What will customer service be like in 2020?
New research from the Economist Intelligence Unit seems to point to a change, with managers waking up to the bottom line impact that customer service provides. The report, Service 2020, Megatrends for the decade ahead, sponsored by BDO, is based on a survey of 479 global business leaders, along with eight industry experts.
The headline findings are based on a recognition that growing global competition, a desire for faster and faster service from both B2B and B2C customers and the speed and transparency of social media make excellent customer service a key priority going forward. In fact, 55% of respondents expect to compete on service, rather than quality or price by 2020, and many are already putting in place the people, processes and technology to make it happen.
The study shows that leading companies seem to share some key traits. They have systems that track feedback and complaints, are monitoring and interacting with customers on social media, have devolved power and responsibility to frontline staff to make decisions, are using technology as a means to share information (rather than a rigid straitjacket) and are looking at areas such as outsourcing and personalisation to make every customer experience tailored and truly excellent. However many companies admit they are not yet ready for changing customer needs – while nearly seven in ten firms see their service levels as ‘above average’, only 16% see themselves as excellent. Clearly, companies need to be busy between now and 2020 if they are meet the customer service challenges of the future.