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More customer service with less

Vijay Venugopalan | Sept. 17, 2009
New generation buying behaviours are changing how customer service needs to be delivered and enterprises must adjust.

A customer service head and good friend of mine, Tom [name changed] rang me recently and asked:

Vijay! My call volumes are constantly on the rise but I have to keep my abandon rate under control and improve my service levels without spending much. Do you have a solution?

I: Why are the customers calling in the first place, Tom?

Tom: They call us to do a, b, c, d transactions [details of transactions masked]

I have asked this question to many customer service leadsseven out of 10 like Tom have a ready list of transactions customers carry on with their contact centres and some even have a top five list. Thats fantastic but Im looking for something else.

Im dedicating this article to those great souls who are up at night thinking about their operational challenges such as: How to answer more calls with the same set of resources or How to size their operation for future growth.

Well, Im not going to provide Top 10 things to do to avoid such challenges. To be honest, these are real and there arent any simple answers to these complex challenges.

The intention of this article is to give my perspective of how the buying behaviours of todays consumers are going to dramatically change the way customer service is delivered in future.

Todays consumers

Who are todays consumers? The whole of 6.8 billion of the worlds population are customers in some form or the other. But I want to focus on one segment of the society which plays a major role in todays fast-changing world.

It is worth writing a few lines about the profile of these people before answering the question who.

1. They adapt to technology faster than others, use extremely powerful devices and interact in different ways.

2. They are the accelerators of the changes happening in almost everything around us.

3. In a recent study we [BT CRM Research team] found that 68 per cent of them have said they prefer to interact with organisations via non-human contact that is, Web, e-mail, chat, self-service channels rather than speaking or meeting face-to-face.

Now, if you disagree or are unable to believe or feel you do not belong to 1, 2 or 3 then its very likely that you have lived in this planet for more than 25 years! Im not playing mind magic with you here!

The category of people that fit into this description is our new generation of youngsterspeople in their teens and early 20s. What is a fast changing world for us is their normal pace of life and hence they will adapt to things as a natural way of life and drive changes even faster than today. Guess what? There is one more great reason to place them in the limelight today. Interestingly, they are our consumers for the next 50 years.

 

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