Our life, the world around us is changing at an incredible speed. Over the past 10 years, humanity has made a quantum leap in the development of technology. The environment, geopolitics, economic conditions, business formats are changing. People are also changing. Their consumer expectations, their customer experience are also undergoing changes. The one who calculated these expectations earlier than others and was able to realize them in his business received a serious competitive advantage. In this article, we will talk with SR expert Elena Stolyarskaya about the main trends in customer service development, which will set the development vector of retail for the coming years.
Chief Service Specialist, Fashion Consulting Group.
What and how will change, or rather, is already changing before our eyes - today experts say and argue about this. From this discussion, the main trends in the development of customer service in retail emerge.
1. Maximum personalization of customer service is a leading trend for the coming years.
Thanks to artificial intelligence technologies, service personalization is becoming more complex and authentic. A highly personalized approach provides the necessary information about the client (names, preferences, previous purchases, actions on social networks, etc.).
New methods of customer recognition, analytics of his speech and emotions have been developed. Technologies for biometric identification of customers appeared on the market: by face, voice, fingerprint. Yes, in practice, these technologies are just beginning to be introduced, as there are objective barriers - limited budgets, until the connection between the use of new technologies and the commercial result is completely understood. But this is only a matter of time. Today, all available customer information, even if collected manually (client books, etc.), is a powerful tool for building a personalized customer service. Client service trend setters argue that one of the main trends of the near future is maximum attention to a personalized approach to the client and the service provided by real people, backed up by the latest technological advances. Therefore, it is very important to be able to build individual communications with the client, to accumulate all available information about him, his preferences, purchases, websites visited, and so on.
2. The speed of providing goods or solving customer problems.
“Here and Now” is the main motto for the coming years. Customers are no longer ready to wait. Today they want to get what they want immediately. According to a survey conducted by Forrester in 2018, more than 80% of shoppers call a quick solution to their question / problem the best indicator of service quality. What to do? The winner is the one who can provide the product / service / information faster than others. It is important to make sure that the client receives prompt feedback, sees your reaction to his requests through all communication channels, knows that his request has been accepted into the work, you are engaged in solving his problem right now.
3. 24 / 7 client support.
An obvious trend in the near future - customer support should be around the clock and operational. More than 60% of consumers believe that the company should be in touch with 24 / 7 - round the clock and seven days a week. And an effective solution to this problem are chat bots. Already, with their help, customers can find the necessary information, receive answers to questions, get acquainted with new offers and much more. This technology is constantly being improved, increasing its efficiency through artificial intelligence and speech recognition. And chat bots every day more and more become an integral part of the customer service of companies.
4. Omni-channel support as one of the leading trends in customer service.
Today, customers want to be able to receive services as they please. They are actively moving into the format of online communications, where many channels and means of communication already exist. It is important for companies today to quickly rebuild and switch to omnichannel communications in order to provide instant response on each of the channels used (telephone, email, social networks, instant messengers). An important rule is to use the same communication channel as the client in communication, especially when dealing with complaints and complaints.
When consumers choose a specific channel for communication, they want a quick response. Now most customers want to communicate with companies through social networks and rely on their prompt response through this communication channel. Otherwise, according to statistics, a third of customers ceases cooperation with a company that ignores their appeals, reviews.
5. General mobilization.
It is obvious that now consumers are increasingly using mobile devices for communications, obtaining information about the brand, company, its product, as well as for shopping. This is especially true for a new generation of consumers. Therefore, they do not just expect, but rather take for granted the company’s website interface adapted for mobile devices. Optimize your content and website for web search engines. This is an important part of the service, respect for your client.
6. A new generation - a new format.
The market is getting younger. By 2025, 40% of consumers will be representatives of generation Z. These are those who are now about 20 years old and who will soon form a consumption market. How and how to attract this audience?
They make a choice not in favor of material things, but of emotions and impressions. For them, the experience that their friends share on their pages in social networks is important, based on which purchase decisions are made. But it is important for them to have the opportunity to express their opinion, share their experience and feelings.
Encourage your customers: ask them to share their photos, photos of purchased products, participate in contests, share stories of interaction with the brand.
The more your Generation Z customers write about your company, product, the more opportunities you have to attract their environment.
For Generation Z customers, customer service is when they are interested. One way to build an emotional connection with the consumer is to engage in a game, or gamification. They are familiar with the format: levels, missions, quests and other categories from this series. For activity (likes, shares, reposts) the user earns points, which he then exchanges, for example, for a discount in an offline store. This is a relatively new, but growing trend, “includes” the excitement of the client and stimulates him to make purchases.
What else can you build relationships with a new generation of customers? On social consciousness. It is important for them that the brand, the company demonstrate a certain philosophy, mission, solve environmental problems, socially important issues and problems. Knowing that the brand is socially conscious affects loyalty to the company and the decision to make a purchase in it.
7. Ideal service - forecasts.
So what will be the ideal customer service in the coming 10 years?
Yes, online sales continue to grow. And, of course, they take customers offline, especially against the backdrop of a falling market. But people will never stop going to the shops, because there everything can be EXAMPLED and TOUCH. Trying is one of the main arguments in favor of offline. Emotions are what gives live human communication.
And if the ability to build live communications, the ability to understand and anticipate customer expectations is integrated into a new generation of high-tech customer service, we will get the ideal customer service formula for many years to come.
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