Customer Engagement

Customer Service in 2013 and Beyond

Bill Durr

What customer service challenges will the next generation of digital consumers bring, and how will businesses need to adapt? A glimpse into the future of customer service.

It’s the start of the school year, and the class of 2013 is settling into college life at campuses around the country. In a few years, these young men and women will enter the world as a new breed of consumer. They’ll join a growing legion of “Generation Y” and “Generation Z” customers — otherwise known as “digital natives” — who derive a large percentage of their information online, and are very comfortable juggling multiple communication channels.

Having grown up accustomed to instant access to information, and in a world of online social media, these Gen Y and Gen Z consumers bring with them a new set of requirements and expectations when it comes to customer service. While the phone (more and more the mobile phone) continues to be a primary method of communication, text messaging and online chat, and using social networks like Facebook and MySpace to have micro-conversations online, are also everyday channels and sources for information exchange and influence.

Given rapidly changing media options and consumer expectations, how will today’s businesses adapt five years down the road? What, specifically, will customer service look like in the year 2013 and beyond? And what are some key areas of innovation, insight and advantage that will help to fuel the business transformation necessary to thrive in these changing times?

When viewed holistically, in the year 2013 and even a decade from now, the practice of running a customer contact center may not be entirely different than how it’s done today. There will be a continued need for quick customer service response and first-call resolution from staff who are in the right place, with the right skills, at the right time. Center managers will continue to be concerned about managing schedules, keeping adherence in check, developing staff, retaining agents and customers alike, reducing operations costs and generating revenue. And there will continue to be a need, perhaps even a growing need, to ensure that service quality and agent performance is evaluated and developed.

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