Complete, wild guess predictions and thoughts by my cousin Pacefucious about the trends in Customer Service for 2012.
Note: The practice of adding “in bed” may or may not work with the following fortunes.
Pacefucious say: “Transactional social customer service is like making out with pretty cousin”
I hope my crazy cousin isn’t talking about me, but he does have a point about social customer service (somewhere in there). I believe he is saying, you get your immediate need resolved, but you are not forming a relationship. Once a company receives a comment or issue (positive or negative), they should realize the customer has opened up a channel that you share. Just handling their immediate transactional need is good, following up with that customer with content that is of value to them, starts to create a relationship, and is phenomenal customer service. More about this kind of proactive customer service see Is Your Social Customer Service Missing the “Social” Point?
Pacefucious say: “Social CRM platform is silver bullet made of ice”
In 2012, SCRM (definitions) will continue to be a hot topic, but currently it is overpriced (for this economy), overpromising and being mostly sold by people who still believe in traditional sales models and have no understanding of social business. Don’t get me or my cousin wrong, SCRM can and will be a very important tool for businesses, but I don’t think most businesses (or people running those businesses) will be ready for full blown SCRM tools. SCRM will not help you understand social business language, develop your strategy for using social media tools or establish governance. I would love to see more distributors or sales people of SCRM platforms get a firm understanding of social business and practices in 2012 before trying to sell their “silver bullets”.
Pacefucious say: “Benchmark data and metrics make your service taste like cheap Chinese food”
I always get a little worried when people ask me if I have any benchmark data on customer service or contact center metrics. I will try to provide what I think a particular industry considers benchmark data (example: X% of calls answered in X seconds), but is really just averages. If you are interested in average customer service, which pretty much sucks, benchmark data and metrics is perfect for you. If you are interested in providing outstanding service, go understand what your customer finds important or critical to quality, and deliver that and more.
Pacefucious say: “Your customers will be your most valuable customer service agents”
I still find it puzzling that so many customer service organizations do not utilize communities to help solve their customers questions or problems. Some customer service organizations do not even have relationships with the people in their organization who manage their communities. I am not sure I have ever even been to a customer service conference where community management was a topic. Your customers, especially your advocates and superusers, have (collectively) considerably more knowledge than your support agents; why not let them help your customers too? I am not advocating for the end of phone or chat service (maybe email – see below), but having a shared community and knowledge base that can be added to and used by your customers is both incredibly efficient and can provide awesome service.
Pacefucious say: “Email customer service sucks, your lucky numbers are 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42”
Again, don’t get my cousin wrong, email doesn’t suck, but customer service through email is RARELY good, and almost always includes extra work for your customers. Let’s take a typical email situation: question to company (waits), reply and clarification from company, customer clarifies (waits), company provides standard message to solve problem, customer needs more specific information, blah, blah, blah, blah etc… Now email can be valuable to a company as an off-business hour service, and possibly outsourced, but why even provide the subpar experience?
Pacefucious say: “Be social and transparent organization or soon no organization”
The companies that will succeed in 2012 and beyond will leverage social business principles internally and externally. It has already been proven during our recent recession; those companies that embraced social marketing and the use of social tools internally have performed significantly better. Those companies now also have an almost insurmountable time advantage over those companies who have not embraced the social organization. As I wrote earlier last year, I believe the social organization will be the most important advancement for business in the next 5 years – The Next Innovation in Social will come from … HR
So, what does your fortune cookie say? (Don’t forget to add “in bed” afterwards)
Pacefucious is only available via smoke signal or albatross mail; you can contact me with thoughts.
Image via Clutchcook