Forrester’s Predictions: Top Customer Service Trends in 2016

February 29, 2016 Ryan Williams

Forrester’s Predictions

Customer satisfaction and loyalty represent the basis for a positive customer experience, which further influences the rise in profit. Monitoring customer behavior and doing everything possible to make their satisfaction higher should be a mission of every company focused on the end user.

Forrester’s analyst Kate Leggett monitors customer service and, year after year, makes predictions about future trends. Here is what she has predicted for the following year in the area of customer service improvement in her most recent report on what will happen with customer service technology trends in 2016.

#1 – Companies Will Make Self-Service Easier

Forrester Research analyst says that in 2015 self-service interactions on the web and mobile had gone up, and even outpaced real time (or live-assist) channels. The latter is meant to help customers answer their harder questions.

Forrester predicts that in 2016, service providing companies and organizations will extend their outreach and bolster their self-service options by hiring the so-called virtual agents and joining online communities. Knowledge management strategies will be solidified and foundations made stronger. To make the service better, they will incorporate their knowledge into wearables, and send information and updates to their remote service technicians so they can make changes almost instantly.

#2 – Field Service Will Empower Customers to Control Their Time

Customers feel inclined towards businesses which appreciate their time. Almost three-quarters (73%) of examinees reported this. Customers will feel appreciated when they receive a call, get a quick reply in an online chat or a text message.

Due to this data, Forrester predicts that in 2016 the interaction process between clients and assistants will be better supported and end with a service call. Service management options will be better and have more respect of client’s time, offering better schedule options and appointment dates, which will in turn “allow agents to efficiently dispatch technicians and manage their schedules.”

#3 – Prescriptive Advice Will Power Offers, Decisions, and Connections

Since making decisions in an instant is becoming so influential, organizations will use this to their advantage, and use findings from studies as a prescriptive measure of forecasting their course of action.

In other words, Forrester suggests that “[a]nalytics will be used to route a customer to an agent who can most effectively answer a question based on skills and behavior data, or to better understand customer call patterns and preempt future calls.”

This prediction shows that data acquired from studies about customer behavior will be used later as a prescriptive measure for organizations and dictate their course of action – which will further strengthen customer service.

#4 – Insights from Connected Devices Will Trigger Preemptive Service and Turn Companies into Services-Based Ones

The Internet of Things (IoT) is something everybody’s been talking about lately. The idea of IoT is that all things and devices will connect in the future, and based on this convenience, companies will be able to diagnose or fix issues from anywhere. Some companies are using this system even today, such as Tesla Motors and Nintendo.

It is predicted that in 2016 IoT “will continue to transform companies from being products-based to services-based,” having in mind the connectivity of their devices within the network, communication formats, data models, connectedness with contact centers, personal and automated actions, and many more. Even though this idea may look a bit sci-fi to some, it is near to fulfillment.

#5 – Customer Service Technology Ecosystem Will Consolidate

Forrester analyst predicts that in 2016 customer service will combine the following things:

  1. a) “Mature software categories in which vendors are struggling with growth opportunities;
  2. b) The rise of robust software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions in each category;
  3. c) Escalating buyer frustration and
  4. d) The increasing importance of delivering simpler and smarter customer service makes for ripe conditions for further consolidation to happen in the marketplace.”

Their combination and integrated functioning will enhance customer service experience and create a quality support for buyers.

Bottom line

Although this survey does not specifically address communication trends in digital signage and texting for customer support in new car dealerships; it does, however, help give you an idea that change is constant when it comes to technology that is being applied to customer service. It is a flag for all us that keeping abreast of technology trends in customer service is part of our job. Understanding that this is not happening in a vacuum but in response to what we all expect from companies when it comes to our customer service interactions with them. It’s all about the customer and making them happy.

Kate Leggett originally wrote this article, and it was published on the Forrester Blog on January 6, 2016.

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