The whole concept of customer service has changed. Whether I’m checking into a hotel, booking a flight, or buying running shoes online, the service I receive now is faster and more personalized than ever before. The agents I connect with on the phone, in person or online are all focused on making sure I have a great experience with their brand. Forward-looking companies across industries find new ways to take advantage of cutting edge technologies and robust data, all with the goal to better serve their customers.
Given how rapid and significant these changes are, I’m always eager to hear new perspectives on where the industry is headed. On that note, I connected with industry analysts to get their predictions on the service space over the next year.
Here’s what they had to say:
“In 2019, companies will empower agents with greater customer knowledge, including customer journey, intent, context, and conversational styles. They will provide agents with a full understanding of the customer’s value, where they are in their usage journey (onboarding to adoption to deepening product usage), their current health, and how their health has trended over time. They will also empower agents to seamlessly move between channels during interactions, preserving context and content to deliver personal, effective experiences.” — Kate Leggett, Vice President, Principal Analyst, Forrester
“The biggest change is the role of the agent. Bots, automation, and self-service are dramatically reducing the need for tier 1 and tier 2 agents, and lower and mid-level agent positions are harder and harder to fill. For customer service organizations, this means retraining agents to provide more concierge-level, proactive service – which is ultimately more rewarding and has more longevity than the typical agent job. It also means rethinking how they source agents. We’re also seeing a rise in the role of the customer agent advocate – where customers are recruited as agents. These “customer agents” are as passionate and knowledgeable about the brand’s products and services as the customers they serve. For companies taking this approach, end customers get more choices for how they interact. This increases the likelihood that if they choose to interact with a human for customer service, they’ll encounter not just an agent but an expert and advocate.” — Rebecca Wettemann, VP Research, Nucleus Research
“By 2022, 30% of enterprises will use interactive conversational speech technologies to power customer engagement across marketing, sales, and service. Massive advances in the natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language generation (NLG) technologies personified through virtual assistants and chatbots are completely transforming technology-driven conversational speech.” — Excerpted from “IDC Futurescape: Worldwide Customer Experience 2019 Predictions”
Thoughts on these predictions? What do you see as the future of customer service? Feel free to continue the conversation and connect with me on Twitter at @bpatter.
And if you’re interested in learning more, read our 2019 State of Service report to dig into how customer service is evolving this year. If you’re in the customer service industry, you’ll definitely want to get out ahead of these trends.