The customer service landscape is rapidly evolving. Call center software, once seen solely as a cost center, is now becoming a critical profit driver and a means to deliver top-notch customer experiences. Several key trends are shaping the future of customer service call center software.
Since customer service is more important than ever before. Customers expect awesome service, not just adequate service. This means call centers need to step up their game. Call centers used to be seen as cost centers. But now they are becoming profit drivers by improving customer loyalty and sales. The software running call centers are also getting way better.
New technologies like AI and omnichannel communication are making call centers smarter. Customer service is how brands stand out from the crowd today. So call center software has to get with the times to deliver great customer experiences. This article explores the big changes happening in call center software. Companies must get on board with these trends to give customers the service they want.
The Shift from Cost Centers to Profit Centers
In the past, customer service organizations were viewed primarily as cost centers by most companies. Their main purpose was to handle customer complaints and minimize the cost of serving customers. However, this mindset is quickly changing.
Today, the goals of customer service teams are expanding beyond cost control. Customer service is now increasingly seen as a potential source of revenue and long-term customer loyalty.
The shift is being driven by digital customer engagement. Rather than simple phone support, companies now interact with customers across various digital channels like chat, social media, messaging apps, and more. To enable this transition, many companies are adopting call center in the cloud which are excellent solutions to provide the flexibility and scalability needed for digital engagement. This expanded engagement presents opportunities to upsell products, retain customers, and generate referrals.
To capitalize on this potential, customer service teams are adopting new objectives, metrics, and structures:
- Objectives now focus on customer lifetime value, share of wallet, churn rate reduction, and customer advocacy – not just cost per interaction.
- Metrics emphasize customer satisfaction (CSAT), net promoter scores (NPS), and return on investment – not just handle times.
- Structures include dedicated revenue generation and customer retention teams – not just technical support teams.
With the right digital capabilities and orientation, customer service is transitioning from a cost center to a profit center. Companies that still see it as a cost will fall behind the competition.
The Rise of Proactive Customer Service Models
Another major evolution in customer service software is the move from reactive to proactive engagement models.
In the past, customers had to complain before a service issue was addressed. Support teams operated in a reactive mode – simply responding to questions and problems.
However, customers today expect companies to be proactive in serving them. They want customized recommendations, preventive maintenance suggestions, and warnings about potential issues.
Proactive customer service provides multiple benefits:
- It optimizes costs by preventing many support issues.
- It delights customers and improves brand perception.
- It enables personalized cross-selling opportunities.
New technologies are powering this transition:
- Predictive analytics identify potential customer issues before they happen.
- Proactive chatbots reach out with customized suggestions.
- Customer data platforms consolidate data from all touchpoints to understand customers.
Overall, the move to proactive customer service is a must-have evolution as customer expectations rise.
The Transition to Messaging Platforms
Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and SMS are becoming the dominant platforms for customer service interactions.
Many companies are abandoning customer service mobile apps in favor of messaging apps. There are several reasons for this transition:
- Messaging apps have over 5 billion users globally – a massive built-in audience.
- They provide a familiar environment that customers already use daily.
- They reduce customer effort by eliminating app downloads.
- They are more cost-effective than developing custom mobile apps.
Messaging provides a better overall customer experience:
- Customers can easily switch between channels without losing context.
- Support teams can maintain continuous conversations with users.
- Rich media like images, videos, and documents can be exchanged.
While data security is a concern, proper encryption and governance can mitigate risks. Overall, messaging platforms provide a ubiquitous and flexible channel for customer service.
The Emergence of Huddle Groups
To better serve diverse customer needs, forward-thinking customer service teams are utilizing “huddle groups.”
These are small, cross-functional groups focused on delivering excellent service to specific customer segments.
For example, a software company might have huddle groups for:
- High-touch enterprise customers
- Self-serve SMB customers
- Trial users with high conversion potential
Each huddle combines agents with specialized skills, data, and expertise for its audience:
- Enterprise group – account managers, technical experts
- SMB group – self-service tools, tailored content
- Trial users – educational resources, personalized outreach
This segmented approach allows for delivering customized experiences tuned to each customer group.
