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The Future of Customer Care

Our new survey of customer experience leaders highlights some clear trends, around the future of customer care.

The Future of Customer Care

Some 66% of customers who switch brands do so because they’ve experienced poor service, according to a recent survey. In today’s hyper-connected world of customized, real-time interactions, instant, responsive feedback and agile, omni-channel experiences, customers expect even better service than ever.

‘Social Messaging channels are ushering in a new generation of customers who expect more and expect it fast. It’s not surprising, Social Messaging support combines full chat functionality with persistent identity and mobile notifications merging all of the best elements of the traditional digital care channels, purpose built for the mobile era.’ comments Ido Bornstein-HaCohen, Chief Operating Officer at Conversocial.

Businesses already know that their customer service levels have a huge impact on hard metrics like customer retention and revenue growth. And so, as the consumer landscape becomes ever more sophisticated, what are the trends, tools and technologies that will keep them delivering both beautiful basics and extra-mile service delights? Where is the bar set now – and where are businesses looking to step next?

Our survey, Customer Experience Trends for 2019: Building the Organization of the Future, looks at just these questions across both Europe and North America. The result of over 100 interviews with senior customer experience professionals from the retail, finance, travel banking and advertising sectors, it’s a unique barometer of the key challenges, opportunities and tech needs facing business leaders tasking with injecting greater customer-centricity into their organisations.

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The rise of social messaging

Across the board, the digital workhorse that is email still tops the list of online support channels that businesses are looking to focus on most over the next 12 months. After that, it’s social media channels (78%) and phone (66%) in North America, while in Europe it’s phone (80%) and then social messaging apps (70%).

Both territories expect customers to have higher service expectations for social messaging channels than a year ago, showing once again that as digital experiences improve, so do our expectations of them rise. Here again, there was greater emphasis in Europe on the importance of messaging (76%) than in North America (68%).
Alarmingly, however, some 26% of respondents across the board say their business isn’t prepared for the increased levels of service requests set to come via customer messaging apps. Among those businesses that say they are prepared, however, key strategic approaches include: promoting social messaging channels to drive volume from traditional channels (31% in total), and innovating through channel adoption and platform partnerships (27% in total).

Emerging channels compared

Among the emerging support channels, there are already comparably high adoption rates for both Twitter DM and Facebook Messenger. Current adoption of both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger skews higher in North America over Europe (26% v 16%, 62% v 40%), while Apple Business Chat and WeChat bring up the rear. However respondents say they intend to have all these implemented as service channels over the next 12 months.

What’s next?

Our survey shows a broad consensus of agreement that bots and automaton will play an important role in customer experience delivery in the not too distant future. But sentiment in both Europe and North America centred on the phrase ‘somewhat important’ (73%) rather than ‘very important’ (9%), suggesting that this is not an immediate business priority.

'While the launch of the bot platforms in 2016 caused a lot of hype (and introduced a lot of bots that turned out to not be very useful at all) we’re now starting to see brands figure out how to use automation to add real value for customers.' says Ido Bornstein-HaCohen.

That said, Bots/AI was rated the emerging technological advancement likely to have the most impact on business’s customer experience strategy (31%), closely followed by contextual commerce and UX design (24%), and cashless technology (18%). ‘Customer expectations are being redefined every day and the ability to meet basic expectations is table stakes,’ says Dutta Satadip, Global Head of Customer Operations at Pinterest ‘Personalization at scale will continue to grow as a trend that will enable distinctive and memorable experiences.’

You can read the full report here.

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