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Latest 03 Dec 2019 | Best Practices

Introducing the Definitive Guide to Customer Service in the Era of Messaging and Automation

If this is the first iteration of Conversocial’s Definitive Guide you have had the pleasure of joining us for, welcome. For those who have joined us before, welcome back!

The briefing has naturally evolved since we first published “The Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service” in 2013. Spanning from “The Definitive Guide to Social Media Customer Service,” which then evolved into “The Definitive Guide to Social, Mobile Customer Service,” and in its latest iteration – “The Definitive Guide to Customer Service in the Era of Messaging & Automation.” 

“Does this mean the past six Definitive Guides weren’t really as definitive as we claimed?” you ask. Well, no. A lot’s changed in just the past year since our last edition. One defining characteristic however has remained constant across the board; we, the customer, demand convenience. Fundamentally, we expect an effortless service experience on the channels of our choice – and brands that don’t provide this don’t deserve our loyalty.

Our Definitive Guide is an industry renowned publication. From planning, through execution and measurement, it will help your business develop customer service via messaging channels as a scalable and measurable operation. Get your additional here now!

However, if you need some persuading before getting your hands on a free copy, we’ve pulled out some key excerpts from the report to whet your appetite.

The full list of chapters and topics you can find in this year's Definitive Guide:

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Chapter 2.1: Customer Service Trends for 2020

The era of messaging and automation is upon us! 

The fundamentals of delivering a good customer service experience will be as consistent in 2020 as they were in 2019; customers will still expect convenient in-channel resolutions that take little effort on their behalf. But with the rise of friction-free, asynchronous, and personalized private messaging channels for customer service, brands’ contact centers must adapt accordingly.

Customers’ service expectations have matured; the future of customer service is no longer focused solely on swift response times and a friendly tone of voice. 

Effortless service has set the tone in 2019 for what consumers deemed as necessary, expecting convenience, in-channel resolution, and agent expertise all at once. For the most part brands looked to adapt to consumer demands, some more successfully than others, to make “effortless service” part of their customer service architecture.

Offering effortless customer service will still be as relevant in 2020 as it has been in 2019. But customers’ expectations have matured rapidly. 2020 is poised to be even more revolutionary as consumers – the “always-on” generation – leave traditional archaic service channels behind. 

Conversocial’s research highlights the shifting trend, which favors messaging customer service:

  1. We live in a connected world: Over half (55%) of respondents have used a private messaging app for customer service.
  2. Expectations are climbing: A staggering 83% of respondents indicated that their expectations for customer service on messaging channels are higher today than they were a year ago.
  3. Messaging support is the new normal: 70% of respondents have used a private messaging channel to engage with a brand, but only 39% rated their experience as positive.
  4. Customers have zero time for bullshit: 60% of respondents indicated that their expectations are being met, but only 10% thought that they were being exceeded.
  5. AI will continue to gather momentum: 50% of those surveyed stated that they didn’t mind bot driven service interactions as long as their issue was resolved.
  6. Consumers prefer private resolution: When faced with the choice, 75% of consumers indicated that they would prefer to engage with a brand over private messaging channels than traditional channels. 

Evolving customer preferences are tightly linked to innovations in platform functionality and bot technology; brands must embrace both in order to keep pace with heightened expectations.

To read the full chapter on customer service trends for 2020, download the Definitive Guide to Customer Service in the Era of Messaging and Automation

 

Chapter 3.2: Creating a Messaging Customer Service Playbook

Any department that’s responsible for delivering a unified brand message needs a playbook. This is particularly true of any team who communicates with external stakeholders (especially true if those stakeholders happen to be your customers). And so, for any brand, it is absolutely vital that a messaging customer service playbook is THE go-to resource for its agents.

This playbook should be an integral part of a brand’s customer service architecture, acting as a reference point to align and inform all customer engagement and messaging channel conversations. It should help to structure the application of your agents, detail the procedure for departments to seamlessly share knowledge and, most importantly, lay out how customer service agents should most effectively resolve queries via messaging channels.

For clarity’s sake, your playbook should aim to achieve three core objectives:

  1. Provide consistency across your team and create processes that can be measured, refined and scaled. 
  2. Act as a reliable safety net, offering guidance for frontline customer service agents to readily refer to for seamless issue resolution, even during times of stress. 
  3. Set parameters for customer service teams whilst giving the freedom to individual digital service agents to take initiative and tailor their own unique responses to incoming queries. 

An effective playbook provides the tools that agents need to feel comfortable delivering outstanding service over messaging channels, and the content to ensure they can resolve a customer’s most common queries to the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Simple, right?

As discussed, the customer service landscape is an ever-evolving beast. Therefore, a great playbook is for life, not just for launch. It should serve as a living document that should be evaluated and updated every six months to keep up with the latest industry trends. This is particularly pertinent in the world of messaging customer service.

At Conversiocial, we have found that businesses who embrace a playbook have a higher potential to succeed when it comes to delivering customer service over messaging channels. Stray away from a playbook too far, or omit the option to have one altogether, and you risk getting it wrong from the beginning. 

A great customer service playbook should be: simple, concise and bespoke

For a step-by-step guide to building your own customer service playbook, download the Definitive Guide to Customer Service in the Era of Messaging and Automation

"Fundamentally, we expect an effortless service experience on the channels of our choice – and brands that don’t provide this don’t deserve our loyalty."

Chapter 4: Omni-channel is Dead. Welcome to Uni-channel!

Not to beat an old drum to death, but customer preferences have shifted. Gen Z – defined loosely as people born from 1995 to 2010 – are true digital natives. From their youth, they have been exposed to the internet, social networks, and cell phones. This early exposure has produced a cognitive generation that influences people of all ages and incomes, as well as the way we relate to and consume from brands (take the inspirational Greta Thunberg for example). 

Gen Z have fundamentally disrupted how brands will deliver customer service through:

  1. Connectivity: Gen Z are digitally savvy, and as a result are constantly connected and shun traditional channels.
  2. Socioeconomic influence: Gen Z are driven by unique customer experiences – not generic ones – valuing brands who provide this. 

What’s more, they have no time for bullshit. With almost anything possible at the touch of a button – ordering a taxi, controlling a home, or even finding true love (or whatever kind of love you’re looking for) – consumer expectations of brands are at an all-time high (and will only get higher). If not doing so already, brands must adapt by offering customer service over messaging channels. If doing so already, brands should look to use adaptive automation to drive unique customer experiences. But getting there requires a different approach to customer service, one that is contradictory to everything previously thought and done. To get there and do it the right way, initially, you must think uni, not omni-channel.

2019 saw even more consumer to business communication channels burst onto the customer service scene. But this channel explosion required a different approach from brands. The future standard of customer service is about channel depth, not breadth. Therefore, brands need to ask themselves a different set of questions; “what channel(s) does it make sense for us to be on?” rather than, “how quickly can we get on all channels?” 

Brands need to be measured and intentful in their approach. Offering customer service in a uni-channel strategy will ensure that your brand is able to create a dedicated and personalized customer service operation, focused on providing the highest levels of customer satisfaction. 

For our top tips on how to harness a unichannel customer service strategy, download the Definitive Guide to Customer Service in the Era of Messaging and Automation

I hope this sneak peek gives you the confidence that you’re in good hands. Everything we do at Conversocial is purpose-built to help people connect with brands in the same way they do with their friends. It’s the only thing we do, it’s our obsession, and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. So, whether you’re looking to introduce messaging into your contact center or just want to tighten up your existing service, this is the guide for you.

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