Customer service is arguably one of the most critical attributes regarding a company’s success. Whether it’s for goods or services, happy customers are likely to return, spread the word to others, and make larger purchases with each visit. Surprisingly, there are still to this day multi-billion dollar companies that haven’t placed a strong enough priority on their customers’ experiences either before, during, or after services are rendered. Technology trends that affect customer service are referred to as megatrends because they have a global impact on customers’ perceptions about a company.
There are four primary areas in which technology has played a role in enhancing service to their customers: communication choices, more precise self-help instruction, mobile access, and speed. Phone numbers used to be the sole method of communication when contacting a company. Other options such as email, chatbot, and social media have become invaluable to accommodate every customer personally.
Customers rely heavily on downloadable manuals and instructional videos, but the current quality leaves much to be desired, with over 60% of consumers wanting more information.
Perhaps the largest megatrend over the past decade is accessibility. People now conduct mobile business at a higher rate than at their desktops, with 50 percent of corporations making business-to-business (B2B) inquiries on mobile devices. ¼ of the current media consumption is accessed through social media using mobile devices. Americans spend over half their online time using a mobile device, with 40 percent performing only smartphone searches. Over ½ of the video views in America are seen using mobile devices.
In addition to accessibility, response time demands have grown exponentially. High-speed internet means that customers are used to instant gratification regarding answers to queries. The average attention span of a consumer is seconds on individual website elements, and there is less patience in times of stress, such as customer service issues. There is a direct correlation between a customer’s perceived experience and the length of time spent waiting. 24/7 chatbots are a great way to provide instant access to the most common issues while also freeing up call center individuals to focus on a smaller client pool.
Regarding the average wait time that customers are willing to be put on hold, the perception of a company decreases rapidly. Companies like Google have been developing natural-usage phone technology with features such as HoldForMe.