What does the future hold for customer service in 2020? According to a recent study, a majority of customer service experts in Europe predict that by next year, experience will overtake price and product as a key differentiator. But how do organisations get there?
Findings from Incite Group’s global 2020 State of Customer Service Report reveal that while 53 per cent of European customer service experts plan to compete on customer experience, firms still struggle to understand the evolving expectations of modern day customers. For the European region, that means meeting users in digital channels and leveraging the latest technology to create authentic moments that matter to customers.
Here are some key findings from the report on how European respondents are adapting to the current digital-first customer service environment.
Personalisation, automation and messaging are on the rise
Digital transformation is top of mind for customer service executives across Europe. Nearly half of those surveyed (49 per cent) cited personalisation as a top technology trend, followed closely by the use of AI and automation to complete simple tasks at 41 per cent.
Social media apps are also gaining ground as a customer service option, especially for millennial and Gen-Z customers. Findings show that 38 per cent of European respondents considered Facebook to be a key channel for customer service. Another 25 per cent supported WhatsApp as a customer service option, with plans to expand the app and other messaging channels.
Speed and strategy are areas of opportunity
While technology is helping companies serve customers more quickly and effectively, there is still more to do. The survey found that only 34 per cent of European survey respondents agreed they could answer customer service questions through digital channels in under one hour, while 44 per cent said it takes at least three hours to answer questions. In the digital world where immediacy is key, this wait time is unacceptable. Consumers will not stay with companies that can’t commit to helping customers in real time on mobile apps, messaging services or even via email.
Also of note is the desire to elevate customer service to be a C-level priority. Most surveyed (57 per cent) said that customer service should have a seat at the executive table and report directly to the CEO. This makes sense, especially as experience becomes the leading differentiator for brands. Those who deal directly with customers should have the support of top executives with few layers in between.
Be prepared for transformation
Digital transformation is a hot topic among customer experience leaders, which is why TTEC has developed a thought leadership series around the issue. Join us in London (8th October) and Leeds (10th October) for the CX Tipping Point, a free breakfast networking event which will feature a presentation from Ian Jacobs of Forrester Research.