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From Machine Learning to Social Media – The Top Customer Care Trends of 2016

CRMXchange

Presented By: CRMXchange



By Tim Joyce, Chief Innovation Officer, Xerox Customer Care  xerox.colmarch2016

Customer care is getting more personal but the leading trends emerging in 2016 indicate that smart machines may be key in driving the pursuit of individualized service.

The entire industry is being transformed by smarter technology. From an influx of connected devices to improved use of analytics, the consumer’s expectations of how, when, and where they receive service from their preferred brands is shifting.

These trends emerged in part from Xerox’s recent report on The State of Customer Service, a survey of over 6,000 consumers that found customer care interactions are growing increasingly important to customers, yet there is underlying dissatisfaction across sectors, locations and ages. While the trends are expected to make their appearance in 2016, they’re trends that will continue for the next decade.

It’s clear that the relationships between consumers and brands will change radically over the next five years. Customers expect a high quality of service and technology is maturing to the point where brands can efficiently meet those needs.

Here is a look at some of the top trends for 2016 – and beyond:

1.    Social media support steps up

Today, consumers have low expectations that they can have their problems solved by contacting their preferred brand via social media. In fact, less than five percent of support interactions across technology, telecommunications and media sector were conducted on via social channels – a number that indicates consumers don’t actually recognize their engagement with brands on social media as support interactions.

But social networks are working to make their platforms more useful for customer service purposes. For instance, Twitter recently introduced features to make the processes of direct messaging and collecting feedback from consumers more streamlined. Similarly, Facebook page managers now have a new, redesigned message inbox at their fingertips to help them manage conversations more effectively. Brands that embrace social customer care will see a positive impact on their overall brand satisfaction and improve their customers’ experience.

2.    The Internet of Things enables ‘machine-to-machine’ customer care

Consumers will soon be surrounded by connected devices that collect data, process the information and eventually analyze the knowledge. This transformation will make ‘machine-to-machine’ care a reality where customers don’t need to initiate their own service or upgrade. Instead, tools like Virtual Agent technology within connected devices will hold conversations with each other, working to seamlessly correct issues – perhaps before they even become apparent to the customer.

Wearable devices that will be connected to other machines will be important to the growth of this service. While only 6.3 percent of those surveyed by Xerox currently own a wearable device, the category is poised for accelerated adoption.

3.    Brands become omni-present

Omni-presence is a distant, more refined cousin of omni-channel. It is an admission that brands cannot be effective on every single channel, but can use advanced analytics to ensure presence in the places most aligned with their customers’ preferences.

The Xerox survey found brands will need to partner with service providers that have experience in a variety of channels and an underlying knowledge management technology that connects the dots, making each support interaction a part of the same, coherent conversation.

4.    Customer care agent becomes a career

The call center will change dramatically over the next decade due to the growth and adoption of automation. This shift will relieve professionally-trained agents of the transactional, repetitive interactions that dominate today’s call centers and allow them to become more emotionally invested in fewer customers who need the most support. With automated options addressing routine transactions, the customer care professional can focus on callers who require the judgment and empathy only an agent can provide.

Consumers are already comfortable with this shift. In fact, 41.6 percent of those surveyed predict that by 2025, there will be no need to contact a call center.

Companies have a huge opportunity to take the lead and position themselves at the heart of their customers’ worlds. But time is of the essence. The last 10 years have set a lightning pace. A pace consumers have grown accustomed to; a pace they expect. Companies must now approach service changes as they have technological innovation: Boldly and with haste.