New trends in Customer Service
A review of trends in customer service and predictions for 2014 from the Institute of Customer Service predicts that customer service will become a more influential driver of growth in a recovering economy. New technology will prevail as big data and social media promise to revolutionise and encourage a new and more focused business approach to customer service in 2014. At the same time, trust will grow in importance, placing more emphasis on employees’ customer service skills.
For both public and private organisations, 2013 brought a combination of improving trading conditions, revelations about poor business practises and a shift of power towards the consumer as technology provided new and more effective tools for customers to have their say. Social media gave more power to the consumer than ever before – allowing organisations to engage more easily with customers and providing a more effective channel for recommendation.
Trends to watch in 2014
In 2014 customer service will be key to growth as the economy recovers. Companies that understand the importance of customer service as a strategic business tool will gain market share at the expense of those that don’t.
Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service, said: “While confidence in the economy is beginning to return, customers remain selective about where they spend. They want to deal with organisations that are easy to do business with and trustworthy. Those organisations that focus on differentiating themselves through service will be well placed to take advantage of new opportunities in 2014 and beyond.”
Technology will continue to transform customer service; the use of big data will provide even deeper knowledge of the customer, paving the way for further innovation but also raising concerns about privacy and the use of analytics. Measuring customer satisfaction in more accurate and sophisticated ways is expected to reveal in more detail how customer service impacts business performance. Online communities with helpful and knowledgeable members operating alongside employees will provide more help, but also force organisations to relinquish some control over their relationship with customers. Customers will also have more control over organisational change, with social media driving increased responsiveness and personalisation, encouraging organisations to empower frontline staff to make decisions and solve customer issues. This will also impact the demand for customer focused skills, soft skills and emotional intelligence, qualities that have often been overlooked as well as the need for strong commercial acumen. From the shop floor to the highest levels these skills will be at a premium with more customer service representation on boards and leadership teams and a higher proportion of CEOs with customer-centric experience. Seven trends for the year ahead
• Customer service will be a key growth driver in a recovering economy
• Big data will power greater customer insight and innovation
• Online communities for customer service will become mainstream
• There will be a renewed focus on customer service in the public sector
• Measuring customer service will have more impact on the bottom line
• Customers will drive organisational change
• Demand will increase for customer service skills in the workforce
By Amy Bell, Institure of Customer Service. Source: http://www.instituteofcustomerservice.com/1711-13371/2014---A-year-of-re-building-trust.html