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How Consumers Are Changing the Face of Customer Service [Infographic]

A Forrester consumer study found that customers now use online FAQ pages more often than they speak to a support agent over the phone. This is the first time self-service has edged beyond an assisted customer service channel, and it’s just the beginning. Virtual assistants, online forums, guided training tools, and the like are not just desired but expected, as nearly 3 out of 4 customers prefer to solve issues on their own. Customers want access to information when they want it and how they want it, and when self-service isn’t an option, it reflects poorly on the company.

 

The growing expectation for speedy, independent, and high-quality customer service is especially true of Millennials, whose lives have been dominated by new technology. If you’re inclined to dismiss this as a youthful preference, think again. A Nuance survey notably concluded that Millennial opinions on customer service have a significant impact on those of all generations. The study also found that 87% of consumers say customer service has a significant impact on the decision to do business with a company. Where price and convenience once prevailed, customer service has become the primary deciding factor—a make or break for the modern consumer.

 

The evolution toward self-service can be daunting for old-school companies with support structures built entirely around human contact, but if there were ever a time to reform customer service practices, it’s now. Beyond increasing customer happiness, retention, and revenue, self-service reduces the time employees spend answering phone calls, email tickets, and chat requests. It also opens up new opportunity for customer content optimization, which, when done right, proactively educates the masses rather than fielding one customer at a time.

 

The Internet of Things provides companies with growing technology and channels through which to maintain contact with consumers. There are now almost 5 billion devices connected to the internet, and mobile devices are the most common in the digital world. Apps that allow people to share experiences are fast-growing, building trust between brands and consumers, who desire instant access to info and engaging user experiences.

 

Self-service has become the name of the game for the modern consumer. People now prefer seeking answers on the web—it minimizes the interaction necessary to resolve an issue and fits in this era’s mold, moving us toward increased automation and reduced human contact. This evolution in service preferences raises important questions about the future of customer service and how the man and the machine both fit into it.

Self-service has become the name of the game for the modern consumer. People now prefer seeking answers on the web—it minimizes the interaction necessary to resolve an issue and fits in this era’s mold, moving us toward increased automation and reduced human contact. This evolution in service preferences raises important questions about the future of customer service and how the man and the machine both fit into it.

 

 

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