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Beyond 2016 Customer Trends
Published on 12/22/2016 | Strategy
This year has gone by so fast and more changes are on the horizon for us all. With the advances in technology, customer exposure and knowledge has heightened demand for a good customer experience. These customers, both internal and external, expectation of service is more demanding than ever before. Today's customers are more in tune to the value being delivered by the interaction and have access to various forms of communication to voice their service frustration or excellence. As such, it is wise for the business to be receptive to customer demands and craft a strategy that meets the minimum level of quality. This is extremely important for service leaders in all industries. You can lose your competitive edge in a matter of months or a matter of minutes, in some cases.
As we think about, Information Technology Service Management (ITSM), please keep in mind some of the customer trends your business will face in the near future
CUSTOMERS EXPECT RELATIONSHIP AND RESOLUTION
Customers expect the same level of service across channels whether they are phone support, email, web submission, interactive chat, self-help tools, knowledge base, etc. The support received is a representation of the brand, enterprise cohesiveness, service quality, process/policy gaps and service deficiencies of the individual staff involved. As such, it is pivotal that customer service agents have access, in real time, to service quality products, service availability information, service event detail, knowledge base resources, user information, user configuration, etc. Customers expect customization and recognition - that we know who they are, which of our products they have, etc. - when they contact us. This type of information strengthens customer confidence in the brand and demonstrates our focus on a resolution of the problem.
CUSTOMERS WANT CHOICE, CONTROL AND CONVENIENCE
Customers are on a tighter schedule than ever before and have become more demanding in their customer service experience. The entire customer service interaction is seen as an inconvenience. When faced with the need to obtain support for a product or service, a customer wants an interaction to be meaningful offering a host of channels, convenient times, clarity and resolution in a timely fashion.
Products and services should be user-friendly and require little to no training. If the new product or service requires a significant time commitment to learn, install, update, etc.; customers will become extremely frustrated, cease use and revert to existing platform or service, if available. Likewise, if a customer is encouraged to use the digital self-help or contact the help desk, this interaction must provide a means to deliver value to them and facilitate outcomes they want to achieve. Otherwise, the customer service agent will be bombarded with incident requests and a customer will consider other service providers.
CUSTOMERS WANT TECHNOLOGY
New distribution channels, technology and customer behavior are evolving rapidly. Our ability to compete and our future results depend in part on our continued ability to maintain and make timely, cost-effective enhancements, upgrades and additions to our technology in response to changes in consumer preferences and increased demand for our products and services. Customers hold both explicit and implicit performance expectations for attributes, features, and benefits of products and services. It is essential, that the business to keep pace with technological advancement, standards and practices. If not, technology and services developed by others may render our offerings noncompetitive and we send the signal that we aren’t innovative, aren’t a partner for them and aren’t savvy enough to truly understand their business needs
CUSTOMERS WANT PROMPT AND CLEAR COMMUNICATION
Effective communication is a critical component of customer service. To truly communicate with someone, you must send a message and receive a reply. People want to know what is going on and a failure to communicate an event, can be seen as deliberate exclusion or incompetence. Customer service efforts are designed to ensure the prompt and efficient delivery of quality products and services to customers, as well as the effective recovery from any service-related issues that may arise. In dealing with customers, clear communication is essential to reducing customer frustration with our services