We’re more than a month into the new year, and with new beginnings come renewed priorities, refreshed commitments—and reinforced expectations. While gym and health club memberships can certainly attest to this, another industry experiencing an overhaul as we flip the calendar page is that of customer service. As technology grows, customers and brands are becoming more connected, and simultaneously, ensuring a stellar service interaction is becoming significantly more important. Consider the implications of social media on a company’s reputation—a positive Facebook review, tweet, or LinkedIn recommendation can result in incredible word of mouth-related revenue, while the opposite rings equally true for negative ones.
At the root of customer service lies a powerful and robust CRM system—one capable of storing volumes of customer data that can be retrieved by service reps with a single click, so no matter who contacts them, they’re ready with the most specific, up-to-date intelligence on their past or ongoing project, most recent purchase, or latest inquiry, allowing them to speak confidently and accurately on almost any issue.
Forrester recently complied its list of customer service trends expected to disrupt and change the industry in 2016. Let’s take a look at a few overarching themes, and the important role CRM plays in helping them come to fruition:
Forrester states that 73% of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. For companies with proven CRM solutions, this feature is provided in the form of optimized data accessibility. A centralized CRM database means that everyone in the company, from sales reps to service reps to field technicians, has access to the same repository of knowledge and issues can be routed as required to personnel who are available and appropriate to respond.
A Seamless Customer Journey
Moving forward, Forrester predicts that in 2016, customer service organizations will better support customer journeys, which often start with an agent-assisted service interaction and end with a service call. Imagine the ease if a customer could simply call into one location and within seconds, multiple stakeholders are available to support the issue at hand, leading to more effective resolution and more satisfied customers, and helping companies establish a unified brand identity.
The Power of Prescriptive Advice
Forrester predicts that in 2016, organizations will use analytics in a much more prescriptive manner, specifically in the form of correlating online client behavior with requests for service—in other words, utilizing existing customer data to help guide more targeted and direct responses to requests for help. As the level of detail stored in a CRM system can be as sophisticated as a company decides, the possibilities for leveraging prescriptive analytics are virtually endless. For example, with just a few clicks, customer profiles can be retrieved that can help map their questions to the agent whose skills and experience are best suited to answer. In addition, customer call patterns can be tracked to identify trends (e.g.. reoccurring roadblocks) and help service reps anticipate future call patterns.
While new technologies are being created and distributed every day and time and innovation continue to march forward, one constant remains—valuable customer support cannot be considered too highly. By incorporating CRM technology into service solutions, representatives are not only better prepared to answer any question that comes their way, they’re supported by valuable data that can be used to help ensure that a simple call for help doesn’t turn into a cry for help.