19 Mar Service Cloud and the top customer service trends for 2018
by Yaron Wilf
Forrester has come out with their 2018 top customer service trends. These trends provide insight into modernization and innovation in the contact center. Most importantly, they are indicators of how contact centers need to adapt to meet evolving customer needs for new channels and to maximize customer success. Salesforce Service Cloud continues to be at the forefront of innovation for propelling forward customer service organizations. Let’s look at how Service Cloud aligns with the Forrester trends for the year.
Trend 1: Customers demand fast service anywhere, anytime
“. . . Companies will explore chatbots and voice user interfaces to enhance the self-service experience, as well as investigate visual engagement technologies to cut through the conversational clutter and preserve a customer’s time.”
Work and life are no longer neatly packaged and separated times. They’re both 24/7. This means time is more valuable than ever to customers. Companies that focus on providing effortless service will increase customer loyalty by respecting customers’ time.
There are a number of ways to build up that effortless service. For starters, Salesforce Community Cloud is central to a self-service strategy. Customers want fast access to cases and information via a knowledge base so they can solve issues on their own anytime, anyplace, and from any device. Adding a chatbot to the community—as mobile SMS or integrated into an app like Facebook messenger—provides customers easy access to resolve the most common inquiries 24/7. Chatbots can automate a large number of support interactions, ask follow-up questions, query databases, and escalate to live agents if needed. Service Cloud bots, powered by Salesforce Einstein, can be the interface that helps your customers on your behalf across all self-service channels.
Additionally, visual engagement technologies are important to fast service. Salesforce SOS enables businesses to connect with customers using one-on-one personal conversations. SOS is important for high-touch engagements such as in the financial, insurance, and healthcare industries. Imagine being in an accident and your insurance assessor can inspect your claim via a video, or needing help with troubleshooting a server installation in the NOC—have you ever tried to find the right network port or cable while on a call? An example of SOS in action is Intuit. Intuit uses Salesforce SOS video and co-browsing to help users with mobile tax filing. Agents can view the user’s application and collaborate on it in real time to help the user successfully complete the tax filing. Customers love having their hands held during what can be a stressful process. SOS is like having your own personal assistant to guide you through transactions that can be time consuming or stressful.
Trend 2: Automation and AI quells headcount increases
“Enterprises must re-imagine their operations, with automation and AI at the center of their strategy: for example automated answers, automated conversations, automated agent guidance and RPA, optimized routing, scheduling, case classification.”
As businesses realized that customer service is a competitive differentiator that had a direct impact on customer loyalty, there has been an increased demand for it. More customers are interacting with service for many business needs. Both businesses and customers expect more from customer service organizations, which results in higher load and volumes on support. That kind of progression is not scalable, however. Instead, process automation tools that help increase agent productivity and AI can take on some of the load. These tools enable growth without adding headcount.
Salesforce Service Cloud answers the automation need on many fronts with these tools:
- Omni-channel effectively routes every digital channel to the right agents—both available and skilled to correctly answer the question.
- The Service Cloud console optimizes the agent experience with contextual 360 views, macros, and integrated knowledge, all improving agent productivity. You can reduce handling time by seeing all customer details and interactions on a single screen.
- Lightning Flows creates both agent- and customer-rich UI-guided processes that streamline resolution of multi-step or complex processes. This means problems will be resolved correctly the first time around.
- Einstein AI will take case automation and agent productivity to another level. To start, cases will be automatically classified and routed based on case analysis. When handling a case, agents will be helped by Einstein which will surface the relevant articles, identify similar cases, and refer to experts who can help resolve complex issues. These next-best-action and predictions will improve agent productivity.
Trend 3: Customer service operations must look to become more human
“Agent interactions will be reserved for escalations for more complex issues that require diagnosis and empathy . . . organizations will focus on the quality of interactions as measured by customer retention and lifetime value.”
With effective self-service in place, contact center agents will have an opportunity to work on more interesting and complex issues. This will have a positive impact on agent satisfaction and attrition, and happy agents make for happy customers. One-to-one interaction with customers and the ability to effectively resolve issues will set the tone for customer sentiment and have a direct impact on customer loyalty. Agents will have a direct impact on business outcomes.
But in order to deliver high-quality service, have a more effective conversation, and provide more personalized service, agents need real-time contextual information. The Service Cloud Lightning Console centralizes case information, customer profiles, purchasing and interaction history, account information, preferences, and more all in a unified and contextual interface. With this, agents can deliver personalized service across every interaction channel.
According to the Salesforce State of the Connected Customer research, 69% of consumers say personalized care influences their loyalty. Knowing your customers and having that information in real-time enables the contact center to deliver the personalized service that will win customers over for life.
Customer service is always changing. If your customer service technology isn’t changing with it, you’ll find yourself lagging behind. Reach out to Simplus today for advisory, managed, and implementation services that can boost your customer service and automation capabilities.
Yaron leads the Solution Services practice at Simplus. As Service and Community Cloud Practice Leader, Yaron’s expertise helps our clients successfully realize their Services vision, goals, and objectives. Yaron maintains Support and Services industry recognition as two-time recipient of the Association of Support Professionals “Ten Best Web Support Sites” and an InformationWeek500 “Top Technology Innovator” finalist.