The future of customer service can be summarized in one phrase: omni-channel service. This is according to the results of a survey commissioned by Forrester: “Navigate the Future of Customer Service in 2014.”
What stands out most in the survey is the need for customer service leaders to unify service channels to provide better quality to the customer—something that every service leader should continuously look to do. In fact, 74 percent of customer service leaders cited improving cross-channel customer experiences as their top objective for 2014.
So, to better prepare for a quickly approaching new year filled with fresh service trends and challenges, let’s revisit two top findings of Forrester’s report in relation to omni-channel service.
Allocate spend toward the right omni-channel technology
Too many customers are dissatisfied with organizations because they deliver inconsistent cross-channel service, according to the report. The reason for this inconsistency can be linked to the fact that customer service organizations, on average, allocate only 15 percent of their budgets toward investing and improving technology.
Although many companies still struggle with reducing costs and increasing efficiencies, it is vital that you deliver omni-channel service that is in line with your customers’ expectations, and that starts with investing in the right tools and technologies. For example, a cloud contact center solution can help ease omni-channel integration as it makes communicating over multiple channels less complex and more affordable, as you can add or drop new channels depending on how they perform with your target audience. At the same time, you’ll be lowering upfront capital and won’t have to deal with integration headaches.
To further drive home the importance of wisely investing in technology, Forrester found that three-quarters of consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails, which leads to unnecessary service costs that the firm predicts amount to over $20 million annually.
Abide by the Four “P’s”
Pain-free, proactive, personalized and productive—the four P’s—omni-channel service is the key to success (“success” being defined in the Forrester report as “increased customer satisfaction and lowered operational costs”). So ask yourself:
- How seamless and “pain free” is your omni-channel service, and how does your current technology help facilitate this?
- How personalized is service across every type of channel available to customers? Consider everything from the basics of scripting to simple new ways that your brand can take service to the next level (for example, providing two-day shipping on an item that never came through in the mail).
- How proactive are your service representatives? Ensure the most proactive customer service. Forrester, for example, suggests notifying customers in real time of such newsworthy items as, for instance, a new software patch that is available before the software problem is detected by consumers.
- How productive are your contact center agents? Forrester doesn’t necessarily equate unproductive service with technology, but rather a lack of empowerment of agents from management. According to Forrester’s VP and Principal Analyst Kate Leggett, most companies fail to empower their agents with the right information or do not make this information available in a way that is easily accessible. “This means that customer service agents must often use disconnected applications to resolve a single customer issue,” she writes in the report.
Failing to provide great service comes at a price; your loss will be a competitor’s gain. Research from consulting firm Accenture shows that 51 percent of U.S. consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service, putting $1.3 trillion of revenue at play in the U.S. market due to this “switching economy.”
Interested in learning how Aspect can help support your company’s omni-channel service needs? Click here to contact a sales representative today.