According to an IDC survey, customer purchases using their smartphone have already surpassed PC purchases, and by 2017, 87 percent of the world will be connected with smartphones and tablets, versus the 13 percent connected via desktops and laptops. And while almost five billion people worldwide are using smartphones, many companies aren’t making the mobile experience or mobile customer service a priority.
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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.
Today’s fast-paced, mobile customers have come to expect quick responses and personalized attention in their interactions with customer service groups in the companies they do business with. The consequences of a poor customer experience can be swift and direct. A recent study by PH Media Group found that over half of respondents would switch loyalty due to one negative service experience with a company.
The relationship with a customer does not conclude following a purchase and the customer experience lifecycle is no longer a line with a beginning and ending. It is merely the beginning of your relationship. The customer experience lifecycle has become circular, with retention and referral connecting a happy customer to continued life with a company. The cost of retaining and continuing your relationship with a current customer is four to 10 times less than the cost of acquiring a new customer.
We have entered the era where the customer is king and their preferred channels of service should gain greater focus. More than ever before, social media is proving to be a make it or break it platform for customer service success. On a regular basis, stories surface in the news about social media posts and complaints going viral, leaving the company to resolve, conduct damage control and pick up the pieces. Brands are needing to be more cognizant of their social media presence, what they are posting and how they are interacting with their customers.
Unless you haven’t turned on social media or the television recently, Star Wars mania has arrived. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will be released this weekend, a decade following the previous release. A favorite to many, the movie has popularized characters like Hans Solo, Yoda, R2-D2 and Darth Vader. Along with the popularity of the characters, many of the famous movie lines have become quite popular in everyday conversation.
The new kid on the block has arrived. Microsoft announced, yesterday, the release of the newest version of its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product, called Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016. This release is said to be Microsoft’s most comprehensive offering yet, supporting a new era of customer engagement.
There has been great fanfare with customer service regarding the millennial customer, some are even calling 2016 the year of the millennial customer. This generation, numbering 80 million in the United States alone, spans individuals born between 1980 and 2000. They control the majority purchasing power of the market, spending close to $200 billion annually by 2017. This generation differs from the generations preceding it regarding influence; they are generating change in the actions of baby boomers, generation x and the upcoming generation z.
In today’s digital world, keeping your customer base is as important as growing your customer base. Poor customer service is the cause of many consumers halting their loyalty with companies and turning to their competitors as their new customers.
The real value behind customer service could mean the difference of keeping or losing current customers and the likelihood of gaining the business of their network. The consequences of losing customers, especially in the Internet age, could spread like wildfire.