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Putting together the customer service puzzle

The customer service industry is essentially one large puzzle – many different components are required to make the bigger picture, the main component being the actual customer.

Recently we’ve seen the consumer landscape change completely. People are more demanding of a better service and are now informed enough to know if we’re not getting it. Not only has this meant companies have had to reassess the way they’re choosing to engage with customers, it means that customer service itself has become more important than ever before.

Social media equals savvy consumers

One key area that has heavily contributed to the new era of savvy customers, and that is only going to become more important as time goes on, is social media. The likes of Twitter have given customers a platform to express their experiences with a company or brand whether good or bad. This means customers, whether retained or prospective, can find out information about your business from the outside looking in.

This is where customer service teams step in. In order to combat this, businesses need to make sure they have a clear and effective social media strategy in place. However, thanks to on-going technological advances, businesses have the ability to make their customer service offering the most agile and responsive it has ever been. This includes being able to answer any questions or queries in real-time while still providing customers with an informative and helpful response. According to the BT Avaya Autonomous Customer Report 2015, seventy per cent of consumers expect a response to social media interaction within 15 minutes.

Big data: a big deal

Another key consideration is that of big data, an influencing factor that has caused the customer service industry to shift since the rise in its popularity and usage. While consumers have been busy adapting to technological change at an exponential rate, they have also been busy sharing more and more information. This means (and rightly so), they expect businesses to use this data to create more tailored and personalised experiences for them. If willing consumers are going to trade personal information with companies, they deserve to get something in return.

Customer service needs to be flexible

Businesses need to find new ways to cater to a constantly changing audience. Having an effective yet easily adaptable customer service function has never been more important and it isn’t going to change any time soon. As customer data and what companies can do with it continues to progress, so will customer demand. Those in the industry should be tuned in to create an encompassing strategy that combines data points from different aspects of the business in order to give one single customer view. Once this is complete, businesses will find catering to customers an easier and more streamlined activity; ultimately benefiting both business and consumer.

John Crossan, VP of sales EMEA at Zendesk

Image Credit: Mikko Lemola / Shutterstock