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Consumers don’t choose their favorite brands based solely on products anymore. Today, it’s about the total brand experience — one that includes high standards for customer service responsiveness, efficiency, and overall helpfulness. As consumers have grown accustomed to the ease, intelligence, and mobility of their own personal tech, they expect to see it mirrored in their interactions with companies. In their minds, for example, it’s expected that service teams can schedule appointments or look up their company interaction history on-the-spot, regardless of where they are.  

Many companies are turning to new innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) and mobile capabilities that give agents a 360-degree view of customer issues and relationships, whether in the field, on the phone, or through any number of channels where customers engage. See how service teams are responding with an in-depth look at trends and insights in the second annual “State of Service” report, or read on below the infographic for key field service findings. 

 

Customer Service Expectation #1: Connect with Customers in Real Time

 

Consumers have the world at their fingertips with anytime, anywhere experiences — and they demand that all brand interactions follow suit. But despite being on the front lines of customer interactions, field service isn’t traditionally known among customers for always-on connections. To meet these rising expectations, some 54% of field service professionals say their company provides mobile apps for service agents. Enabling field service reps to manage cases, connect with other agents, and access schedule information while on the go can go a long way toward boosting productivity.

Increased mobile capabilities are transforming field service. Already, 78% of field service workers with mobile app access say it’s very beneficial for providing real-time communications to customers. In addition, mobile apps can allow field service agents to more quickly create work orders, easily manage jobs, and make smarter decisions that benefit the customer.

 

Customer Service Expectation #2: Personalize Customer Interactions

 

There are few things as frustrating as being put on hold or explaining your situation in great detail only to find that you’ve been talking to the wrong service agent all along. That’s why 79% of consumers say it’s very important to immediately be routed to the agent who is most knowledgeable about their issue.

Service teams have been working to enhance the customer experience by increasing their focus on personalizing service interactions. But whether on the phone or in the field, great service is fostered by building deeper customer relationships, which 67% of field service reps say their company has increased focus on over the past 12–18 months.

 

Customer Service Expectation #3: Provide Consistent Experiences across the Board

 

Consumers have come to expect consistent experiences with brands, whether in store, on the phone, or in the home. Seventy-three percent of consumers even say they’d likely switch brands if they didn’t receive consistent service. But fostering those experiences doesn’t work when team members function in silos.

Companies that employ mobile apps for their service teams are at a significant advantage, as 73% of service reps with mobile app access say it’s very beneficial to have real-time communication with their team members. With the ability to communicate with other team members and even access important service analytics, agents have full visibility into each customer’s brand experience, as well as overall team performance.

 

Customer Service Expectation #4: Anticipate Customer Needs

 

Research from Salesforce’s special report, “The AI Revolution,” reveals that all departments across the business are ramping up their intelligence capabilities — and service is no exception. Service teams are continually applying AI-powered tools to customer interactions for more predictive and helpful experiences. In fact, high-performing service teams are working to integrate AI into everything they do, as many believe it will have a transformational impact on their practices by 2020.

This is good news for consumers, 51% of whom say by 2020 they expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before customer contact. For instance, field service reps are adopting image-recognition tools to help identify product parts in photos so that they can immediately order the right replacement. This helps increase first-time fix rates and keep customers happy.

Can teams deliver on mounting customer expectations for impeccable service? With successful implementation of the latest innovations in AI, mobile, and other growing tech, service teams will be able to usher in a new age of the most helpful and predictive customer service we’ve seen yet.

Discover how Salesforce helps field service teams delight connected customers anytime, anywhere by taking a tour of Field Service Lightning. Then check out how service teams can get answers to on-the-job challenges with the addition of Einstein AI and analytics.