Forrester: Customer service of the future needs to be more pre-emptiveby
Forrester has published its annual predictions for the customer service sector, with proactive engagement one of the key trends expected to evolve in service departments in 2015.
Trends 2015: The Future Of Customer Service, authored by analyst Kate Leggett, states that the current trend of customers leading engagement with brands is only likely to increase over the coming 12 months, and that the best brands will be those that are able to pre-empt customer requirements through active insights and data.
“Proactive engagements anticipate the what, when, where, and how for customers, and prioritise information and functionality to speed customer time-to-completion,” Leggett states, in the report. “For example, customer journeys can be monitored, and insights can be used to proactively trigger an outreach via, for example, an invitation to chat or co-browse, or an offer or coupon, or a multimedia tutorial, at the right time when assistance is required.
“In 2015, organisations will start to explore proactive engagement primarily for proactive pre-purchase engagements. Forward-thinking organisations will explore more sophisticated uses of proactive engagement, such as connecting the best company resource to the customer at the right moment of opportunity. They will use learnings from these proactive engagements to improve operational performance and to predict future customer behaviour, such as prediction of future purchases or likelihood of attrition.”
The report refers to the new level of insights being drawn in some customer service hubs as “pre-emptive engagement”, stating that in 2015, it expects more and more companies to adopt technology relating to customer context, connected device information and predictive intelligence to create more pre-emptive experiences.
“Proactive outbound communications which notify customers of key events of interest, such as flight schedule changes, bank balance changes, or the availability of a new bill are a must for all companies,” the report adds. “Outbound notifications deflect inbound calls, which reduce costs and boost consumer satisfaction and revenue.
“Yet companies cannot stop at basic outbound notifications. Companies must [for example] integrate outbound communication technology into the contact centre to support scenarios where customers want to connect to an agent after receiving a message.”
Leggett also adds that Forrester expects connected devices to continue to have more of an influence in customer service departments, as consumer expectations around customer support at every touchpoint increase.
The report forecasts connected devices to proliferate at a rate of 50 billion by 2020. Customer service for connected devices relies on the right tools and processes to listen and act, pre-emptively, on received information.
The overall goal for brands is to improve customer experience and ultimately, customer loyalty, where the stakes have never been higher – Forrester claims a 10-percentage-point improvement in a company’s customer experience CX score can, in some cases, translate into more than $1 billion impact on revenue, something that has been highlighted among wireless carrier and airline industries in the recent The Business Impact Of Customer Experience report.
Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.