The New Year is approaching, which means companies have a fresh shot at breaking away from the competition and gaining more loyal customers. 2015 will be the year of the customer experience wave, and those who are able to ride it will see success and better profit margins, those who are pulled under will likely sink. Focusing on customer service and experience will provide your company with a unique competitive advantage. Here are four customer service trends that will help you succeed in 2015.
Mobile-First Experience will dominate
Blog Client Heartbeat tells us that 84% of CIO’s at customer-focused companies focus on the mobile customer experience. In 2015, it will be imperative to develop a mobile-first policy rather than treating mobile optimization as an add-on. 50% of all US adults have a smartphone, and 76% of millennials rely on mobile devices for information access. There has been a “mobile mind shift” in customer mindset, so your mobile experience should be as good, if not better than the desktop experience. Gartner analysts state that“IT managers can work with marketing and customer experience leaders to improve customer service. It is emerging as the best opportunity to keep customers engaged with the business, products and services. However, CRM process flaws and inadequate technologies could derail customer loyalty strategies”. If you neglect the mobile experience in 2015, you will risk losing customers.
Customers will expect more
Customer expectations are on the rise, and Customer Think tells us that though customers want to be brand loyal, they’ll quickly jump ship if something better comes along. Mobile technology means customers want goods, support, and services exactly when and where they want. Customers practically expect 24-7 service that feels personal and tailored to their needs. What’s more, if the experience isn’t up to par, customers aren’t afraid to switch to a competitor, and they aren’t scared to air their grievances via social media. According to Gartner“Customer support is reactive (i.e., it responds to customer requests or problems), as well as proactive (it anticipates the information customers need to make informed decisions and keep products and services performing to their expectations)”.Find out what your customers need, and seek ways to deliver it quickly.
Chat support is here to stay
Many brands and online retailers are offering chat as an option to ask questions and discuss issues. Consumers will continue to use traditional channels like email and phone service, but chat gives companies the opportunity to interact with people who probably wouldn’t have contacted them at all. Chat via text or video also has the advantage of feeling more personal and perhaps more importantly, more immediate than traditional means of contact. Organizations like retailers, universities, and even libraries are using chat to solve small misunderstandings and provide customer aid.
In store and Online retail is blending.
Customers expect seamless experiences between online and offline stores and retailers are getting better at fulfilling these expectations. Athletic wear retailer Lululemon is a great example. The company recently released a smartphone app that streamlines and optimizes the desktop content for mobile. The app features customer reviews, video tutorials on fit, textile innovations, and upcoming products as well as detailed photos and descriptions. Purchases made online or using the app can be easily returned in-store. Shopping online and in store has to be consistent, integrated, and seamless. Interactions must be easy, personalized, and coordinated to meet the needs of the individual.
In 2015, the focus will be on the customer like never before. Fulfilling customer needs in person, online, and over the phone in a way that is immediate yet personal and tailored to the individual will be a key to success.