2016 was a year of technological advancement in terms of the way customer service is delivered. As customers become more tech savvy with every passing day, their expectations and demands from businesses also continue to grow. With the continuing investment in AI, smart devices and big data, this year will take forward the trends in technology towards real-time implementation. Whether these are widely accepted and appreciated is yet to be seen. Here’s a brief glimpse into how your business can prep its support for this year:

Round the Clock, Round the Year

More and more customers have started to expect businesses to offer digital support to them round the clock. For global businesses, where customers are located in different time zones, it becomes essential that the support department is available at any given instance. Investing in a 24/7/365 online support solution, such as live chat for instance will enable businesses to stay competitive and meet customer needs.

Time is of the Essence

Once a query/issue has been put forward, the front desk must resolve it instantly. Fast-paced lifestyles and instant gratification has considerably shortened the expected time between identification and resolution of queries. Be proactive, efficient and precise when dealing with customers. Provide them with real-time query tracking to keep them in the loop. Issue-handling processes need to be streamlined to deliver the fastest and the best solution possible.

Bringing the Human Touch

Different people want different things and while automation and self-service might be the preferred choice for some, there will always be others who want to talk to a person when it comes to customer support. In such a diverse scenario, it is ideal to ensure efficient support with automated responses but also making sure well-trained, empathetic and emotionally intelligent people are always available to deliver personalized experiences. Having such people on your team will help create trust and stronger relationships. Hiring multilingual staff is always an advantage for global businesses to deliver better support and to ensure customer service excellence.

Human Touch

Focus on Experience

Among businesses that offer the same product/service, customers will prefer the one that adds more value as well. Through service experience, you can tap into customer emotions and win them over. While price is an important factor, it is the overall experience which is pivotal to many. The ambiance which is created and the way service is delivered at every touch point will develop brand perception. Through the experience offered, customer retention and loyalty can be improved.

Deployment of Support Robotics

Drones, robotics and alike have the potential of being utilized for support. By December last year, Amazon tried out its drone delivery service styled ‘Amazon Prime Air’ in the UK. In the Incheon International Airport, Seoul, LG will deploy two robots by the end of this year. One will assist travelers with info about their flight times, gate numbers, destination weather, etc., and even accompany them to their terminals. The other is a cleanup robot which vacuums as it moves. Businesses, in general, are making a move towards automating customer service where it is feasible, efficient and time-saving.

Robote Services

Offering Interactive Emails

Alongside campaigns and newsletters, emails can now be used for delivering customer support as CCS3 enables interactivity within email templates. Users will be able to make small decisions such as viewing size, colour, shape, price, etc. variations of the product. They may also modify or order from within the email which will redirect them to the website/app. Since email is a secure interaction between a business and client, it is still preferred over other channels by many.

More Personalization, More Customization

Businesses are constantly diving into big data to siphon out user information from customer feedback to enhance their products/services. This is beneficial in creating more personalized and more customized experiences. By tracking consumer behavior and preference, businesses are able to dish out accurate deals and offers tailored for a specific customer. In support, this data enables staff to quickly assess previous interactions, issues faced and channel of choice. If used correctly, user data helps in building loyalty.

Virtual Assistants at Your Service

With over 4.5 billion mobile users worldwide, a great number of OEMs are integrating virtual assistants (Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, etc.) into their devices. Voice-to-Search is convenient as it may be carried out while multitasking. Businesses need to optimize their support and make it accurate for queries put in through virtual assistants. A client may ask the virtual assistant on how to renew/upgrade/cancel a product/service of your business. Ensure that your website/app offers a command list for all/major virtual assistants.

Internet of Things and Smart Diagnostics

Many Internet of Things (IoT) devices recently launched by tech giants now include smart diagnostics, a method of self-monitoring quality assurance. Examples include washing machines, coffee makers, elevators and vending machines among others. These smart/IoT devices analyze their health, connect via internet and alert both consumer and business in case of any issue. If it is a minor one, it may be resolved by the client or remotely by support staff. However, if it requires further assistance, human help is dispatched. This kind of preventive measures featured in IoT’s save time and money for both parties.

Customer Service Via Internet

Social Media is the Channel of Choice

More and more customers are now inclined towards using social media as a support channel. This preference is based on business-consumer interactions being more personal and one-on-one. In recent years, many companies have dedicated their social channels for support. A report by Aberdeen states that 62% of companies adopted a social customer service program in 2015 alone. Research also suggests that customers spend more and are also more likely to recommend a brand when they receive quick and efficient support on social media. Therefore, being available on all popular platforms 24/7 is essential so that customers can get instant access on the channel of their choice.