Just like everything else in our life, technology is having a huge impact on customer service.

The foundation of great customer service isn’t changing. We still need to give customers the answer they need, quickly and accurately. The challenge we face now is the expectation the answers will be available whenever they want it and through a multitude of channels.

There are four key elements that make up this challenge:

1. Omnichannel

As consumers – we all want to be able to connect with organisations through any of the communication channels available to us – at the counter, over the phone, both direct and through an IVR, through the website, over chat, email, SMS and through social media.

The real challenge is not only engaging with customers through all of these channels but making sure the information is consistent and the process is seamless if they want to move from one channel to the next.

2. Mobile

The immediacy of the customers need for instant answers is being driven by the explosion in the use of smartphones and electronic devices. Customers can now connect with us in so many ways and all through one device. And they expect the answer at the same speed through whatever channel they use.

While these devices bring a lot of challenges they also provides us with a lot of opportunity. The fact mobile phones facilitate different ways for them to contact us means we can reach them more quickly and more cost effectively if we do it right. It’s about having one central area for your business knowledge so it is consistent, while having it available through a growing number of access points.

3. Self-Serve

In a study by the Gartner Research Group, 70% of customers prefer to use an organisations website to get answers than make a call to an agent. So we have an increase in the expectation of customers who want to be able to answer their own questions without any help. What we need to do is make sure that they are able to access the information they need in a simple, readable way.

Some of our livepro customers are looking at the way they group and link information – understanding when a client reads a certain piece of information they will probably want to quickly access other related information. Others look at statistics around the trending enquiries they are getting from their customer channels and then developing a dynamic “Hot Topics” list that is dynamically listed on their website.

4. People

Regardless of the increases in self-serve and omnichannel experiences, customer service staff still have a huge role to play in ensuring customer satisfaction. We will just be connecting in different ways. One of the biggest changes will be the need to expand the skill base to make sure the self-serve experience is the best it can be by authoring and grouping the information in a manner that suits the client base.

We’ll also be connecting more with customers after they’ve exhausted their self-serve attempts. One of the organisations we are working with are looking at how they can have all of the information you might need on a customer assembled together so when they finally give up on the self serve attempts you will already know what they have tried, be able to show them some empathy and find the final answer really quickly.

This is how the omnichannel should work, and work well. In 2016 your customers expect timely and accurate answers. Whatever, whenever, wherever.

If you think your business might have an interest in these areas, send us an email at info@wp.livepro.com for a free demo.