As more and more companies and organizations begin to believe in the differentiating power of customer service and the customer experience, there’s a game of one-upmanship beginning to play out between leading brands that is sure to quickly elevate expectations for the rest of us in service and support.
A prime example of this is Virgin Atlantic’s current trial where personalized and proactive passenger service is further enabled via agents’ use of wearable technology including Google Glass and smart watches.
It’s another brilliant move by Virgin, providing both customer and agent delight while looking like a tech and PR-savvy boss. But all Virgin’s really doing in this shiny and new effort is being proactive when it comes to the customer service and experience trends that have been previewed for more than a year. In Kate Leggett’s Top Trends for Customer Service in 2014, for instance, she covers both the evolving agent experience, and the use of reliable data at the right time to provide improved customer service, two keys in Virgin’s current customer experience trial:
“Customer service agents, who use tens or even hundreds of disconnected applications during their workday, are demanding that their solutions be more usable, so that they can focus on solving the customer’s issues and delivering differentiated service,” notes Leggett. “Expect customer service leaders to work on simplifying the agent workspace by removing extraneous data elements from agent screens, automating tasks to increase agent productivity, and making relevant information to help personalize the interaction.”
Analyst Brian Vellmure adds that this is just the start to customer service agent (and customer) empowerment. “Today we’re talking about smartphones. Next generation technology is focusing more on wearable devices, and then comes more embedded technologies,” says Vellmure. “The divide between the digital and physical is blurring, as the intersection between the two gets stronger.”
The key for brands in becoming or remaining leaders rather than laggards is going to be taking action, being the first to exceed customer expectations in a unique and helpful way – like a Virgin customer service rep using Google Glass to expedite your check-in process.
Noted Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson in a recent Entrepreneur magazine interview, “If you are seizing on a new business opportunity, deliberately move your customers’ expectations up a few notches and consistently over-deliver on your promises — you will leave your competitors struggling to catch up.”
New Parature Whitepaper Details 2014 Customer Service Trends
Consumer preferences and expectations are changing and growing just as quickly as advancements in technology, encouraging (if not demanding) that brands embrace a strategy of non-stop adaptation to the next generation and the next big thing.
Parature’s new whitepaper, Customer Service: 6 Take-Note Trends for 2014, explores the trends highlighted above, as well as others to keep an eye on. The white paper features a wealth of new statistics and key insights from business leaders and well-known CRM analysts including Brian Vellmure and Brent Leary.