Customer service quality to become more important over next decade
Customer service organisations have been under more pressure than any other industry to adapt and evolve quickly to an era in which consumers hold the power, there is a growing number of communication channels and millennial employees pose their own challenges.
The contact centre has been leading the customer service evolution for decades and is likely to remain at the forefront of customer experience. That makes it essential to get customer service right, according to NICE.
Raghav Sahgal, President, NICE Systems Asia-Pacific, said, “Contact centres need to evolve to smart centres to uncover customer insight, predict human intent and take the right action to improve their business. Workforce optimisation, analytics and other advanced applications are helping call centres evolve into customer experience centres.”
A recent survey conducted by Telesperience and sponsored by NICE identified the key characteristics of contact centres in 2025. The survey, titled Contact Centre 2025: Trends, Opportunities and Strategies, revealed that customers in 2025 will have zero tolerance for sub-optimal service, as they will be even more informed about the reality of service, have higher expectations, be empowered by social sharing, and be more willing and able to shift supplier.
Sahgal said, “Contact centres will become powerful resources for finding out what customers think of companies and for capturing sentiments, feedback, needs and wants. The contact centre will therefore take on a more strategic, central role in organisations. To fully leverage this shift, it will become important for contact centres to become more integrated with other company functions such as marketing.
“In fact, the contact centre will likely take full responsibility for all customer communications (voice and digital), rather than being by individual departments’ timescales and goals.”
According to the report, by 2025, personalisation will go beyond tailoring offers, products and services. It will grow to include the staff, who will become known and trusted individuals rather than scripted agents. It will also let agents change the way they provide service based on context rather than on a rigid set of rules.
Sahgal said, “Some companies today manage to hold onto customers because they play in a limited vertical market without significant competition. This will change as customers become more driven by their desire for outstanding customer service.
“As a result, companies of all types will have become far more adept at collecting, combining and leveraging customer data, including being able to utilise this in real-time and in context to gain more meaningful insights. This will let them deliver more innovative experiences, opening up new revenue opportunities.”
Even more than today, customer contact centres will drive a business’s success or failure based on the performance of its agents. That performance will depend upon having the right tools and information available to provide the best experience possible.
The report predicts that, by 2025, organisations will adopt a more analytical-based approach to deliver a deeper and more enriched level of service. They will look to understand individual customer needs and preferences, and use both historical and real-time data from a variety of sources to deliver personalised service. They will also use a blend of human effort, automation and machine learning, reducing the administrative burden on people and letting them concentrate on adding value to customer interactions.
Sahgal said, “Businesses that can understand and get ahead of these trends are likely to outperform their competitors, even in industries where customer service has not traditionally been a key differentiator.”
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