2016 — what’s going on in Customer Service?

While I haven’t been writing much on the Customer Service landscape recently, I have been busy within it. Beyond my daily tasks at Blacklane heading up the Customer Care & Operations team, I’ve had the opportunity to vistit a few conferences this year, and speak to many colleagues within the industry, and I’ve noticed a few trends that are shaping the year to come, one of which is the one that seems to be the foundation for others.

Many are still referring to Social Media being the next big thing, others refer to digitalization, and Omnichannel is still causing headaches for more. All fine and well, however the foundation for all of these, in my honest and humble opinion, is that customers are moving away from accepting what companies are willing to offer. They demand personalized service.

Personalization is the big trend as far as I can see, and it’s one that we as CS professionals should embrace, as it allows us to build a relationship with those customers in a way that wasn’t even possible a few years back.

Let me explain:

* Help pages and FAQs aren’t personalized. Its generally text with images that companies put together, hoping to reduce contacts. It’s pushing the task of help to the customers.

* Not being present on Social Media is the opposite of personalization. It means that the customer doesn’t get to decide how to reach out, he is forced to use channels that the company provides and is willing to support.

* IVRs can be personalized. If I call a company from a recognized number, maybe one day after invoices were sent out, it’s probable that I have a question about that invoice. Does the IVR recognize that and forward my call to the correct team or department? Not many that I know of.

We need to stop thinking about structures and processes within our companies that reduce internal friction, costs, or are even just the standard way of doing things, and put ourselves in the situation that the customers are in. Do they want to tweet to us? OK! Facebook? We can do that! Do they sign off their mails to us with just their first name, then respond as such!

Omnichannel? Sure! Self service? That too! Digitalization? Not an issue at all.

All of our customers, no matter who they are exactly, and regardless of whether B2B, B2C or C2C, and no matter what we provide as products or services, are people. And people need (expect, require, demand?) to be treated as such, and personalisation is the only way to do that effectively.


Originally published at blog.homfray.net.