Thousands of blogs on customer service trends are talking about pros and cons, giving tips on ensuring desirable customer experience… Why? What has made customer service such a crucial matter of today and where did it emerge from?
The answers and resultant change has proven to be a significant matter of today. The witnessed growth and evolution of customer service has been truly phenomenal.
With the change in the way customer service is imparted today, its importance in the growth of businesses has also changed remarkably.
The customer contact modes have changed ― from office visits, to calls, to dedicated mobile apps. Customer complaints have changed their space from postbox/unread email folders to social media platforms. Customer service has evolved to become an integral part of a company’s planning and sustainability.
However, the evolution and transformation has been a steady process. The significance of customer service has grown gradually to become a business growth requisite of today.
Another notable thing here is the change has been in line with latest technological trends. And so, customer service has paved way for more effective business development. For this reason, its history and evolution is worth tracing.
Read ahead for a deeper understanding of customer service and its evolution to an important consideration of today. Also, check out these business trend-setters who have taken the next step to match up to the current requisites of delivering ideal customer service.
1.) From 9 to 5 to 24*7 Availability
Customer problems are not limited to five days a week, eight hours a day. We live in the global economy where customers are expected to be served across time zones. Also, they expect fast responses at night and during weekends. Companies unresponsive to customer complaints risk losing business.
Live chats and 24*7 responsive contact numbers are part of customer expectations. Gone are those days when they were served as per the company’s convenience.
Just like Zappos. They take customer happiness quite seriously. Their greatest USP is they are able to deliver customer service across channels.
Their live chat, email, call, and social media are available round the clock, all backed by their dedicated customer loyalty team.
Ain’t this super easy?
2.) From Customer Complaint box to Online Customer Support
A small company post box full of customer complaint letters kept for days was the reality of customer care. Some were answered while few were trashed. But, this is history (sigh).
The present reality is online support choices available to customers. These choices have not just eased the way customers can approach companies, but also reduced the response time from support teams.
Nike holds one of the strongest customer service accounts via Twitter. They feature a dedicated customer support Twitter account, supporting seven days a week and in seven languages.
The main Nike account has nearly 33,300 tweets. While, their account dedicated to customer support has sent over 5,12,000 tweets (that’s almost 16X more).
That’s another ingredient of more than just amazing customer service.
3.) From Private Letters to Social Media
According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel. It’s different from the earlier times where letters and emails were the complaint mediums and no urgency was shown for resolutions.
The time has arrived when every issue grabs public attention. Customers go on to write about their experience openly on social media platforms. This hampers the image of the company and they can’t afford to ignore it.
Well-known airlines, JetBlue, once witnessed such incident on Twitter. One of their passengers tweeted his monotonous four hour long flight experience complaining the in-flight TV device didn’t work. Within 23 minutes, the tweet was replied to with an apology saying his account has been credited for the inconvenience he faced.
A classic example proving the extent customer delight has reached.
4.) From “Hello Company” to “Hello Customer”
Look back at the time when customers used to call twice/thrice and kept repeating their problems.
Now is the period when companies call back their customers with every piece of information already gathered. It is now the company’s responsibility to resolve issues and inform customers about it.
Amazon, for a reason, is considered the gold bar standard of customer service. Out of several evidences of a great user experience, one of them is the “Call me now” feature.
Moreover, revolving around the comfort of the customers, it even gives them the option of receiving a call back.
Like always, keeping the customer convenience should be forefront.
5.) From Single to Omnichannel
Companies follow the customer servicing path across channels like web, phone, social media, emails, and so on. These contribute in faster and a more personalised customer experience.
Earlier, customers were limited to depending on one platform to get their jobs done. Now, as per the changing customer demographics and communication preferences, having multi-channel communication is no longer an option but a necessity.
Starbucks took omnichannel utility one notch up. Their free reward cards which are redeemable on future purchases exemplify the remarkable use of omnichannel. The card’s amount balance can be checked and even recharged via website, in-store, or mobile application, and any change will automatically be updated on all platforms.
Amazing, isn’t it?
As the evolution continues, the goal of delivering AMAZING customer experience remains the same. However, it should be accompanied with persistent advancement and distinctive approaches.
Companies should ensure this side of their business is taken care of and they’ll end up building an asset of a returning customer base.
What are you doing to be next on this list?
This article was originally published on Customer Think.