If you stop and think about it for a moment, we're witnessing some dramatic changes as to how customer service is being delivered. For starters, today's omnichannel customers are prompting companies to provide support across any and all of the touchpoints they use. Who would have expected even a few years ago that roughly one-third of enterprise companies would have dedicated handles for Twitter support? The developments that are reshaping customer service extend beyond omnichannel. Forward-looking organizations are making more extensive use of predictive and speech analytics to gain a richer understanding of individual customers and cater to their needs, behaviors, and preferences. It's great that a growing number of companies are beginning to make use of analytics to provide customers with more personalized service. Still, one of the more fundamental changes beginning to take shape is that the definition of customer service itself is being rewritten.
Historically, customer service has been the dominion of the contact center. If a customer encounters a problem with a company's product, service, warranty, account, etc., they would call and speak to an agent. And while customers will continue to reach out to the contact center for support, companies that are striving to make it easier for customers to resolve issues will make it possible for employees in other functions such as accounts payable, sales, marketing, etc. to address customer concerns on the spot.
Of course, enabling these capabilities will require substantial changes within many companies. Employees across different departments will require access to customer information that cuts across different functions and applications (purchasing, CRM) so that they're able to resolve a customer's problem directly without having to place a customer on hold or transfer him or her to another department. In addition, employees will need to be empowered to resolve a customer's issue without forcing a customer to wait while they're obtaining approval from their managers.
Making these types of changes requires a shift in the cultural mindset. This includes a willingness among functional owners to share customer data with other parts of the organization. However, companies that adapt and provide customers with more seamless and agile support stand to strengthen customer satisfaction and loyalty.