“Empowered customers are on the move: 40% of consumers have a high willingness and ability to shift spend, with an additional 25% building that mindset.” Forrester.

There was a time when having an innovative product and smart marketing strategy was enough to get and retain customers. Wake up. Those days are long gone now.

Customer service is identified and accepted as the key to business success. No matter how good your product is, customers will have their say and have demands of customization, delivery and return. How you tackle their demands will set your standard. The slower you move the faster your customers change their preferences.

With more and more businesses taking a bite off digitization, the ITSM sector is not far behind in catching up with their customers’ growing need for attention. Service providers are pulling up their virtual socks to present their customers with faster and effective experiences.

Consequences of ineffective customer service:

  1. Revenue Risk: According to a recent study by Forrester, the revenue risk for businesses can go up to 50% without enriched customer service. Having contracts for retaining customers will also fall short for businesses and are also not enough anymore thanks to competitors providing more customized services. A recent research by NewVoiceMedia shows that a staggering amount of USD62 billion is lost by U.S. businesses each year caused by bad customer experiences.
  2. Unattended customer emotions: Unsatisfactory, negative emotions give birth to unforgiving customer experiences sending the business image on a downward spiral. Spending on better customer experience and tracking customers sentiment along the journey will ensure negative feelings and feedback is kept out of the way.
  3. Changing marketing strategies: Sending out mailers, offers and interesting marketing ads are just not enough, customers are looking for a service provider who would provide seamless end to end customer journey. Catch a customer with a shiny new marketing bait, lose him/her with dysfunctional customer service, it’s that simple.
  4. Dwindling customer loyalty: Customers nowadays are armed with information and have plenty of choices to look forward to. Creating and retaining customer loyalty has become a challenge. In the B2B service areas new service providers are emerging with robust tools and customized solutions overnight challenging other players in the market. Stories of good and bad customer experiences are doing the rounds on social platforms, creating a need for continuous excellence. People are more aware of the innovations. In short they want more.

So before customer service becomes the only drawback of the business, (and becomes a royal pain in the business posterior) take heed and have a look at what the trendsetters are doing better in ITSM customer service management:

Self-service: Customer service management tools that say “help yourself” to the customers are the trend of the hour. From ServiceNow to BMC, all are offering self-help to their clients in times of need. These tools help customers to solve their issues by themselves, faster and with ease without going through the process of connecting to customer care. Suitable for customers’ own unique needs, self-service customer management tools provide the knowledge (through forums, documents, articles), and solutions required for solving issues without external help, saving downtime and thus reducing cost. Multiple device friendly, intuitive tools with simplified ticketing process assists in designing the solution the customer is looking for effortlessly.

Chatbots: They are everywhere, giving us advice, helping us solve problems, granting us small mercies of quick and effective help. Programming them to answer frequently asked questions and solving commonplace challenges of ITSM, providers can save time and offer better services at the fingertips. Instead of escalating all problems to the person-to-person interaction, the often occurring and less complicated problems can be easily solved by consulting a chatbot.

Micro design: Monitoring the smallest sections of customer journey to make sure that its glitch free. Micro designing is the new trend of moments mapping to understand the customers better. Putting the customer journey under a magnifier, service providers try to find out which parts of the journey is causing the customer to be irritated, frustrated or compelling them to leave it for good. They then fix the tracks and help customers glide smoothly.

Predictive and prescriptive analytics: If prevention is better than cure then you need to predict and prescribe remedies first. Applying advanced analytics to ITSM, service providers can predict issues that may occur in the near future and keep help ready as and when the scenario occurs.  Guiding customers through the prescriptive methods in an automated way can save a lot of time from both sides and provide effective implementation of services. With a prescription readily available, it makes the problem at hand seem less tricky and overwhelming and increases the customers’ faith in the service provider.

IoT: If maintaining digitization is the goal of a service then it has to facilitate services via all digital channels. Customer service tools for ITSM are made compatible with connected devices like mobile, tabs etc. Customers are reaching out for products from their handheld devices more often these days. It is a given that they would seek platforms for customer services that are compatible with their IoT devices as well. Thanks to adaptive technologies help can be held in hands with the tools and platforms being connected devices friendly.

“In 2020 we’ll have more electronic interfaces. Customers like human contact, but there is a continuing trend toward electronic. Customer interactions are going to be more indirect.” — Market Knowledge Manager, Oil and Energy (Customers 2020, Walker)

Digital mix with physical: The right mix of digital and physical support. Realizing when chatbots and self-help are not enough and redirecting to a customer service executive after a point of time. The success lies in realizing the situation fast enough to switch channels, connecting digital support seamlessly with physical. Customers don’t want to wait around listening to some automatic response that says their problem will be resolved sometime. As soon as the problem is passed on to people for resolution, the customer should get a date of expected resolution with reassurance that the problem has reached the right people.

What customer service leaders can do differently?

The three major differentiators are

  1. They divide problem solving channels to find faster solutions. Simpler, frequently occurring problems go to artificial intelligence and more complex ones go for person to person help.
  2. They keep every department in the loop with the customer service department so that they get the right input at the right time to serve their customers more accurately. They avoid silos.
  3. They have faster response time and enable real time response whenever possible, saving both their own and their customers’ time, making the process more efficient.

A recent Forrester research had shown that 72% of businesses had placed customer service as their top priority. The necessity of enhancing the efficiency of this part of the business cannot be emphasized enough in today’s customer driven market. However, successful customer service leaders are not spending extra money or doing something out of the reach of others. They are simply running their departments better with connectivity, availability and using their resources smartly. The CRM magazine has crowned ServiceNow the leader in customer service management this year. A recent survey by ServiceNow shows that 42% of best customer service providers are more likely to get loyal customers. Also there are 21% of chances for them having greater influence over their peers. Efficient and scalable customer service management tools guide you toward the pinnacle of customer service and business excellence.