The new tendency is to use messaging for customer care, as customers expect to contact companies just like they would with friends and family; they expect businesses to be available on their channels of choice. They are also increasingly aware of the technologies of tomorrow; therefore, the expectations for contact centers have to anticipate the swift adoption of any new channel or integration to deliver excellent customer service where and when consumers decide to contact them.
To help you forecast the changing tides in the customer service industry, we have spoken to experts Shep Hyken, Daniel Ord, Nate Brown, and Jim Tincher to build a more concrete vision of what to expect in 2020.
Shep Hyken, Customer Service Expert
Customers know Great CX
What I mean by that is great brands are creating such great experiences that customers are becoming accustomed to and comfortable with, so much that it is almost the norm to get these great experiences from these rockstar brands. Now they start expecting it from everyone. So, our customers now know what excellent service is, they know what a great experience is, and they are comparing us to the best service they had and not to a direct competitor.
So we need to continue to evolve and increase our level of experience and service towards our customers. What goes hand in hand with that is customers are now walking away quicker because they have choices, and it is easy for them to move on.
Smart speakers like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and others like Siri are getting more intelligent as well.
Customers are starting to use them more and more. So we are beginning to see a convenience revolution, for example, if I say “Alexa, order me a pizza, turn off the lights, etc.” it does it for me. There are so many ways that they are becoming integrated into our lives. Therefore, companies who create this type of interface or service are going to be better connected to their customers.
Daniel Ord, CCXP, Founder & Director, OmniTouch International
Better Channel Management
Contact Center leadership at large is going to shift from jumping onto every channel (the be where they are mentality) to implementing better channel management strategies (i.e., which channels work best for which kind of Customers & enquiry types).
In my work over the past few years, I have seen a lot of ‘they have this channel, so I should have this channel’ mentality when it comes to the Contact Centre channel mix. They have a chatbot – I need a chatbot. They offer Live Chat – we have to provide Live-Chat.
In particular, a lot of Live-Chat & Messaging implementations are because – not only did others have it – but these channels, in particular, were seen as ‘digital’ and thus sexy and modern. I also saw channel decisions were driven by the classic ‘we need to be where they are’ chant which Centres translated as – ‘let’s offer all or as many channels as are out there.’
As RingCentral knows well – digital channels are awesome. I’m a big fan of Live-Chat, for example. But channels need to be well chosen and well-integrated into the overall channel mix. That includes evaluating which channels are great for which types of Customer needs. Not just offering a lot of channels and leaving it to Customers to guess which channel would work best for their needs at that moment.
For example, you wouldn’t ask agents to do tech support by email. Live-Chat is awesome – but not the best for going into the nuances of a product or service that may need a lot of tailoring to the Customer. I think folks are going to step back and re-evaluate their channel strategies.
Given the growth in both human (messaging, live chat, social media) and non-human assisted channels (chatbots, websites, online FAQs), CX leadership is going to relook at the basics.
The more channels offered, the more contacts that come in.
So the promise of ‘be everywhere the Customer is’ can backfire in terms of creating more incoming Customer demand. So I think that folks are getting ready to go back to basics. How good is our email management? How good is our social media response? How good are we at designing chatbots or online FAQs that result in successful single-channel closure?
Multiple channels are here to stay – and that’s a good thing. But we have to recognize the additional amount of work on the quality side to get things right.
We will see more formal Mystery Shopper done on channels like chatbots and websites. Because we’ve been doing such ‘mystery shoppers’ with a CX point of view and there’s a lot of room for improvement out there
We live in a multi-channel world, and yet I still see Mystery Shopper tenders focused almost exclusively on face to face and voice (phone) channels. Having said that, we’re just about to finish up our 4th Chatbot Mystery Shopper, and I have to say there are a lot of lessons.
Putting aside the hype of AI and Machine Learning, chatbots, websites, and online FAQs are Customer channels that have the potential to positively or negatively impact customer perception. Especially in organizations that essentially ‘force’ Customers to use self-help before allowing them to get human assistance.
What’s the biggest ‘mistake’ we’ve seen across all our Chatbot Mystery Shoppers in particular? Trying to give too much information. The second biggest mistake has been the phrasing of information in company-speak vs. Customer-speak.
So I think leading organizations will (as usual) lead the way in terms of auditing their self-help channels on an ongoing basis.
Nate Brown, Co-founder of CX Accelerator
Modern Metrics for Modern CX
As our reliance on surveys diminishes, I believe so will our dependence on Net Promoter Score (NPS). There seems to be a race to find the ultimate CX Metric of the future. It will need to depict the customer journey as holistically as possible as well as making it easier for CX professionals to prove the ROI of their work. The fact is we need this metric…and the sooner we can get it, the better. I’m personally excited by composite metrics such as the “Customer Health Score” which will continue to grow in popularity alongside Customer Success, as well as many of the automated customer sentiment scores we are seeing.
Let’s Widen Our Talent Pool
The Customer Service and Contact Center space will be unrecognizable in the years to come. Self-service capable technologies are getting scary smart…eliminating small volume and leaving us with the truly tough stuff. It’s already incredibly difficult to source the type of talent required, and it’s only going to get worse. Service centers will have to look beyond traditional hiring methodologies to get what they need. The gig economy will play a massive role in this transformation. Brett Frazer from Sun Basket predicts that “between 30% and 50% of the global workforce will `engage in some aspect of gig work by 2025.” Customer Service is uniquely poised to benefit from this trend. The fabric of our teams will continue to evolve…making us more capable and more diverse than ever before.
Jim Tincher, CCXP, Founder of Heart of the Customer
Executives want a ROI
CX is no longer in its infancy. And many companies that jumped on the experience bandwagon, throwing money at CX initiatives, and rallying around buzzwords like “customer-centricity” and “journey optimization,” are running out of patience. In 2020, executives want to see a return on their investment.
Are these programs showing results? Impacting the bottom line? Days are numbered for underperformers – and possibly even for successful programs that aren’t championed in metrics the C-suite values. In 2020, be prepared to show the ROI of your initiatives or face the chopping block.
Automation will become a differentiator
Just as CX as a discipline has matured, so have the tools available to reveal, monitor, and optimize customer journeys. Those who avail themselves of these new technologies and become the architect of their customer journeys will differentiate themselves from those who take a more haphazard approach to improve their customer experience.
Mapping your customer journey to identify and understand what your customers are thinking, feeling, and doing during their most critical interactions with your company. Then use those insights to feed a robust journey orchestration platform, allows you to hone in on the Moments of Truth that will have the greatest impact on customer loyalty. Those companies that take an active role in automation and orchestration will stand out from their competitors, improve the customer experience they deliver, and see their brands thrive.
Thanks to each of the experts for their contribution to predicting what to expect in the coming twelve months. You can discover more about them in our interview series or check out the six trends we have chosen to keep an eye for the year ahead.
Originally published Jan 24, 2020, updated Dec 30, 2022