The Role of IoT in Customer Service
The Internet of Things (IoT) is having a major impact on customer service capabilities. By 2021, Gartner predicts there will be over 25 billion IoT-connected devices globally.
These connected products and sensors allow companies to take customer service to the next level with proactive, predictive maintenance and service:
- Telemetry data from IoT devices can identify potential issues before they cause failure or downtime. If a connected machine detects unusual vibration patterns for example, it can proactively alert the customer and service team to address it.
- Self-diagnostics enable connected products to check their own status and performance. Based on real-time IoT sensor data, devices can self-identify emerging problems and trigger alerts. This allows for catching problems early.
- Contextual data from IoT sensors provides service teams with richer information for troubleshooting and issue resolution. Agents have access to detailed machine usage data and can better diagnose root causes.
However, the rise of IoT also creates challenges for customer service operations:
- Connected products generate enormous amounts of sensor data. Customer service software needs powerful analytics capabilities to transform this data into actionable insights.
- IoT data must be monitored 24/7 to detect anomalies and emerging issues in real time. This requires specialized data science skills.
- Companies need data management strategies to store, process, analyze, and take action on huge volumes of IoT data over time.
- Security and privacy concerns must be addressed as increasing amounts of customer data are gathered.
- Field service teams may require additional training and resources to service interconnected, sensor-enabled products.
- Customers need education on how to use, maintain, and troubleshoot connected devices.
Overall, the rise of IoT represents a major opportunity to enhance predictive service and customer experiences. But it also creates new challenges around analytics, data, security, and service delivery.
Companies require holistic strategies to capitalize on the IoT revolution in customer service. With careful planning, they can utilize connected products to deliver proactive, customized support at scale. The IoT wave is here, and customer service must adapt quickly to ride it.
The Multiexperience Mindset
Looking ahead, customer service software must adopt a “must experience” mindset.
Rather than individual channels and touchpoints, companies must focus on delivering seamless journeys across the entire experience lifecycle.
This means looking at the customer journey holistically, not just as isolated interactions. Service teams need to connect insights and context across web, mobile, in-store, call center, and advertising interactions to optimize the experience.
Three capabilities are needed to enable this:
- Omnichannel orchestration: Coordinate engagement across different front-end and back-end systems.
- Journey analytics: Map and measure how customers navigate across channels and departments.
- Experience personalization: Use integrated data to tailor interactions to individual customer needs.
By connecting experiences end-to-end, companies can offer seamless, contextual service across channels.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Are Customer Service Organizations Becoming Profit Centers?
Customer service teams are evolving into profit centers by focusing on customer lifetime value, share of wallet growth, and customer retention – not just cost reduction. They utilize digital touchpoints to generate revenue via upsells, cross-sells, subscriptions, and referrals. Customer data and marketing capabilities enable personalized recommendations that boost incremental revenue.
2. What Technologies Are Enabling Proactive Customer Service?
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing, and customer data platforms are powering proactive service models. Bots and algorithms can analyze historical data to anticipate customer needs before they arise. Contextual data provides insights to make recommendations personalized to each user.
3. Are Messaging Platforms Secure Enough for Customer Service?
Messaging apps utilize end-to-end encryption and other security measures to protect user data. Companies follow security best practices like using approved devices, securing API access, monitoring for threats, and establishing auditing procedures. Proper implementation allows messaging platforms to handle customer service securely.
Customer service software is undergoing major shifts – from cost center to profit driver, from reactive to proactive, and from channel-focused to journey-focused. Messaging platforms and technologies like AI and IoT are also transforming capabilities.
Companies must keep pace with these customer service evolutions to remain competitive. By leveraging new technologies and strategies, they can meet rising customer expectations and turn service into a driver of loyalty and business growth.
The future of customer service is bright for organizations that embrace this evolution. As the famous quote goes – “Change is the only constant in life.”