Customer Service Roundup: From Millennials to Bots and ‘How to Wow’

Recent ICMI, CRM magazine and Entrepreneur articles explore current trends in customer service that include: How Millennials are changing the customer service landscape; how to get started in chatbots, messaging and personalization; and tips from Zappos on customer service that wows. Here are brief takes on the stories:

ICMI: Millennials Want to Be Treated as People, Not a Case Number

Millennials want to seamlessly use all the contact center channels available. And they want to pick up the conversation with a person on the phone if needed without missing a beat. They live in a multi-channel world. They expect continuity regardless of the channel they’ve switched to at the moment, says the article on ICMI’s website.

“An overwhelming 72 percent of consumers expect to be able to continue talking with the same representative on the phone as they were talking with via online chat,” the piece says.

Millennials are also harsher critics of their customer experiences.  And their ties to social media mean they readily share their opinions.

Companies may handle different channels, such as phone, email, chat and social media, with separate infrastructure. But “customers do not view interactions as in a vacuum,” the story said. “Rather, they look at it through the context of the larger relationship they have with each business.”

CRM magazine: Three Tech Trends to Put on Your Customer Service Radar

The article in the Summer 2017 SOCOM magazine urges you to consider chatbots, messenger apps and personalization. But it also points out that you can get started with each in simple ways and build from there to prepare for the next steps of technology.

Chatbots. People want to find info themselves and to start with self-service that’s easy, CRM says. Customers do not want to search the website for an answer. They want to ask their question as if speaking to a friend – and receive a correct answer.

The piece suggests starting with a simple chatbot that can assist the customer. But it can also gather info that helps you decide the best way to next invest in the tech. Meanwhile, how do you decide where the best place for your chatbot is? The answer: Where your customers are.

Messenger Apps. Customers are spending more time on their phones – and using popular messenger apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik and WeChat. The article suggests that companies should make themselves available on the popular apps. There they can offer simple transactions like answering questions and allowing customers to order and to check order status. Brands need to be available on these apps – and they need to evolve the experience, CRM says.

Know Your Customers’ Names

Personalization. Customers expect brands to collect their info, the article says. But they also expect brands to not only use this info for the company’s benefit, but also for the customers’. Customers want you to know their names in all interactions and the model number of the product they have. Don’t ask them their phone number if they’ve already entered it. Know the channels they prefer and offer them products.

CRM says: “It’s important to remember you don’t have to design the ultimate customer experience in one take.  Start building the foundation and ensure that it allows you to be consistent across channels … and flexible enough to grow.”

Entrepreneur: Follow These 9 Steps to Copy Zappos Customer Service

Zappos is known for its customer-focused culture. Its Director of Insights gives tips in this Entrepreneur piece to help others focus their customer service effort as well.

A sampling of the tips:

  • Are you hiring people who care about customer service?
  • Always do what’s right for the customer!
  • Do you give your customers what they want before they know what they want?

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