Article of the week 38 – 2023
The customer service of tomorrow and the day after
All company and customer service managers agree that the customer service of tomorrow and the day after will look different than it does today. But what exactly will the service of tomorrow look like and what do I have to do for my company and my service structures in order to prepare and advance this in the best possible way? There are a lot of questions that all customer service managers are currently asking themselves, but no one can answer them exactly.
Here are some of these questions as examples:
- What do customers expect in general and what in particular from my customer service of tomorrow and the day after?
- What structures (organizational and technical) do I have to create in order to be able to accomplish this?
- Do I have the employees/managers with the right skills as well as the right attitude and openness to change in the team?
- Where do I put my priorities and where do I also have the courage to consciously not do things?
- Do I have to chase every technical hype and jump on all the supposedly important trains?
- What is the half-life of my decisions and are possible course corrections accepted by company management and customers?
But one thing is clear: the customer service of tomorrow and the day after will look different than today, and will also (as far as we can foresee it today) be influenced by the following developments:
- Self-service options are becoming increasingly smarter and are intended to encourage customers to answer themselves to find answers to your questions without having to contact customer service directly
- Multi-channel strategies (telephone, email, chat, WhatsApp, social media, etc.) are expected from customers so that they can decide for themselves which channel they use to contact customer service
- Speech recognition will continue to develop and integrated digital assistants will increase efficiency
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots will be a game changer:
- AI will increasingly be used to process customer concerns quickly and efficiently
- AI can anticipate and solve customer problems before the customer complains
- In addition, AI will be used to precisely analyze customer profiles and their behavior and to make precise offers tailored to customer needs.
- Chatbots will take on simple questions and guide customers through the problem-solving process, constantly learning through the AI used
- ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot will influence the email channel on both the customer and employee side
- Data protection will continue to have a high priority and companies will have to demonstrate in an appropriate form how they process customer data
- Sustainability will increase in customer service in the future and are gaining ground as customers place more and more value on both sustainable practices and fairness in customer interactions
- Due to the growing demands on future employee skills and an increasingly strengthening employee market, recruiting adequate employees is becoming more and more difficult
- Is business process outsourcing the right answer on the aforementioned variables as well as on the difficult situation of employee recruitment and changing requirements?
- If so, what is the relationship to in-house? Full outsourcing, 70:30, 50:50? And where? Onshore, nearshore, offshore?
Many open questions that customer service managers cannot answer validly today because no one knows exactly where the trend is going.
What is undisputed, however, is that tomorrow’s customer service will be a mix of smart technology and human interaction. The fear that people are no longer needed in customer service does not seem to be true, but people with different skills are needed.
It is also clear that customer expectations are increasing in terms of speed and efficiency while at the same time personalization. This in turn should lead those authorized to act in customer service back to the topics that have always been important in customer service and will become even more important in the future, such as root cause analysis and permanent process optimization. In my opinion, these are the basis of everything, and if you focus on these two topics in your company today and manage them perfectly in the future, you will certainly not have established outstanding customer service, but you will have created all the prerequisites for doing this today and tomorrow, and regardless of which trends and developments will prevail in the future or not. If you have the courage to work intensively on these basics, feel free to seek external expertise.
Markus Müller – Principal