By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)
The new year is officially in full swing, bringing with it a flurry of predictions and trends for just about every industry and sector, including customer service. In 2015 customers will become even more connected (to brands and each other), and their expectations for customer service will be higher than ever. The increased demand for instant, effortless service and the growing popularity of mobile devices look to dominate the ever evolving customer service landscape this year.
A recent survey by Forrester found web self-service to be the most widely used communication channel for customer service, earning it a spot as a top trend for 2015. In a realm long dominated by more traditional contact channels such as phone, this finding highlights the growing desire for quick and easy access to information. Self-service tools, such as natural language virtual agents or Smart Help solutions, allow customers to find answers to questions instantly and effortlessly any time of day or night. And while sometimes criticised for removing the human touch from customer service, the reality is that self-service options fill the need created by busy, digital lifestyles. Lifestyles that often leave customers forced to contact a live agent feeling inconvenienced.
But in 2015 it won’t be enough for organisations to simply offer self-service options on their websites. Last year the total number of visitors to websites from mobile devices exceeded those from desktops. With mobile phone internet users predicted to reach 2.5 billion this year, it will be essential for those solutions to be designed with mobile users in mind. The smaller screen sizes of smartphones and tablets demand attention be paid to the design of mobile solutions in order to create a positive user experience. Responsive design and adaptive or mobile-specific templates allow virtual agents deployed on websites to provide self-service for customers on mobile devices as well. And when backed by a powerful knowledge management platform, mobile Smart Help tools can provide accurate information that is consistent with what is presented on the website, but in a format tailored for the mobile device (shorter answer text, for example).
Effortless self-service that is easily accessible across all devices is a top customer service trend to watch this year. Organisations that fail to provide those frictionless self-service options will lose out to competitors that do.
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