For the past couple of decades, we have come to witness the astounding evolution of customer service. Forty years ago, for example, if customers had any problem with a product or a service, they had to face the hassle of solving the issue face to face with a manager or make a phone call during some specific working hours. Today, you can go to the Amazon website, for example, and click on their Live Chat option, where a bot will help you find the answers to the questions you have about your order. If you still don’t receive an answer, it will connect you to a customer care agent (probably someone sitting in front of a computer in India) who will quickly respond and make some arrangements any time of the day, 24/7.
There comes a question: Will we see bots completely replacing customer agents and making the customer service experience even quicker? The answer is: probably not. If that is the case, then millions of people will have to face the sad reality of unemployment, which technology development has in some way solved in the first place. Yet, a more possible outcome will be the continuous innovation of technologies, which will assist the customer care professionals in helping the customers much more efficiently. These are some general predictions about how technology will influence customer service in the coming years.
Using data analytics to make customer service decisions.
A more data-driven approach will pave the way for a more personalized approach to customers. By recording information, such as personal data and previous purchases, about all customers in well-organized databases, the customer service team will be able to construct “profiles of customers” and come up with assistance that best meets their individual needs.
Earlyone, for example, is using the relevant data (keeping the information of the owner anonymous) to predict the customer flow, thus making the flow of the institution flawless.
Omni-channel customer experiences.
A lot of companies have already started using this. Customers are now able to reach customer service through multiple channels. Omni-channel technology syncs all these channels together and makes the process much smoother for everyone involved. Customers want low-effort interactions, and omni-channel customer support eliminates having to repeat and explain the issue on and on again if, let’s say, you are being transferred to another representative.
Artificial Intelligence and bots will save specialists from a flood of complaints.
As we already mentioned, bots are not here to deprive us of our jobs. It’s a little bit difficult to replace the empathy and the attentiveness that a human can show while talking to a customer. They are here to make them easier and will continue to do so. With the advancement of Artificial Intelligence, many more technical issues will be solved without human interference but at some point, a human touch will still be required. This implies that customer care agents will focus more on establishing a rapport with the customers, instead of wasting time on repetitive tasks.
Virtual and augmented reality will give rise to virtual customer support.
The hype about VR and AR is real, and we expect them to penetrate the world of customer service pretty soon too. In some services, where visual representation is key to conveying the message, this will completely change the carrying out of the right actions. It will have a huge impact, especially on post-sale support, such as self-service and field services, allowing customers to solve their issues themselves and to feel empowered. Empowered customers are satisfied customers, who are potentially loyal ones, and companies are on cloud 9.
Technology is indeed revolutionizing the world. What we could not have imagined thirty or forty years ago is our day-to-day reality now. The same will be the case thirty or forty years from now. We can’t tell what exactly is going to happen in the future, but we do know for sure that customer service will change. And it will change for the quicker, for the more data-driven, and for the more high-tech.