2014 Customer Service Crystal Ball – Part 2 of Trends

Blog 3-5-14Did you enjoy Part 1 of 2014 Customer Service Trends? Check out the first 3 Customer Service Trends if you haven’t already. Here are the final 4 of 7 key Trends we see:

Big Data Will Be Overplayed (Just Like Social Media Customer Service Was Overplayed)

I attended a “Social Media for Parents of School Kids” meeting 4-5 years ago. The presenter – a school psychologist – told us that in 5 years e-mail would no longer exist because Facebook would replace e-mail.

Still waiting…

Social Media Customer Service was not the be all, end all, and neither is Big Data. One way to define “Big Data” is to take all the information you have on your customers and to – as much real-time as possible – analyze it so you can use it to tailor your customer interactions and target your retention/marketing/sales strategies. This topic is getting so much publicity, but the reality of its use – and how pervasive that use will be – will not match the hype.

Too many companies don’t acquire enough information on customers, or they don’t communicate well enough internally, or they don’t have a customer service/retention culture as it is; therefore, inserting systems and data – Big Data – won’t change any of that. Companies can have the best systems in the world to analyze and share data, but if companies can’t/won’t acquire data, or if they don’t break down silos, or if they don’t care about employees and the end customer, Big Data is useless. Big Data will be overplayed in 2014.

Small-to-Midsize Businesses Will Seek To Hire Octopodes

Or octopi? Or octopuses? Apparently the accurate plural of Octopus is quite controversial on the web – Google it and find out…

Companies – especially the small-to-midsize organizations, will seek to hire the customer service “octopus” – the customer service employee who can do it all…Tweet, get on the phone, be face-to-face, compose e-mails, communicate on Facebook, etc. These special individuals are those that are responsive, consistent, effective, and personable. Businesses of this size are generally too small to have dedicated resources to manage each of their customer service-oriented platforms, so they’ll need a few exceptional people who are well-versed and capable in multiple communication vehicles. This need is not as significant for bigger businesses because they can segment their service platforms simply due to scale.

A New App Called “The Butler” Will be the Hottest App in the World

Have you heard of it – “The Butler?” Neither have I. It doesn’t exist, but it’s coming…

We hadn’t heard of Twitter 10 years ago, and we hadn’t heard of Facebook 20 years ago. Most of us hadn’t heard of Microsoft 30 years ago. So something that doesn’t currently exist or few of us know today – “The Butler” – is coming. My hope is that it’s a self-serve app (not a search engine like Google or an application like Siri). Instead, it’s an app where I load in (or link) the names of my cable company, bank, phone provider, and other random online orders/accounts.

I can then – with the touch of the app or a simple voice command – tell “The Butler” (I’ll call him “James”) to complain to X Telecomm company that my cable is out. I can ask James to check on the delivery status of those flowers I ordered for my wife. I can determine my account balance. I can get the pharmacy on the phone. I ask a question or convey an issue (regardless of the company) – and my voice is heard by the company, or the answer is provided.

By this time next year, there will be a HOT customer service app that we do not know today. I hope it’s The Butler.

What’s Old Will Always be New

Essentially, customer satisfaction is about those one-on-one relationships and moments of truth. In that respect, the future of customer satisfaction will be the same as the present. The main difference is the path companies will take to get there. Never overthink customer service. In the end, it’s about you and me – the 1-on-1 – conveying we care while we meet needs and address issues…

To learn more about how to improve customer service in a changing economy and world, visit our NEW website at http://cssamerica.com/home/

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