The internet has revolutionized customer service. Companies have established a presence on multiple channels in a bid to enhance their customer’s experience and to micro-manage their journey.
From writing blogs to timely social media posts, cutting-edge ticketing & FAQ services and helpful YouTube videos, their efforts in capturing the mindshare of the consumers & elevating their experience has been met with huge success.
However, with the advent of the next generation of technologies spearheaded by advancements in AI, traditional customer service strategies are in much need of a revamp.
Companies are now using chatbots, messaging platforms, and mobile apps programmed to use context clues to understand and respond to requests leaving agents to handle complex requests.
The Future of Customer Service
We are entering the era of personalized customer service and advanced customer experiences with AI, IoT, ML, blockchain, and allied technologies that will reduce human customer service costs. Here are the trends we will experience.
Assists in the shift to self-service
AI and ML will power a new generation of self-service tools giving consumers control over their experiences. Consumers can type or talk into platforms and get answers in FAQs, support articles, or community answers. They will be able to quickly move between topics instead of being trapped in a complex decision tree.
The consumer experience will become more dynamic. The tools will learn from customers’ activity, identify case drivers and alert customer service teams of their focus, and empower them to do more strategic work.
Improves accessibility to big data and analysis
In the past, it took time for companies to collect data to spend on marketing, website development, and product creation efforts. Today, AI and ML can analyze a massive chunk of data and create easily accessible reports, allowing companies to understand essential consumer data.
Big data, structured or unstructured, would inundate a business. But what a company does with this data matters more than the data collection itself. Data will let companies know their customers better, the target audience’s demographics, when they would convert, their search preference, etc.
Creation of conversational AI agents
When companies had chatbots with pre-filled responses, they received backlash for causing frustration due to limited capabilities. Contrarily, as AI agents would become more accurate, customer satisfaction would increase.
With increased accuracy, AI agents will engage in natural conversations and improve over time. It learns from real interactions with the users in real-time, improving ticket resolution and satisfying customers. Within 2025, AI agents would resolve 80 to 90% of text-based tickets.
Establishment of predictive customer support
Contrary to consumers reaching out to companies in the event of a breakdown, companies would leverage data from connected devices to stand in front of issues and anticipate problems. AI-powered agents with authority to act on contextual and profile data would facilitate predictive care.
For example, if an airline can gather data and understand that there is a probability of a person missing their flight due to a traffic or security line congestion, it could pre-emptively rebook their next flight.
Emergence of voice-based support
Along with email, voice channels would emerge as fun and engaging ways to offer support. Voice channels can provide assistant with queries that include troubleshooting, order status, and subscription mods. Customers are using voice at an impressive rate, with more than a million users using Google Assistant per day.
Canadian airline WestJet is leveraging the captive audience and launched its virtual agent Juliet on Google Assistant. It lets travelers know information on baggage allowances, flight status, and required travel documentation, key information for travelers.
The voice assistant market is expected to reach more than USD 80 Bn per year by 2023.
Reskilling the Workforce
AI could augment nearly 30% of current duties assigned to customer service agents. Although AI will replace agents to carry out simple and repetitive tasks, companies could train their agents for jobs requiring technical and management skills.
Customer service professionals, from entry, mid, and senior levels free from customer care duties could receive development training to creative and managerial roles, resulting in low attrition and building a better brand.
Companies can use reskilling to address skill gaps and retrain their workforce to prepare for new roles. We analyzed alternative career roles for customer success agents with high overlap for skillsets.
For example, we found a likelihood of transition of senior-level roles of Customer Retention/Success/Support Manager to UI/UX Manager, Data Analytics Manager, Product Manager or Sales Enablement Manager.
The entry-level workforce, call center associate/customer service agent, and customer service specialist can be trained as an Inside Sales Associate, Customer Relationships Analyst, or Digital Marketing Executive.
We look at two such roles.
Inside sales associate
Inside sales associates talk to prospects over the phone, email, and other online communication services. With the research, communication, and rapport-building skills, inside sales associates source new sales opportunities, research accounts to identify players, generate interest, and maintain their database.
They build a pipeline and close deals, perform online demos to prospects, and route qualified opportunities to sales executives for further development and closure. In addition, they focus on big-ticket items, connect with leads, and have smarter conversations with prospects based on real-time data.
With a reskilling program, associates can transform from call center associate to an Inside Sales Associate, thereby proofing their career from redundancy and saving talent teams from going through the hiring process again.
The same can be done for other emerging roles as well.
Sales enablement manager
Sales enablement managers build support and momentum for key initiatives that drive behaviors and results on the frontline. They ensure that sales enablement efforts deliver on the strategic goals agreed upon with senior leaders.
The sales enablement manager’s initiatives and priorities fit within the purview of these roles: revenue enablement manager, field enablement manager, and sales productivity manager.
They oversee end-to-end performance, collaborate with cross-functional teams, facilitate alignment, evaluate metrics and impact against KPIs. They must be data-driven, technologically savvy, and have a deep knowledge of the buyer’s journey.
We found a likelihood of transition of senior-level roles of Customer Retention/Success/Support Manager to Sales Enablement Manager.
Draup analyzed 4,500+ job roles across 2,500 locations. Our analysis of 4 million + career paths and associates skills are assisting HR leaders in their Talent Acquisition, Reskilling, and Workforce Planning Initiatives.
Download the whitepaper to learn about the impact of technology and to view the complete reskilling journeys of the transitions covered above.