How customer service has changed

The world of customer service has changed dramatically since the 90’s. The Internet has played a huge role in this, of course. But the changes reach much further than just the increased use of technology. Customers’ expectations and choice of communication methods have changed a great deal, too.

Even the smallest of businesses need to get to grips with these changes because if you’re not up to speed with customer expectations you could find your customers drifting away to a competitor or them airing their less-than-flattering views about you on social media!

Here are some areas to consider when planning your approach to customer service (and customer success):

Technology

Back in the day customers used to drop into a store or call during business hours. Now there are multiple channels that customers can use to get in touch, including the phone, web forms, email and chat. (We’ll look at social media below). This technology allows the business to give customer service 24/7 and done well, it can give the customer a better experience too.

Social media

Customers are often turning to social media for customer service instead of the one-to-one communication channels they used in the past. This means that complaints are now public and the team that handles social media in the business need to be trained in both marketing and customer service. Any negativity needs to be handled sensitively so that the customer feels heard and that the issue doesn’t escalate. Customer service isn’t all about complaints, though. Praise given by customers on social media platforms can be excellent word-of mouth marketing for the business. Here are some great examples of social media being used for customer service.

Data 

The increased use of technology means that there is more data available than ever before. This means that businesses can use their customers’ data to build an even more personal customer experience over time. Customer success software can be used to identify what customers are missing and where you can help them.

Expectations

The availability of 24/7 sales and customer service means that customers expect a response – and a resolution – in a shorter time frame than before. Fail to respond to this and you’ll find your customers going elsewhere. That may be fine for large companies with call centres but it can present a challenge for small businesses. Fortunately, there are inexpensive ways that a small business can offer timely service including automation tool such as Facebook bots that respond to customer requests or using an outsourced call handling service. A page of FAQ videos can help customers resolve simple problems themselves.

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