At one of my earlier jobs at a bank call centre I was chosen employee of the month because of one good idea, an innovative idea. I continued being the most praised employee month after month for the next half a year, and the reason was simple, I contributed to customer service innovation on a daily basis.
The customer service department is the hardest place to innovate in any organization. If a CEO comes up to me and says “I need innovation”, answering him “Let’s take a look at your customer service” is considered by many of my peers in the consulting arena, as shooting myself in the foot.
The New Innovations in Customer Service
As the importance of technology and social media continues to grow, consumers have increased access to companies and their products, as well as other customers like themselves. There are a variety of innovations that customer service providers can use in order to service, maintain, and engage tech savvy customers.
Data Management and Real-Time Solutions
When a call centre operates like a switchboard for the company, the metric for success is too often measured by the completion of connecting a call to another representative, sometimes it the measurement is how long did the call take, and that is even worse. Companies should view their customer service units as centres for solutions by giving their representatives access to data and specialized training in resolving issues. Issues resolved need to be measured by satisfaction, and you will be surprised to know about the amount of company’s not measuring satisfaction. Given the amount of data that is easily trackable and actionable today, from call management to HR metrics, it’s a no brainer!
In 2018 customers have grown accustomed to accessing data on their own and no longer need to start at the beginning of the issue when they contact customer service representatives. Innovative customer service solutions account for this. Connecting representatives to customers at the same data point at which the customer needs assistance saves time and builds confidence in the resolution process. I short: I and everyone I know hate companies that make you explain your problem from the beginning over and over again. Eliminating the division of resolution departments provides real-time service. Companies may operate vertically when keeping a hierarchy of responsibility but horizontally, every agent can be given access to the data management system and resolve issues at the initial point of customer contact.
Replace Scripting with Pattern-Based Modelling
With a pattern-based modelling structure in place, innovative customer service departments are seeking solutions to maintaining customers rather than just simply resolving their issues. The old model featured a script that encouraged the customer service agent to read new offers and up-sell products during all customer calls and interactions. While this can be an effective method for retaining customers, the pattern-based model views this as predictable. Statistics show that scripting does not provide a return on the time and effort invested in the modern era of fast pace decision making. New systems analyse the outcomes of all customer service functions and assist agents in knowing which offer will be best received. Tracking the patterns of communications to know which solutions will work best for each customer, based on the current conversation, create a much more positive interaction with less frustration. These servicing systems operate in real time and take the guess work out of agents’ hands.
Social Media and 24-Hour Engagement
Customers have to be viewed beyond their interactions with the product and as consumers of information, media, and technology. Social media, smart phones and tablets, and internet access prepare customers to be smarter shoppers and raise their expectations regarding support and service. It also is an outlet for sharing consumer responses to customer service interactions. Social media, mobile applications, and website developments require public relations departments and customer service units to merge and provide 24-hour engagement. This innovation provides for proactive customer service patterns and better issue resolution. Customers can receive spontaneous interaction with a person or a pattern-based response system and can do so with the device of their choice in a setting that is most comfortable to them. By staying current with technological improvements and meeting customers at their level of access and comfort, customer service providers can increase responsiveness, manage data faster, and resolve issues more readily than ever before.
Why Startups Should Invest in Customer Intelligence
The business environment has become very competitive these days. Technology and ever changing corporate strategies have greatly influenced how business procedures are managed. If you are starting a new company, it is very important to factor in customer intelligence and employ strategies that will make your business get noticed. The market has become flooded, and it is good for business owners to employ sound policies that will quickly jump-start startups and endear them to profitability. Customer intelligence involves carefully studying the market to understand customer behaviour and trends in order to have a better understanding of their needs. This is an important procedure that helps to boost the chances of new business competing effectively on the market. In case you are wondering how this is done, there are several technology platforms and applications that can help a startup to obtain useful customer information that can be used to improve Customer Service Experience.
If you are planning to succeed in the marketplace, you need to study the market and offer something new and unique that customers will identify with. At the same time, a startup should use facts obtained from customer intelligence surveys to solve problems that current market players have not been able to address. The best approach to have all these facts is to use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which is a powerful tool for analysing customer information for purposes of strategizing and planning various business activities.
The ultimate aim for any business should be to Improve Customer Service to achieve faster levels of growth. It is important for business owners to ensure that their startups receive enough publicity and put into place powerful competitive strategies to remain relevant on the market. Customer intelligence should begin months before a new business finally rolls into operation. The secret to business success is to come up with new and innovative customer relationship policies that other industry players have not exhausted. Startups that pay attention to improving their Customer Service Experience always find themselves fitting easily into the system as new market entrants. Since there are different types of CRM applications, businesses should carry out conclusive market studies in order to find the most appropriate system. There are several advantages a startup can obtain from investing in sound customer intelligence systems. Marketing strategies have become more advanced, and it is, therefore, good for business to keep up with the trends to gain more market penetration. The only way to improve Customer Service Experience is to deploy the use of CRM applications to obtain the best results. Investing in customer intelligence systems is the wisest thing for any entrepreneur with a brilliant startup idea to launch.