The Future Of Customer Service Doesn’t Involve Phone Calls

Today, when most people think of customer service, they think of calling a contact center, waiting on hold and having their issue resolved—eventually.

But the traditional method of customer service phone calls is inefficient for companies, and customers don’t like it. The majority (59%) of modern customers avoid calling customer service as much as possible and would rather go through additional channels to contact customer service than have to use the phone. They are tired of the red tape, phone trees and wait times it takes to actually have their question answered.

And although the phone is still used in nearly half (48%) of customer service queries, over three-quarters of consumers are less than satisfied after their experience with any company’s customer service department.

Clearly, customer service phone calls aren’t working. That’s why the future of customer service doesn’t involve any phone calls at all.

Phone-Free Customer Service

It may seem outlandish to suggest that customer service calls won’t be required in the future. But the goal of every company should be to create a product or service that is so good and that is constantly improving so that there is no need for customers to ever call a contact center.

To start, contact centers are notoriously expensive and inefficient. They used to be standard practice for customers to talk to human representatives, but new technology has opened a number of other ways for customers to connect with brands, such as through chatbots or self-service platforms. These methods are not only more cost-effective, they also allow customers to quickly get information on their own schedules instead of having to wait on hold or only call between certain hours.

The average cost of a customer call answered by a human is $35-$50, compared to just $8-$10 for a text-enabled chatbot. More important to customers than personalized interaction with an agent is having problems resolved quickly, which means customers often don’t care if they are talking to a human or a bot as long as the service is convenient and effective. Why then are companies wasting money on a system that customers don’t even like? There’s a much better solution to customer service.

A New Approach To Customer Service

Instead of relying on phone calls to troubleshoot or answer customer questions, the new approach to customer service is integrated into the entire company with continual feedback between customer support teams and engineering and product design.

Instead of creating systems for customers to call about their issues with the products, companies need to be constantly improving their products so that customers don’t have a need to call in. That process starts with feedback and regular communication.

Research has found that 74% of customer experience professionals say they are able to generate new product ideas from customer feedback. That feedback—in the form of surveys, data customer service calls and more—has the potential to greatly improve existing products and create new, bug-proof products customers actually want.

Too many companies fall into the trap of defensive customer service. It may seem easier to just troubleshoot the same problems over and over, but in the long run, it is costing the company valuable time and resources and hurting the customer experience.

Instead, companies need to funnel customer feedback to their engineering and product design teams to make updates to the products. When the customer experience team notices multiple calls or feedback about the same issue, they know it is something that needs to be addressed. It could be a glitch with the product itself or simply a lack of clear communication. But taking care of the root of the problem prevents future issues from arising.

The goal isn’t just to solve customer problems—it’s to prevent them from happening in the future. Instead of addressing the issue over and over with each customer that calls, companies should update and improve their products so that customers don’t have to call in the first place. Truly customer-centric companies aim to improve their customers lives, which starts by creating products and services that don’t require customer service.

Looping customer feedback to the engineering and product design teams helps products continually improve. Don’t separate customer service from engineering and product design. The two areas of the company should be in constant communication to improve and eventually eliminate the need for customers to call the company.

The future of customer service doesn’t require the phone. Customers should never—ever—have to call customer service. Listening to feedback and using it to improve products and services helps customers and companies and builds strong relationships.

The future of customer service is coming, and it doesn’t require phone calls.

This article is sponsored by Pega.

I’m excited to be joining one of Pegasystems’ series of virtual events under the banner of Pega Discover and will be sharing insights during the customer service event. We’ll be looking at how modern brands handle massive volume with speed and grace, all while keeping their customers cared for and keep costs low.

Join us at the virtual event on October 14 (in a time zone that suits you!). Click here to register.

Blake Morgan is the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. Sign up for her new course here.

For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.

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