burden from your team’s shoulders while providing customers with the always-on service they’ve come to expect.
Intelligent call routing
With the growth of advanced data analytics, you’ll be able to track customers across all the channels they use to contact your company. More and more often, these are digital: According to predictions, web chat is expected to grow from 44.3% to 81.1%, mobile apps from 41.6% to 75.45%, and social media from 51.4% to 76.1%.
All this data leaves traces that can be used to predict customer needs and behavior.
You’ll be able to deliver personalized service and proactively address their problems by routing them to the agent (or chatbot) best-suited to solve their issue.
New software advances will allow computers to gauge customers’ feelings by analyzing their voice and word choices during a call.
Your agents will be able to see when a customer is feeling confused or angry and respond appropriately. The software can also be set to notify supervisors when a call is going out of control.
They can step in and take over from the agent, or cut into the call to advise and help calm down the customer.
The Need for Integration
In order to provide the best service you need to do more than simply install the best new software and gadgets. Everything needs to work together, smoothly coordinated with your human customer service team.
Cloud-based customer service programs allow you to store all your data in the cloud, where it is readily available to all your representatives, including any who are travelling or remotely-based.
Centralized dashboards will display a customer’s entire history with your company across all channels, updated in real time.
Your customer service team will have all the information they need at their fingertips.
You’ll be able to monitor quality assurance across all channels, ensuring the best customer experience whether the customer is on live chat, phone, email, or social media. You can identify the sections of your service that need improvement, as well as training agents to excel in the areas that support your business goals.
In our always-connected world customers expect to be able to contact you whenever, however they please – and they want you to give them a solution regardless of which channel they use. If they contact you through live chat and you tell them they need to call your customer service number and explain their problem (again) to a new agent, you’ll have one angry customer on your hands.
In 2018 you’ll be able to transition from chat to voice with a simple click of the mouse. Your agent will have the customer’s phone number on file, so calling is easy. The customer can even click on a phone icon to call the same agent they are chatting with to continue the conversation.
Mobile-friendly customer service
Almost 70% of the US population uses a smartphone. It’s certainly the preferred method of making phone calls – landlines are getting rarer every day. The smartphone boom allows you to use technologies such as visual AVR, where your help menus are displayed on the customer’s screen.
It will be easier for them to understand their options and promote faster and more efficient sorting of incoming calls.
The advantages of remote workforce support
How do you provide quality customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? Automation can help a lot, but there’s no substitute for the human touch.
Enabling remote workforce solutions allows you to source talent from all over the world. With your team spread out across different time zones you can easily provide 24/7 customer support.
The ideal customer contact center for 2018 is more a state of mind than a specific location. Your team will be distinguished by their dedication to excellence instead of their physical boundaries. Regardless of which state or country your agent calls home, you can all connect in the cloud. You attend to customers through all channels, and provide first-call resolution through their contact method of choice. You’ll use technology such as chatbots and AI to achieve the top-notch customer service that makes your customers happy.