By Shana Latham, Analytics Manager, Polaris Marketing Research
Measuring and monitoring customer service is critical for business success. But don’t let your customer satisfaction program become stale. Here are key customer service trends for 2013. Are you staying ahead of the game in delivering and measuring customer service?
Naming is challenging, but following a pre-defined process can help produce a better outcome in a shorter timeframe. This process has worked well for us:
1. Rising Customer Expectations
Customers are expecting better customer service more now than ever before, and they are likely to switch companies if they experience poor service. In 2012, 31% of customers experienced customer service that did not meet their expectations (Source: 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer).
2. Social Media - Early Warning System
Social media is a rising to monitor and measure customer service satisfaction and issues. Many customers use social media to voice their good or bad customer service experience. Social media isn’t always the best place to resolve an issue, but it is a good channel to identify service problems. There are many social media data mining software tools that use text analytics, aggregate the data, and identify the top mentioned issues.
3. Vendor Consolidation
Customer service companies will continue to be acquired by industry leaders in 2013. The consolidation benefits the customers of these organizations by not having to integrate multiple products and deal with different vendors.
4. Speed is King
Time is of the essence for consumers. A third of customers feel that they have less free time than their parents did, according to a recent survey conducted by Persuadable Research Corporation. Fast and efficient service should be the focus of companies to avoid customers switching to competitors.
5. Customer Power Shift
Customers have access to more information about companies than ever before. Because of the ease of Internet searching, online customer review sites (i.e. Yelp, CitySearch, TripAdvisor, etc.), social media, and message and blog forums, the customers have loads of information at their fingertips. This translates to more power for the customers versus the companies. Traditional marketing techniques will not sustain the current customer.
6. Video for Customer Service
With YouTube being such a popular site, customer service videos are being uploaded and becoming popular among customers. These videos allow customers to seek help and answers (with a live visual demonstration) on their own instead of the traditional call to customer support. Setting up these videos lower company customer support costs, empowers the customer in seeking knowledge on their own, and offers a better customer service experience.
7. Mobile Customer Service
Customers accessing the Internet through mobile devices versus computers are increasing throughout the last couple of years. This will continue to be the trend. Companies need to take the initiative of adding customer service functionality to their current mobile apps to be competitive.
8. Video Conferencing
Video conferencing is overcoming the traditional customer support phone call. It makes for a more personalized experience for the customer. This also relates to the same point with the customer service videos offered online in that the platform offers a visual simulation that other traditional methods do not offer.
9. Staffing is a Challenge
One of the biggest trends is the continuing challenge of hiring and retaining customer service employees. Trying new ideas and systems is the way to go to make customer service appealing to the workforce.
Gamification is the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. When done successfully, it can get consumers to become more engaged and willing to buy more of your product.
Overall Source: http://fonolo.com/blog/2013/01/top-10-customer-service-trends-for-2013/
Shana Latham is the senior data analyst in the analytics department of Polaris Marketing Research Inc., where she is responsible for handling data manipulation tasks involved in survey research. She has a bachelor's degree in business from Georgia State University.