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The 2020 State of the Customer Service Industry – Part 2

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In the 2020 State of Customer Service, our Five Star team discusses the impact of real-time reporting, artificial intelligence, business integration and innovation on the industry.

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By Joel Sylvester, Chief Marketing Officer, Five Star Call Centers

Each year, Five Star Call Centers shares the State of Customer Service to shed light on trends and insight that impact the customer service industry that our team has garnered from best practices, tradeshows, conferences, publications we’ve reviewed throughout the year. This year, we introduce a three-part series featuring industry, technology, and the shift to work-from-home. The series will give us an opportunity to dive into each topic and provide you information and resources for your business. New parts in the series will be release October 1 (Industry), October 15 (Technology), and October 29 (Work-From-Home).

In the second series, we discuss technology in customer service

Real-Time Reporting

We have a saying around Five Star Call Centers. What gets measured gets done. Having the right technology to help you understand your sales numbers, your sales process, and your customer satisfaction scores is key to understanding how your business practices need to adjust. And those aren’t just numbers from a quarter ago. You need to understand your yesterday and as well as your last five years. If you are not tracking the right data to understanding how your business is operating over time, now is the time to research and invest in the technology to make it possible.

 

While the pandemic may have slowed the “on-the-go” movement, we know eventually it will come back in some format. This means having access to your data in both a desktop and mobile format will be important. Imagine sitting in a meeting and being able to pull real-time data on service levels from your call center. It not only makes you look smart, but it is smart business all around.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a game-changer, specifically for a call center industry within customer service. After years of trying to train associates with as much product or service knowledge as possible, or having them trained in just very specific areas, AI is allowing for an intuitive experience that is changing the game of customer service associate training.

 

AI is also key in developing learning management systems, or an LMS. Rather than training associates on every in-and-out of a product or service, we train them on key information and on intuitive technology that is designed to understand what they consumer is looking for from your business.

 

LMS’s extend to customers as well. With 24/7/365 access to a well-developed system of materials and information that is self-serve, you can see customer satisfaction increase. Quick, easy access to the right information can be just as satisfactory to customers as speaking to customer service in real-time. The more personalized, the better. If the system knows your customer bought widget A and now needs product support, wouldn’t it be great if your online LMS brought-up widget A information right away to your customer?

 

Another key example of AI technology in customer experience is cross-selling or up-selling on websites. Think of the sections titled “People who bought this were also interested in…” with a list of several products that in fact, yes, you are interested in buying. Customers get product they want and you increase your sales.

From retail to the service industry, AI will be requirement moving forward to help improve the customer experience and your bottom line.

Business Integration

Leveraging AI and real-time reporting sounds great, but if the right technology to your specific businesses is not implemented, you might as well be throwing your dollars right out of the window. Having data on up-sales for the last month is great, but if you don’t have the data and analysis to look at those figures year-after-year, then you’ve paid for technology won’t truly help you understanding sales-trends.

Investing in predictive technology to understand other products your customer might be interested in sounds great, but if the system is not set-up correctly, your delivering product your customer could care less about…and that leads to decreased sales and a decrease customer experience.

Technology can be great for business but do your research and make sure it’s right for your business model and that your using it to get to the right data.

Innovation

What does technology mean to customer service in 2020 and beyond? The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed businesses to be more innovative than ever and that is a trend not going away anytime soon.

It is more important than ever to be researching and tracking trends. Not only in your industry, but other industries as well. Long-term best practices in other industries may be new and innovative in your industry, but they may also be just the edge you need to rise above the competition.

Push yourself and your teams to think outside the box. Don’t accept that you have to continue to do something just because you’ve always done it that way. After all, while something may be working well for your business now doesn’t mean the answer to pushing your business to the next level isn’t right around the corner. You may find a better answer as long as you are always seeking more information.

I think about the product support industry and its movement into the technological era. In the past, if a consumer had an issue, they either found themselves tracking down a physical location to take their product to or they were on the phone, tracking down help without the support of visuals.

Today, video support is the new wave of providing support to consumers in a whole new way. Imagine as a customer not guessing that they’ve followed the support tech’s instructions correctly, but knowing they did because they’ve received video support that made it almost as if the tech was right there beside them, showing them every step of the process. Imagine what a difference that type of service could mean for the customer experience. 

Learning management systems, which I discussed in the artificial intelligence section, are another key innovation that is changing the landscape of the customer service industry. These systems are helping customer service associates serve the customer smarter and more efficiently.

Always be looking for new ways to innovate and improve your customer experience. In a day when one bad experience may cost a life-long customer, it may be key to your business long-term success.

 

About Five Star Call Centers

Five Star Calls Centers has been an industry leader in the contact center outsourcing industry for over 35 years. They deliver voice, IVR, digital, and consulting services across the U.S. and are dedicated to learning and implementing state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge practices.

About the Author - Joel Sylvester​

Joel’s career spans hundreds of companies and helping each enhance their customer experience. He has recruited, trained, and coached award-winning customer services teams across the globe in industries spanning retail, finance, product support, healthcare, hospitality and more. Today, Joel serves as partner and chief sales and marketing officer for Five Star Call Centers, an outsourcing call center with five locations based in the Midwest.

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