On Wednesday this week I’ll be participating in a Webinar focused on how customer service is changing and how companies with expertise in delivering a great customer experience (CX) are developing a new role as partners to their clients. The webinar also features Amit Shankardass, who leads marketing for the Teleperformance English Speaking World, and the well-known industry analyst Peter Ryan from Ryan Strategic Advisory. The webinar is being chaired by the very able Guy Clapperton, editor of Professional Outsourcing magazine.
One thing that we know about customer service is that it is changing really fast. Customer expectations are driving how companies need to adapt in a way that was not imaginable a decade ago. Think back to those days, before the Apple iPhone transformed our ability to be mobile and online at all times and before social networks transformed how people communicate.
Actually that was less than a decade ago as the iPhone was originally released in 2007 and I would suggest that the social media tipping point occurred in 2008, when TV shows really started using Facebook and Twitter to engage more with viewers.
Around that time I heard a great story about the telecoms giant BT. The British singer Mike Skinner, from The Streets, was telling his large Twitter following about his awful customer experience trying to get his BT Broadband back online. A voice agent in the BT contact centre noticed Skinner’s online messages and asked her supervisor if she could answer, because at the time there was no official customer service being offered on Twitter. She answered, cleared up the issue and on the same day the famous singer was telling his fans what a great company BT really is and he was entirely mistaken in his earlier messages.
I remember thinking at the time about how powerful this idea of customer service on social channels was going to be – and so it has happened. Customer service was previously delivered on a defined phone number or email address and at defined times. Now it is delivered at any time and on any channel that the customer decides to use. The customer is now defining how and when they expect to be served.
But, this innovation continues. New technologies are being released that will have a dramatic effect on the relationship between brands and customers. One of the most likely to be important in 2017 is Virtual Reality (VR) because the new games consoles from both Sony and Microsoft are VR-ready, meaning that by the end of 2017 there might be 50 million households that are equipped with a VR system. That really will move VR from being an exciting, but niche, technology into something that is just normal.
How is that going to change the customer experience though? We can estimate that it may start changing the travel and hospitality industries, but it could also redefine how customers buy cars and other big-ticket items such as a home extension.
The thing is that customers will lead and will define how they want to use new channels, but smart organisations are constantly tracking how the customer relationship might change, how new channels might present different ways to engage.
At Teleperformance, we have teams in 65 countries serving customers in over 160 markets across every possible type of industry. We have a dedicated CX Lab in Portugal that is constantly looking at what our customers are doing and engaging in primary research to determine where the market will go in future.
As I wrote in my last blog, customer expectations are redefining how this industry is working and it is extremely difficult for individual companies to manage a complete omnichannel customer service function. It is even more difficult for individual companies and customer service managers to stay on top of what customers will want in 12-18 months. That’s where our broad oversight of the global market and our CX Lab research team really create a competitive advantage.
In the webinar, we will be discussing this change in the way that CX experts can offer innovation and advice to their partners. Outsourcing CX today is about finding a partner that can help your business to build a better long-term relationship with your customers.
For more information on how to participate in the webinar on Wednesday November 9 at 15:00-15:30 (London GMT) or 10:00-10:30 (NYC Eastern Time) please click here.
Curating your Omnichannel Customer Ecosystem
Date: Wednesday, Nov 9 2016
Time: 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM GMT
Please register and you will then receive a confirmation email.