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Elevating customer service in 2021

30 second summary:

  • Consumers crave human connection in their service interactions. With social distancing still in place, the human connection becomes increasingly important, especially for customer service
  • The dependence on technology has never been so great. According to Gartner, “If customer service professionals believe the systems or tools they use improve their ability to solve customer problems and make their daily work easier, their productivity can increase by up to 20% and customer satisfaction by 11% and 11%, respectively customer expenses are reduced by 9% “
  • Companies get creative in order to use resources – bring employees into new positions; Outsourcing support and focus on the “core” of your market differentiation. The outsourcing of contextual tasks increases the vendor’s demand for exceptional customer experiences through a mix of technology and human interaction
  • Providing more technology would actually enable better human interaction. Removing “tasks” and improving access to expertise on new technologies, AR / MR.

After a year of completely changing life as we know it, businesses had to be reshaped to cope with sudden and abrupt pandemic restrictions, while ensuring the safety of employees and the support of customers with world-class customer service.

Preparing for 2021 means strengthening the existing requirements, building on the lessons learned from the crisis and, above all, stepping up efforts to ensure that customer support is equipped and available for all new challenges in order to ensure long-term success.

Improve automation

Years before the pandemic, companies had used technology in their call centers and customer service to improve productivity while minimizing the daily tasks of their employees – from delivery speed to error reduction.

The traditional implementation of such initiatives would start by using existing technologies and improving them as needed. Although automation has been around for decades, it was accelerated in 2020 to help companies of all sizes in different industries support customer service.

In preparation for the anticipated Christmas crisis, FedEx recently committed to adding more technology to its pandemic e-commerce boom, and Amazon has invested in new solutions for its warehouse facilities.

Digital improvements across the supply chain are expected to continue through 2021 as the pandemic discourages many employees and vulnerable citizens from meeting in person.

With ongoing restrictions on social distancing and remote working, 2021 will accelerate the use of new technologies by businesses. For a more comprehensive connection that guides customers, we should expect the automation support to be provided by SWIS technology (“see what I see”) via Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

The use of these technologies can be most effective in situations where the subject matter experts (SMEs) cannot be on site. This can be used, for example, for repairs and support for private customers, e.g. B. When repairing a device or connecting cable TV.

In a recent survey, 91% of executives said that AR helps improve service operations during the pandemic. The results also confirmed by a large majority (95%) that AR solutions will help companies better keep pace with increasing customer expectations.

The use of SWIS technology was successful in providing interactive support for hotel employees – for example when resetting a coffee machine or repairing a device.

In these scenarios, employees in a restaurant access information via their own phones or tablets and integrate the possibility of accessing a person who in turn benefits from the SWIS view and accelerate the resolution of more complex or unsolved problems.

Consumers crave human connection

The ongoing social distancing, or quarantine, has resulted in many consumers turning to customer service agents for assistance – not just to fix a device.

Humans are generally a gregarious species and at a time of turmoil when they reached customer reps they wanted to get involved beyond their original problem. At a time of heightened fear, providing thoughtful and timely service has become even more important to businesses.

The pandemic has exacerbated health and safety concerns and has resulted in the need for customer care to be sensitive to customers.

Shortly after the pandemic brought much of the world to a standstill, our research confirmed that remote working increased the need for human connections in people’s customer interactions.

Almost half of respondents in the US and UK said the ability to speak to a human agent is a key factor in satisfying customer service interactions, while more than a quarter of those respondents said they were disappointed with a brand because of They couldn’t reach a human agent.

However, there won’t be a move away from automation. Research confirms that in the world of customer support, the best use of technology often goes behind the scenes, promoting the automation of tasks that don’t compromise the customer experience.

According to IDC in its FutureScape Worldwide Future of Customer and Consumer 2021 Predictions through 2023, companies that excel at large-scale empathy and security will outperform those that do not by 40%.

IDC notes that the IT and Customer Experience (CX) departments have to work very closely together in order to integrate emotion recognition technologies seamlessly and add value into the existing customer journey. The technology has to adapt to and serve the real customer experience, not the other way around.

To further improve the customer experience, the use of technology should improve the scenario where consumers can seamlessly access information and support through emerging technologies such as AR / MR.

In the latest Twilio study, COVID-19 Digital Engagement Report, an overwhelming 92% of executives said digital communication is extremely important given the current business challenges where people work, shop, and connect remotely . Mostly by phone or internet. Companies support this with investments.

Unsurprisingly, Twilio found that 79% of digital transformation budgets rose in the wake of the pandemic.

Conclusion

Supporting customers – as well as our customers’ customers – requires a new way of doing business as we tackle the challenges of this global pandemic for a second disruptive year.

Integrating technology into customer support to complement and enhance the customer experience – without distracting or irritating it – will be the key to a successful year in 2021 and beyond.

Today more than ever, customers don’t want a never-ending call tree. You have a large amount of do-it-yourself and want seamless, helpful customer support.

We live in what research firm Forrester has called “The Age of the Customer” – where choice has caused a seismic power shift. The possibilities are endless. And that means that expectations are extraordinarily high.

Steven Petruk, President of CGS ‘Global Outsourcing Division, has more than 20 years of experience in IT, infrastructure and customer service. He leads the company’s highly experienced executive and global delivery teams in developing and implementing technology-based outsourced solutions.

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