Today’s customer expects the world to revolve around them. They expect to get service wherever they may be – on a phone, on the web, in a store, in an app – and they don’t want those channels to feel disconnected. They expect resolution – fast. And they expect you to anticipate their needs, just like Amazon and online services do as they continue to raise the bar for customer expectations.
So what will the future of customer service look like? And how will your organization deliver it? I believe the future of customer service will be defined by three things:
- Customers will find more ways to connect with you. Today we talk about channels like mobile, the Web, social media and the contact center. Connected devices and wearables are already showing up as service channels in many industries. We can expect a continual expansion in channels, and customers expect to be able have conversations that move seamlessly between them. I can start watching a Netflix movie on my phone, watch a little more on my TV and finish it on my iPad; customers will expect the same types of experiences.
- Customers will reward organizations that anticipate their needs. Too many service organizations still can’t connect what a customer was doing on their website to the call they just made to the contact center. The best customer experiences in the future will go far beyond that. They will use the full set of the customer’s context—everything we know about the customer—to ensure every interaction delivers exactly what the customer needs, and offers news products and services that customers actually want. This real-time intelligence will be available for customers on self-service channels, but will also guide agents and employees to give better experiences to customers they interact with directly.
- Organizations need to design their operations from end-to-end to deliver great customer service. Amazon doesn’t have a reputation for great customer service just because it has a great website or a mobile app. The entire operation of Amazon (how they fulfill orders, maintain inventory, etc.) is built around delivering a great experience. Organizations are learning the hard way that sticking a new front-end—even a cloud-based, mobile front end—in front of siloed and disconnected processes simply means you are connecting your customers to a bad experience. The future of customer service will connect marketing, sales, service and back-office operations to deliver a seamless journey.