Future of Customer Service is Now! An Update and Commentary on Today’s Customer Service Tools

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Future of CS is Technology - Low ResMore and more I’m asked about the new technologies coming up in customer service and experience.  It used to be that customer service was just a phone number you called when you needed help – or how nice someone was when they interacted with you.  The future has brought us something bigger than customer service.  It has brought us the customer experience, which is much more than your traditional customer service.  It now encompasses every touch point or interaction the customer has with an organization.  And the tools that are at our disposal today?  Who would have imagined!

We all thought it was pretty cool when the restaurant gave us a pager to alert us when our table was ready.  Today, that’s not such a big deal. 

Then there was the internet, which allowed us to communicate in ways far beyond the phone or in person.  Today your customers can text, email, tweet, video chat, instant chat or message, Facebook and more.

We have some very sophisticated ways of tracking our customers and getting data on their buying patterns.  If used the right way, you can deliver an even better experience.  I love it when a restaurant or hotel remembers me and my “preferences” when I return to them.  Or how about the way Amazon “remembers” what I bought and looked at the last time I was on their site?

Today, a company can personalize the customer’s experience like never before.  It has typically come through data collection.  But, now there is a new way: a cool technology that has the ability to track your customers through their mobile phone.  Once your customers give you permission – and you should get permission – you can track and personalize the customer’s experience.  You can track their mobile phone and know when a customer walks through their doors.  Imagine your customer is walking by an item and the their cell phone receives an alert that the item that they just passed by, and that they happened to buy the last time they were in, is now on sale.  Or, the store can make the item specially-priced, just for that customer and just when they are in the store at that moment.

There is also a technology called “Directional Audio.” It is an audio system that broadcasts verbal messages to the consumer based on where they are standing. Anyone just a few feet away won’t be able to hear the message, but the audio is crystal clear and loud to the customer. The technology tracks the consumer’s phone and then delivers personalized messages (that even includes the consumer’s name). Cool “stuff.”

Bottom line is that these technologies are becoming more and more mainstream.  Customers are buying into them, just as they accept receiving text and email messages.  But here is the key, and this is very important:  there is a balance between enhancing the customer experience and selling or marketing.  While customer service may be one of your best marketing and sales strategies, marketing and sales are not always your best customer service strategies.  Use with care.  Deliver value.  The customers will embrace you and your technological efforts to deliver a better customer service experience.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.

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