As companies are solidifying their goals and budgets for 2016, a major topic of discussion will be investing in customer service. Customer service is no longer just a call center, but now encompasses the full post-purchase customer experience and support. In order to keep up with industry developments and continue to stand out from competitors, companies need to expand their offerings in customer service technology. Gartner estimates that, by 2017, over 50 percent of technical development investments will be in customer service innovations. This means customer service must be a top priority for companies in 2016.
So why has customer service become such a focal point? Because customers are seeking the entire lifecycle experience. The mobile, on-the-go customer isn’t interested in having to hear five different answers and repeat their concerns each time they are passed along. They also want the ability to reach out to customer support in a multichannel environment, whether on the phone or through email, chat, social media or other channels.
Does this mean you need to follow suit and focus on improving your customer service offerings? Probably. Here are three reasons why you might consider focusing energy and resources towards customer service technology in the upcoming year:
- Three-Part Customer Experience Team: Customer service is part of a three-part customer experience team (the other two being sales and marketing). In order to achieve long-term success, all three areas must have resources needed to get their jobs done, and while companies often invest in the necessary tools for sales and marketing, they often short-change customer service. But without the right technology, a focused customer experience loop will remain incomplete. A strong customer service team is crucial in building the long-term relationships, trust and loyalty with customers.
- Growth Potential: Strong customer service can help grow your business, improve your bottom line and save your company money in the long run. Customers invest tremendous time into research before making large purchases. This includes the strength and responsiveness of the vendor’s customer support teams. A strong product/service paired with exceptional support will win your company new customers and help retain current customers. Business experts estimate it costs between four and ten times more to gain a new customer than it does to keep one. An investment in customer service technology will assist your company in delivering the service customers are seeking, keeping them loyal to your organization.
- Efficiency Upgrade: With the variety of channels available for customer support, today’s customer service team will manage tickets, write emails, engage in live chat and take phone calls, in addition to their other daily tasks…often all at the same time. Switching to a single, unified customer service technology will enable your team to work more efficiently and serve the customer better. All the information you need to know about your customers and their assistance needs will be in one place. You’ll no longer need to look in five places to assist one customer.
- Keeping Up with the Competition: Strong customer service isn’t limited to new or long-standing businesses. Smart businesses continue to invest in their customer service offering as a way of staying ahead of the competition. The more companies invest and reinvest in customer service, the more important it will be to maintain parity or stay ahead of the curve.
What was once seen as a bonus is now seen as a necessity. A positive customer service experience fosters trust and reinforces relationships. A strong customer service platform will assist your company in retaining happy, loyal customers and win new prospects. Customer service technology is an opportunity to invest in long-term success for your company by helping close the customer experience loop. Customers are seeking strong, quick service in all their communication channels. When determining your investments for 2016, customer service technology should be at or near the top of you discussion list.
About the Author:
TopLine Strategies delivers the complete integration and development of sales, marketing and customer service technologies that enable corporate clientele to improve revenue streams and strengthen customer interactions. Our project management and consulting is designed to achieve timely delivery, 100 percent user adoption of the technologies we implement and deliver measurable returns on investments for our clients.