Over the last decade, customer service has relied heavily on multichannel communications, such as email, phone, and face-to-face contact, to garner success; but the industry is rapidly changing. With people relying evermore on the likes of digital interactions, the traditional face of customer service as we know it is likely to be very much depleted within the next 5 years.
As the race to digitisation accelerates to full speed, customers have higher expectations of their customer service experience, with contactless mobile transactions rapidly becoming the new normal. Here CM.com examine the main drivers of changing customer service, the increasing shift towards multidimensional communication, and how businesses can tackle such challenges.
Shifting Communication Channel Preferences
As digital service usage is still accelerating, it’s important to adapt your customer service to this change in behaviour. According to the Communications Authority of Kenya, mobile phone penetration had almost reached 120% in the country by June 2020, with subscriptions increasing by 10% year-on-year. In Africa and the rest of the world, mobile technology continues to connect consumers in entirely new ways.
Increased digitisation conjures a natural shift in communication channels. For example, in 2019, WhatsApp was the most downloaded mobile app in both Kenya and the rest of the world. As channel preference is shifting towards messaging, customers expect similar and swift responses from the brands they interact with. Customer service managers therefore face a huge challenge in managing not only phone calls and emails, but more customer service enquiries from increasingly varied channels, and they must find smarter ways to manage such an increase in both channels and workload.
The Bot Revolution
Chatbots can answer standardised questions and basic queries by utilising preprepared content that’s produced in a way to sound more human. This increased efficiency saves time so that agents can handle more complex queries.
However, not every part of the customer experience can be automated in this way, as such technologies require a bit of extra help themselves. Therefore, creating a hybrid of human contact and bot automation is the key to staying ahead in an ever-expanding mobile-first economy; allowing automated systems to pick up most of the extra work whilst humans step in when things get a little too complicated, adding that valuable personal touch to the conversation.
Response Time: Don’t Leave Them Hanging
“We’ll get back to you within 24 hours” is not good enough anymore. More smartphones and faster data transfers mean people expect faster responses. These days, 24 hours can feel like a month to a customer because other businesses can handle queries in milliseconds. Answers need to be available anytime, anywhere – and they need to be right the first time. Faster answers and faster solutions equal happy customers.
Your Customer Service Department in Five Years
Let’s imagine your customer service department five years from now. You’ve got the perfect service team waiting on a moment’s notice to jump in to deal with complex issues while the bot takes care of everything else. But your customers are not just on your website – they’re engaging via WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and probably new platforms that don’t exist just yet. How can you manage this more efficiently?
You might have different teams working on your social media monitoring, emails and ticketing, handling calls, and so on. So how do you keep these teams aligned and connect customer journeys from your call centre to Facebook or Twitter?
Having each of your team members know the customer by name is what makes a company look organised and reliable, compared to one that makes a customer explain themselves 5 times over to each new department they come across.
With these challenges in mind, CM.com has developed the Mobile Service Cloud. The Mobile Service Cloud offers the channels, products, and features you need to provide superior customer experience, reduce pressure on your customer care team, and even improve business results right now and in 5 years.
What Is the Future of Customer Service?
A good customer journey will need to be optimised, personalised, and connected, or your customer will go elsewhere.
Over the next 5 years, we will see customer service adapt and change into something bigger, faster, and perhaps a bit more robotic. Your customers will expect more because they’re already used to more. In a world of Kenyan and global customers with a wealth of information instantly at their fingertips, answers will be immediate, they will be tailored to whichever channel customers are using, and humans will still be available to step in where needed.
Say goodbye to the old way of operating, and maybe double-check your auto-replies. We are at a turning point where customer experience has been catapulted into an automated era – one that doesn’t show any signs of stopping soon.