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AI, the Internet of Things, predictive intelligence… modern technology is granting the UK’s top customer service agents a deeper understanding of the people they’re talking to than ever before. And it’s giving them a huge advantage.

Our second annual State of Service report, based on interviews with 275 UK service leaders (and thousands more across the globe), reveals a stark contrast between the winning and lagging service teams when it comes to tech adoption.

In fact, high-performing organisations worldwide are almost twice (1.8x) as likely as their underperforming peers to say their agents have the tools and technology needed to turn customer and product information into swift resolutions. They’re also over three times (3.5x) more likely to have a single, shared view of the customers they’re serving.

The growing need to get with the (computer) programme

Consumers are more comfortable than ever sharing their data, and they want you – the brand – to know exactly what they want (even before they know themselves). 

Whether it’s a predictive suggestion based on past product searches, or a service agent knowing exactly where and when the consumer last engaged with the brand– customers increasingly expect personalised and consistent experiences.

As more brands work to meet these growing expectations, those that don’t begin to stick out like a sore thumb. In fact, 48% of UK consumers and 75% of UK business buyers expect that, by 2020, companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they reach out. 

The importance of training to win

As great as technology is in improving the service experience, it’s imperative that service teams receive appropriate training. Your team may seem comfortable with the technology, but to really maximise service tech ROI and deliver the best possible personalised service for the customer – they’re going to need to know it inside-out. 

In fact, lack of training is considered by UK respondents as the biggest inhibitor to providing personalised service, equal to a lack of sufficient agents. 

Promisingly, 75% of the leading UK customer service teams surveyed agree their employers provide sufficient on-demand training to improve their skills. Better yet, 85% currently use, or plan to increase and/or implement service coaching and training tools over the next 12 to 18 months.

Technology – the gift that keeps on giving

Our research also reveals that technology doesn’t just help service agents do their jobs better. It makes them want to do their jobs better.

77% of UK service teams agree access to service technology is helping to increase personal investment in customer success.

And enthusiasm, as we all know, is infectious. Happier agents have a habit of creating happier customers – three out of four UK service teams we surveyed told us that agent satisfaction has a significant effect on customer satisfaction. 

Who’s already getting it right?

For the UK’s best-selling floor care brand, Vax, attaining a 360-degree view of their customer relationships has breathed new life into their contact centre. By replacing nine different legacy systems with Service Cloud, its service agents are now able to spend less time resolving issues, and more time personalising customer experiences. 

With simple omni-channel service, Vax agents are now enjoying high customer approval rates (91% live-chat users would use it again), and a healthy boost in e-commerce sales (26% year-on-year growth). 

As Director of Customer of Customer Service at Vax, Carole Edwards, says: “In the past, we had to ask a customer for their details every time they called – even if they had just got off the phone. Now, we can automatically recognise our customers and intelligently route their calls based on existing information within Salesforce.”

Taking tech further for the future

Savvy, well-managed tech adoption is giving some UK service teams a significant advantage, and their companies real competitive edge. As customers’ expectations continue to evolve at a rapid pace, this commitment to staying at the cutting edge is set to deliver ever greater returns.

Get the global picture – check out our Second Annual State of Service report to discover how service teams across the globe are leading the drive to transform the customer experience.