Customer service is a constantly evolving area – almost daily, new customer trends and new ways of approaching customer relationships seem to emerge. Technology has increased the opportunities and avenues for customer interaction.
As innovation continues to influence the approaches to customer service, ensuring that you and your customer service agents are future proof is key in keeping up with the customer service needs of today. Doing this will mean that you:
- Provide your customers with flexibility
- Achieve outcomes that encourage customer loyalty
- Remain competitive and innovative in your approach to customer service
Having the Right Approach to Customer Service
There are so many different ways in which customer service managers approach the task of building a relationship with customers. Where some companies utilise all channels and provide customers with flexibility and freedom, others limit the avenues of communication and keep things straightforward. Some businesses will aim for customer friendliness and problem resolution, whilst others will present limited opportunities to the customer with the hope that they will accept what is often a sub par result.
As customer service continues to evolve, considering an approach that embraces innovative approaches, ensures customer loyalty, and respects the control that customers now have will ensure that you can maintain competitiveness and meet your goals and targets.
Embracing Avenues for Customer Interaction
The first consideration to make here is regarding technology. Today, tech is continuing to increase the opportunities and avenues for customer interaction.
Not only does it provide customers with flexibility and diversity in their choice of platform, but it also allows them to decide on the form of communication – whether it is over the phone, through a chat with quick response times, over email, or in a public forum. Alternative forms of communication and customer feedback in the form of questionnaires, and the use of bots for a wide range of purposes also demonstrate the advancement of tech and customer service.
Platforms such as these have significantly impacted the way that businesses operate and interact with their customers. With the openness and accessibility of online platforms, the importance of strong customer experiences is key.
With this in mind, be sure to minimise the downsides of using these platforms – there are a number of questions you should be asking yourself. Consider if your target audience is better suited to having options that might cause confusion, or if they are better off with a more straightforward process that they can be confident in. The type and size of business will also impact this choice and the channels that you focus on.
Ultimately, keeping up with these developments in technology and business-consumer dynamic will ensure that your customer service efforts remain successful going forward.
Approaching Customers as People
Once you have an idea of how you want to approach customer service in terms of the channels and tech you utilise, it is important to reconsider how you plan on interacting with your customers in terms of the behaviour, attitudes and outcomes you want to achieve.
Given the amplified voice consumers now have through social media and online forums, working towards positive solutions that benefit the consumer and encourage loyalty is key. Whilst previously, companies more often took the approach of writing off customers and prioritising efficiency and budget, customer service in today’s world needs to cater to customers in order to minimise the negative publicity that can occur online, and encourage customer loyalty in order to keep up with increased competition.
Whether you are a customer service manager or generally value the importance of customer experiences, there are a number of skills that will improve the way you approach customer interactions. Most importantly, strong people skills are necessary in keeping customers happy and ensuring that they feel that their complaints are heard – something that can have a surprising impact on brand loyalty in general. In addition to customer satisfaction, people skills can positively impact the efficiency of customer service teams – Upskilled provides further insight into the advantages that people-persons have in the workforce.
Ultimately, ensuring that your skills and knowledge are up to date will ensure that you can succeed in building loyalty, brand awareness, and a generally customer-focused culture.
Continuing to Embrace Change
As technology continues to develop and influence the way businesses operate, customer service needs will change more and more. Staying on top of changes in business culture, consumer behaviour, technology innovation and the general interconnectivity of businesses and consumers will ensure that you remain competitive and maintain a positive brand image.
If you look at how customer service has changed in the past, the importance of continuing to embrace change becomes clear. Whilst customer support was once provided on a 9-5 basis, and technology hindered effective communication, the opposite is now true. 24-7 support through the use of tech and new, real-time channels such as messenger services, as well as comprehensive support systems are all drivers in effective customer experiences.
When it comes to embracing change, make sure that you always have an up to date understanding of customer behaviour and needs, and continue to cater to this. Ultimately, seamless, tailored and more simple customer service experiences are key in achieving success surrounding customer experiences.