While calling customer service is often unfairly viewed in a negative light (mostly because the job of service is to take complaints as well as resolve service issues), modern technology has changed the customer service landscape. A new, smart-device powered generation and new technologies have allowed customer service to be more flexible and attuned to the customer’s needs than ever before. Here are four ways in which technology has displaced the “old” service industry, giving rise to a new, more customer-centric model.
The Cell Phone has Displaced the Land Line Phone For Customer Support
The customer service model of 20 years ago evoked an image of long hold times tethered to a home phone for the better part of an hour to get issues resolved. While this is still popularly thought of today when one says “customer service”, this is in fact a virtually dead model. In the first place, cellular technology is out-pacing traditional land line technology on both the business and consumer side with cellular technology on one and VOIP technology on the other. According to Victor Luckerson a Money and Business reporter for Time, 41% of homes no longer even have a land line. In fact, there’s less of a possibility that a customer will try to reach you by phone at all.
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Younger Customers Prefer to Text Their Customer Service Reps
A mobile, connected user not only rarely experiences the ever-on-hold service experience of decades past. In fact, they have little interest in trying it. According to Nathan Eddy in an article on eWeek, a majority of consumers surveyed would prefer to communicate with their service reps through text messages. And the industry has been responding, by making existing SMS technology useful for customer service and implementing it into their existing service departments. Companies trying to keep up with the connected age will have better responses from their customers than those using outdated models.
Customers Want Real People, Faster Support and More Availability
According to Micah Solomon, in an article on Forbes, consumers are more demanding than they’ve been in the past. Due to the accelerated nature of human communication, customers expect more from their customer service agents than ever before: they expect faster service, and they prefer longer hours, taking support issues into consideration making their purchasing decisions. They are pickier about correct information and even proper spelling. On the other hand, they are also more helpful with information, because they are more understanding about the need to have all information on hand to solve their particular issues.
Social Media Is Now Used In a Customer Support Venue
Modern customers not only keep in touch with their companies using modern methods, they tend to follow companies they patronize on things like social media. According to PR strategist Shana Starr, customers expect corporate presence on their favorite social platforms. This is not only an added venue for two-way communication, this is also a branding opportunity, and smart marketing departments know how to leverage their social media following for both new client acquisition and upselling opportunities. Customer service departments should not only not avoid social media, they should expect– as their clientèle will often spend more time on social media than anywhere else– to be contacted by their customers there and to be ready for the opportunity to provide service to their customers where they are most comfortable.