Smart Customer Service/CRM Evolution 2018: Adjusting to Change in Technology and the Workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the customer service industry tackles changes in technology and the workforce, speakers on day two of Smart Customer Service 2018 looked ahead to a future where Millennials make up a bigger share of the workforce, analytics play a more crucial role, and social media gives customers a louder megaphone.

During her session, Terra Fletcher, founder and marketing consultant at Fletcher Consulting, asserted that Millennials employees “don’t see the separation that previous generations did between work and personal life; they see them more integrated.” And while this desire for meaningfulness in the workplace began with Millennials, it is bound to continue with subsequent generations. Fletcher laid out five tenets for companies with Millennial employees to follow: (1) don’t dwell on the past/talk about the “good old days”; (2) evaluate and trim down rules; (3) interact face to face more often; (4) don’t hesitate to correct Millennial workers; and (5) explain clearly why policies or processes are in place.

Jean Mork Bredeson, president at SERVICE 800, delved into the thorny issue of measuring the seemingly unquantifiable—customer experience. “If you think about it, what you’re doing is you’re measuring a human emotion, you’re measuring a perception, you’re measuring an individual attitude,” she said. “It’s a gooey, soft type of element and what we’re doing is we’re trying to put numbers to something that’s…not truly finite at all.”

She noted that Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one common way to approach measuring it, but the issue with NPS is that while it moves in response to improvement efforts, a change in NPS does not always correlate with an increase in company revenue. Going forward, she said, measuring customer experience will require customizable surveys for each customer and a focus on emotion, asking, for example, “How did the experience make you feel?”

Social media is “giving a megaphone to your customers to allow them to share their stories to more people and louder [than ever],” said Randi Busse, president at Workforce Development Group. In her session, “Your Customers Are Talking About You: Do You Know What They Are Saying?” Busse asserted that customer service is often the only differentiator between a company and its competitors.

She identified five practices for companies to ensure that the stories their customers are telling are positive ones: (1) value customers as you would a family member; (2) engage in a dialogue with customers as opposed to asking them a series of questions, like an interrogation; (3) solicit feedback from customers and keep them in the loop about their suggestions; (4) empower employees so that they are invested in the company; and (5) find a way to go beyond the products and services offered that indicates to customers “I’m here for you.”

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Speakers emphasized putting humanity first in customer and employee experiences.

Posted April 10, 2018