Welcome to the world that will not wait, where each customer service interaction is driven by the "me" mentality.
According to Google's "The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior," the average consumer moves among three screens per day to search for information and perform tasks. In addition to potentially being multiscreen, customer service transactions are also often multichannel, performed across a varying combination of platforms including but not limited to phone, email, chat, social media, smartphone, or tablet.
An Ovum study of more than 8,000 consumers shows that 74 percent now use at least three channels when interacting with an enterprise for customer-related issues—and this approach to resolution is completely changing the way support communicates with customers. The consumer is now in control, demanding service anytime, anywhere, via the channel of his or her choice.
Therefore, many big brands have brought back the structure of single-file service by making certain customer support contact information less accessible and siphoning customers through one or two more cost-effective channels like email or live chat. But between the bloggers, the media, and the public outcry on social media, these could not contain consumers who demanded a made-to-order customer experience based on expectations.
So, how does a brand master all the combinations? Destination CRM has shared some insightful answers:
Offer as many customer service channels as possible. Expectations of today's customer are for service at least via phone, email, and online support portal. Additional channels that prove to be customer service differentiators include live chat, self-service knowledge base, mobile, social media, and video.
Embrace agile channeling. While an organization may offer a variety of customer service channels, you'll increasingly frustrate customers if they're not connected.
More and more customers are expecting service and support to be agile. They want service to start an interaction at one point, whether that's phone or email or help desk, and the brand should be able to carry over that information and continue the conversation as the customer arrives at the next touch point.
Know thy customer. Locked hand in hand with agile channeling is the personalized customer experience. Without aggregated data, information, and feedback from across all channels, you will never have a true 360-degree view of the customer to create a made-to-order customer experience.
With a new generation of customers demanding more and reaching out and voicing their opinions across more channels, brands can only contain the empowered consumer with siloed channels for so long. Customers have figured out their own way to put themselves first.
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.