The Inevitable Future of Customer Service
Looking back at customer service, it has evolved so much over time that we are continuously trying to keep up! From the very first patched in call to the chatbot, we have come a very long way. We know that the future is here, but change comes in full swing and we either evolve or die trying!
What does the future hold for customer service? We are about to dive into the predictive world to find out. Read on to find out the inevitable future of customer service.
The Evolution of the Call Center (I.E. Customer Service)
The origins of customer service and the ‘call center’ date back to the 1960’s with the UK-based Birmingham Press and Mail, which installed Private Automated Business Exchanges (PABX) to have rows of agents handling customer contacts. All the pretty ladies in a row patching calls through manually!
During the late 1970’s, call center technology expanded to include telephone sales, airline reservations and banking systems. The 1980’s experienced the development of toll-free telephone numbers to increase the efficiency of customer service agents and call volume.
During the 1990s, call centers and customer service expanded internationally and developed into two additional subsets of communication, contact centers and outsourced bureau centers.
That brings us to TODAY – the 2000’s where we now are totally evolving to mega customer service heights. Where does the future of customer service take us?
Real-time Messaging will Outweigh Email
Emails at one point may feel like a handwritten note we attach to a pigeon and send on its way. I know it seems like it will never happen as email is so co-dependent.
It’s highly unlikely it will go away forever, but more and more customers will rely on the real-time messaging for real-time answers. Cue up Veruca Salt saying, “I want it now!”
The one problem with this real-time system is that it leans on canned messaging. Customer service teams will have to be stocked with 24/7 support across all time zones and rely less on automation. People can see through an automated chatbot and truly still will want the human experience.
Standards (on Social Channels) will be Sky High
With the evolution of customer experience, we have set the bar extremely high. No matter what your brand, product or service is, the standard is set – excellence or bust. The future of customer service means one thing – standards are going to be sky high.
If you have a mediocre customer service reputation, consider your brand to be subpar to those who have staffed their teams with the best people and technology they can find.
Within the last ten years or so, we have Customer Success teams leading the way to just make current clients happy. That role was nowhere to be found in the past and now there is an entire salary riding on it! Make your customers happy or lose them, it’s as simple as that!
“Today companies can no longer just take their customers for granted. Customers are now in charge and strive to do business with companies that they respect and believe that they have their best interests in mind.” – Cori Pearce
The Rise of the Chatbots
Remember the first time you sent a message? It was exciting and fun and all things social. The true chatbots are automating us to get to the human, however, the rise of machines tells us that humans may be less needed in the future.
It has been told that robots may take over, but how much sentiment is truly needed for the customer experience to be positive? Can chatbots make customers feel that they are cared for? A robot can be programmed to do whatever we tell it to do, so why can’t we program sentiment?
It could be coming, be prepared for the increase of automation and the amount of human interaction to decrease. Can organizations keep up with the AI budget?
Phone Calls May become Obsolete and Video will Reign
This may seem so far removed from anything you were thinking in the future but get ready! Do people enjoy speaking on the phone these days? For most, the first attempt is finding a way to NOT talk on the phone with someone to get the problem solved. The phone call will always be available, however the choice to call may be limited in the future.
The phone option may even morph into a video call that is prompting you to show your concern or issue instead of just speaking. Video will become the number one way that we communicate in the future, many different sources say.
Cue Intelligent video operations! Vala Afshar writes, “The future of customer services requires a new model of operational excellence that is built on the five pillars of customer centricity, outcome-first design, data-driven decision making and workflow, automation-focus, and ecosystem-based.“
“Our smartphone-obsessed culture knows mobile phones are about way more than voice calls. Somehow, IVR is only just now catching on.” –CFI Group
Let the Future of Customer Service Begin!
There you have it, folks! It is time to embrace the future of customer service and what will come, will come. Learn to understand the trends, flow with the next best means of communication and grow with the evolution of customer service.
God speed and good luck, friends!