Forrester’s Top 15 Trends for Customer Service in 2013

Posted by Kate Leggett on January 14, 2013

Forrester post

Best Customer Service – Integrate Voice, Web, Mobile, Collaboration and Personal Communications

I had a good read of this post over the weekend and here are the key points that came out of Kate Leggett’s research.

Kate Leggett from Forrester is always following the latest trends in customer service. Earlier the year, she comes out with a comprehensive list of 15 trends, which will aid professionals in customer service.

According to Leggett, Personalized customer service is the key for professionals to succeed in 2013.

Communication Medium and Channel Changes

Voice continues to head the medium in terms of communication. Modes like web, chat and community service are seeing a rapid rise. The respective communication channel figures are 12%, 24% and 25% respectively. The trend is moving towards self service and digital channels and customer service channels are quickly aligning with it to give the right service.

Mobility solutions the Highest Priority

In today’s advancing and modern world, mobile solutions on the move are gaining priority. Companies are changing strategies for customers in the marketing, sales, ecommerce for user friendly usage and efficient completion of tasks.

Agile Service across Channels

The need of the customer is to have quick fix, personalized and reliable solutions across communication mediums. Companies are focusing on customer services that seamlessly move across mediums with a single point focus of problem resolution with personalized service.

Rich User Experience with Proactive Outbound Communication

There is a 29% increase in investments for user friendly outbound communication by companies as per latest survey findings. The advancement in technology with the latest powerful smart phones supporting video technology on the move and higher bandwidth will bridge the gap between the customer and service agent. The trend is increasing investment by companies for outbound communication.

Voice of Customer the Prime Focus

Voice of Customer programs saw a 55% increase as compared to 55% in 2011. Companies now use VoC data for delivering right end to end solutions and also achieve organizational growth and success.

Customer Service the Key Differentiator

Companies are moving from the traditional cost center metrics to measure productivity by combining it with delivering personalized customer satisfaction through the agents to achieve success and improve the metrics.

Customer Service Records and History

The history of customer service records is critical to improving service and personalized interactions to build relationships. Companies in 2013 will invest more in social media channels to improve customer base. The marketing strategy will align with various social media channels to improve customer relationships. Structural changes in the organization will be made to achieve this goal.

Knowledge Management across Channels is Key to Success

Greater than 60% of users access the web for solutions to their problems. The customer service agents need to be well versed in knowledge management solutions to give instant and quick solutions to customer queries. They should use social media, interactions and data analytical skills to give the right solutions.

Empowerment of Successful Agents

Officers who have had a good track record in delivering personalized and efficient service need to be recognized and empowered. A customer will definitely like to work with an agent who has previously delivered good service. Knowledge sharing among such recognized agents will help in the long run.

BPM and Front office Integration

BPM was used with Front Office in 2012 to streamline the process in cost control, service delivery, agent training and KPI management for proper and correct end to end solutions.

Improved QoS through Collaboration

Increased community interaction, feedback, agent to agent coordination and real time resolution of issues with a collaborative mindset has helped in improving service and expand the business.

Single Vendor Solutions

The best solutions are coming from single vendors who customize and personalize customer need with solutions. They are ideal acquisition targets. Single vendor solutions are more mature and personalized.

SaaS Solutions the Popular Choice for Customer Service

Customers are looking at SaaS based solutions for problem resolution. Currently more than 70% of the companies use SaaS for CRM and e-CRM. SaaS has its limitations in terms of vendor selection, risk mitigation and organization skill sets. These areas need to be addressed.

Outsourcing the Key to Increasing Market Share

Outsourcing was the buzzword in 2012, and Forrester stated that 20% of companies were outsourced and another 8% in the pipeline were interested in outsourcing their operations. Outsourcing will help in reducing costs, improve efficiency and last but not the least develops the customer relationship and base.

Best End-To-End Experience across Mediums

Customer interactions is changing when new and innovative ideas are the order of the day. Companies will be successful when they integrate voice, web, mobile, collaboration and personal interactions with a feedback mechanism to ensure good end to end experience with a scope for improvement and loyalty.

This report was not only full of great facts that were researched, but also a good learning base for anyone starting off and wants to be educated in this field. I enjoyed reading this and just had to share it with you!

 

Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe