2012 and customer service
With 2012 now firmly upon us, what will it bring for customer service? The combination of the ongoing recession, increased reliance on the internet and the continuing growth of social media are the three major challenges that customer service needs to address.
Here are Eptica’s views on how these trends will impact customer service in the year ahead:
Clearly there is no immediate end in sight to current economic woes, so customers will continue to shop around for the best value wherever they can. That means they will do more research prior to purchase across multiple channels, from in-store to the internet. But in ultra-competitive markets customers are not just looking for the lowest prices, but the best service as well. So the companies that thrive in the recession will be those that match value with excellent customer service to create a happy and loyal customer base.
Increased internet reliance
The woes of the high street are well documented, but it is not just the retail industry that has seen customers migrate online. From travel to entertainment and public services the internet is now the first port of call for the majority of the population. The rise of smartphones and tablets means that more and more internet access will be via mobile devices, while increased penetration of internet-connected TVs will also provide a new gateway to the web. On the internet, customers will want their questions answered quickly and accurately if they are not to surf to the competition.
We’ve talked before about the megaphone that social media provides for those with customer service issues. With networks such as Facebook and Twitter now mass market and new challengers such as Google + establishing themselves being able to listen to the voice of your customers on social media is imperative for both B2C and B2B companies in 2012. The key for customer service is to put in place an integrated approach that combines monitoring, answering and proactively helping customers to access the right information wherever it is located. Expect more high profile mistakes as companies grapple with social customer service.
For companies to turn these three challenges into opportunities it is critical that they embrace a flexible, company-wide customer service focus that brings together knowledge, technology and training to deliver the highest levels of service. Get it wrong and unfortunately you may not be in business in 2013.