Top 10 trends in customer service in 2016
April 14, 2016
By Thierry Spencer
Note: This article is a guest post by Thierry Spencer. Thierry is the author of the Sensduclient.com blog, a popular speaker on customer relationships, and the Associate Director of the Académie du Service – a French leader in culture service consulting. Please note that the links to the full articles associated with each trend are in French.
What primary characteristics will customers have in 2016? Every year I try to answer this question by pointing out ten trends, each one illustrated by a specific word or phrase. This exercise has led to annual conferences, the most recent of which was organized together with TELUS International and Zendesk, and celebrated the tenth anniversary of the “Sensduclient” blog.
The New Year is well underway and we’ve started to see more and more of these predicted trends come to light. Below is a brief overview of each, with more information available in separate articles on my blog (please note that the articles are in French):
1. The customer will be responsive. A study by McKinsey found that 56% of all customer interactions take place in a multi-channel environment. However, The Customer Experience Digital Barometer reports that 30% of CAC40 company websites are not designed to be responsive across all devices. This trend marks the need for companies to adjust to customers’ preferred channel of use. Read the full article here.
2. The customer will be a collector. The French philosopher and sociologist, Gilles Lipovetsky, claims that the consumer becomes a “collector of experiences.” This expression to a large extent captures customer behavior today. Through new experiences every day, customers become more demanding, thus forcing companies to go above and beyond to meet their rising standards. Read the full article here.
3. The customer will be predictable. The majority of customers, like me, are willing to share personal information as long as they understand the potential benefits. Customer data, whether or not deliberately sought, can effectively enhance the customer experience. Companies can use the data to anticipate customer behavior and demands, while customers reap the benefits in terms of customized and personalized experience. Read the full article here.
4. The customer will have a cooperative spirit. France’s collaborative economy is steadily growing. 25% of French people have already tried carpooling thanks to BlaBlaCar, 20% have used Airbnb and 71% think that companies contributing to the development of collaborative consumption is a good thing. It is in the interest of customers and businesses to broaden the collaborative circle. Read the full article here.
5. The customer will be a streamer. Streamers are people who film themselves to share (for example, those that film their experience playing a video game to share with other players). Customers’ increasing usage of videos for researching and sharing experiences has pushed companies to produce useful video content and to consider using content created by customers themselves. Read the full article here.
6. The customer will be an operator. The trend for self-help in 2016 is no doubt represented by the increasing popularity of community chat forums. These channels transform the customer into a real customer care agent who is trustworthy in the eyes of their peers. Read the full article here.
7. The customer will be relieved. An increase in effortless customer experiences through each point of the customer journey. This trend is one of simplification and the lessening of constraints for the customer thanks to technology. Read the full article here.
8. The customer will be surprised. Microsoft Advertising recently published a study entitled “8 key trends in consumer engagement” which revealed that 60% of consumers are willing to buy a product or service that would offer them a pleasant and surprising experience. Surprise is the catalyst for delighting the customer. Read the full article here.
9. The customer will be reciprocal. Reciprocity in this context refers to the attention a company provides to their customer care agents, who in turn deliver a similar quality of customer care. In the French insurance and telecom sector, seven out of ten people believe that service quality is impacted by employee satisfaction. Companies have started to realize the importance of a people-first culture in the delivery of exceptional customer service. Read the full article here.
10. The customer will be a source of capital. The customer is even more valued by companies as it becomes evident that investing in the quality of the customer relationship translates into economic viability. A recent study conducted by Watermark Consulting demonstrated that customer experience affects the market performance of a company. The 8-year stock performance of customer experience leaders showed a 107.5% cumulative total return compared to only 27.6% for companies considered laggards in customer experience. Read the full article here.
Thierry Spencer is the author of the Sensduclient.com blog, a popular speaker on customer relationships, and the Associate Director of the Académie du Service – a French leader in culture service consulting.
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