What are the customer service challenges for the future?


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Recent news marking the 20th anniversary of the World Wide Web brought with it a touch of nostalgia and admiration for its creator’s vision. Twenty years ago, the main forms of communication were via phone and written correspondence – a reminder of just how much the internet has fundamentally changed the way we communicate.

In April 1993, Sir Tim Berners-Lee – a British scientist at CERN – made the Internet as we know it completely royalty-free, for anyone in the world to use. In 1994, two million computers were connected to the Internet (predominantly academic), with over 500 websites; by 2012, there were 2.4 billion Internet users worldwide, with an estimated 630 million websites existing on the World Wide Web today, according to CERN.

Over the past 20 years, we have seen massive developments in the way we communicate and channels available. We have seen Google become a household name, followed by emerging communication channels including; YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – and as new and portable technology has continued to develop at lightening speed, so have consumers expectations for instant 24/7 information and service.

What are the customer service challenges for the future?

The development of the smartphone and tablet have made the web portable – a computer in your pocket, but with the first version of Google Glass being showcased and development of the smart watch, the concept of ‘portable’ has escalated to another level, with voice activated ‘wearable’ technology becoming a reality by the end of 2013.

Analyst Mary Meeker, well known in the industry for her annual Internet Trends report, made a strong case for wearables at the AllThingsD’s D11 conference in May, predicting that the future of computing is all about “wearables, drivables, flyables and scannables.”

The whole notion of wearable technology – the fact that you’re not even required to reach into your bag or pocket to connect to the internet – means our expectations for instantaneous online customer service will soon be the norm and timely responses from businesses will be vital if they wish to maintain customer loyalty.

In the past few days, Microsoft launched the Xbox One, described as “one system for a new generation”, it integrates TV, Internet and gaming, recognises your voice, and has social incorporated throughout – more like a mini PC than a game console and yet another example of emerging channels of communication.

Customers expect service at anytime and from any channel and the ability to provide this service will increasingly be the main differentiator between companies and their competitors. Consistent customer service across the following channels is key:

Contact centre (phone and live chat)

Gartner said in a recent report that, ‘”by 2015, organizations that have not embraced the concept of the customer engagement center will lose customers to competitors that have.” Having the correct technology in place to meet these challenges is vital.

Many companies are struggling to meet the expectations of a rapidly growing wave of tech savvy consumers, who expect consistent customer service across ever evolving channels – with web self-service being the growing channel of choice. Those companies that have a centralized approach to customer service, rather than fragmented and siloed customer service channels, will be the ones able to deliver a seamless customer experience.

Find out more about how Synthetix are helping leading companies improve their multi-channel customer service.

Neldi Rautenbach
Neldi shares insight and best practice tips on multi-channel customer service from Synthetix. Synthetix is a leading provider of online customer service solutions - working with some of the world's best-known brands. Synthetix create bespoke customer service and knowledge base software that enable customers to self-serve timely, accurate and consistent answers to their questions via the web, mobile, e-mail forms, social networks and in the contact centre.


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