No two customers are the same, and businesses that don’t realize that will lose customers. Sure, businesses have specific clientele and niches they service, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the customers in that niche are the same type of people. Companies that don’t recognize customer service trends as they evolve they will find themselves out of the loop and potentially losing clients.
Outside vendors that are entrusted with outsourced services from a variety of businesses act as the tip of the spear when it comes to customer service. Whether your business has outsourced its customer service, help desk, or technical support, you want to entrust that service to an outside vendor with the knowledge to recognize and adapt to changing trends in customer service as 2014 gets underway.
Your Customers are Evolving
Consumers in the modern marketplace are increasingly coming from the Millennial and Gen-Y generations. What does this mean? This means that the customers you are dealing with today don’t want to interact with your company in the same way that their parents did. Consumers today don’t have the time or patience to interact with your business on the phone.
These new consumers in the marketplace want to be able to serve themselves as much as possible, so you need an outside vendor with a well-established web presence that allows customers to try and solve their problems without waiting on the phone speaking with a service tech.
Additionally, they have little patience or interest in repeating information, writing down service numbers, or being put on hold for seemingly endless amounts of time. When necessary, they are looking for a seamless transition from web services to speaking with an associate and want their information transferred without the need to repeat everything to your associates.
Life is Lived on the Move
A good outside vendor will not only be transitioning more and more services to web-based interfaces, but will also offer a solid mobile platform. A recent survey conducted by Unisphere Research found that not only do 31% of customer interactions today take place via the web, but an additional 9% are conducted via the web on mobile devices or using mobile apps.
For the first time ever, more interaction between consumers and businesses took place on mobile devices in 2013. In an increasingly web-based world, more and more consumers are conducting business on the go. Some 55% of all time spent interacting with online retailers in 2013 was done via mobile devices.
This means vendors and service providers not only need websites that are optimized for mobile platforms, but should also be considering specialized mobile apps to make it even easier for customers to interact.
Social Media is here to Stay
Social media has been treated like a buzz word for much of the 21st century, but in 2014 it is time to accept the fact that social media is a very real component in customer service. An established social media presence feeds into the customer’s desire to interact with your business via the web and can be done while they are online enjoying personal social media time.
Social media not only allows your business a connection point with customers, it allows customers to interact with one another, gain information about your business, and provide direct feedback that can be used to enhance customer service.
Don’t Forget YOUR People
Believe it or not, the experience of your employees (in-house or those with outside vendors) will directly impact customer service going forward. It’s no great secret that happy employees are better employees, but this trend is continuing to grow in importance and won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
Better training with advanced technology, a sense of empowerment, and the tools to succeed will help employees feel engaged in customer service process and encourage them to go the extra mile to provide your customers with the experience they are looking for when interacting with your company.
These trends apply directly to customer service whether you maintain in-house services or entrust your customer service functions to an outside vendor. When you are looking for an outside vendor to entrust with your customer service functions, you’ll want to find one that understands these trends and is adapting as the market around them changes.