A good product is the key component of the business, but today even the best products are not able to satisfy consumers if they are not combined with a convincing service.

And from Salesforce’s State of Service research, conducted on 3,500 managers and service operators from companies around the world, it turns out that the experience with the service has reached the quality of the product.

Customer expectations have reached the point that 80% of them consider their experience with a company as important as the product itself and the consequences in the world of customer service are unprecedented.

The five trends in customer service

The State of Service report highlights a renewed importance for the function of customer service, based on five trends.

The five main trends emerged from the report below:

First trend: organisations operating in services are investing in transformation.

The urgency of making customer service processes more modern and quality is increasingly felt. Four out of five service managers are convinced that new technologies are transforming customer expectations towards them. The company is also convinced that companies need to transform their customer service in order to remain competitive.

This idea is beginning to reach top management, increasingly looking forward to investing in modern and quality services.

For decades, the customer service budget has been the victim of an ancient vision of this function that minimized its commercial value. Today, more than half (54%) of the companies that have the responsibility of customer support increase annually the budget in this division and almost two thirds (63%) previews a ulterior increase for the next year.

If the recognition of the need for a transformation of customer service is consistent among companies, it is much more likely that high performance teams, those with an excellent percentage of customer satisfaction, will get more resources than their less performing competitors.

Second trend: in industry 4.0 the operators of the customer service have the most strategic role

The second trend of customer service is the change in the role of operators. Customer expectations for tailor-made experience based on their specific needs mean that any role that has direct contact with them, including agents, cannot operate as has always been done. Nowadays, operators no longer have the objective of closing as many cases as possible in the shortest possible time. On the contrary, they must treat each customer on a personalized basis and in the specific way that this requires.

Operators are fully aware of these new dynamics and 71% of them believe that their work is more strategic than it was just two years ago. The management of the service teams is increasingly trying to help operators acquire the skills needed to provide quality assistance, which is why the improvement of the skills of the workforce has become the first priority.

However, just as with investments and budgets, not all organisations have the same level of innovation. In high performance teams, 63% of operators spend most of their time solving complex problems. In less performing teams, however, a similar percentage of operators (57%) devotes most of their time to trivial activities. It is not surprising, therefore, that operators who are part of highly performing teams have twice the chance of getting a career.

Third trend: artificial intelligence allows you to dedicate yourself to more strategic activities

The adoption of artificial intelligence by customer service is still in its infancy: just under a quarter (24%) of the teams already use it today. However 56% of the customer service decision makers are looking for ways to use artificial intelligence, which signals a new trend: the growing role of artificial intelligence for text chatbots or via voice, analysis and more. The forecast is that the use of artificial intelligence in the sector is expected to increase by 143% over the next 18 months.

The role of artificial intelligence in customer service is still to be focused: only 39% of organisations have a fully defined strategy for this type of technology. However, the first impacts show an alignment with the role of operators. Improving the priorities of the operators’ work is cited as the number one advantage of organisations using artificial intelligence. In fact, 71% of operators consider artificial intelligence as useful for their work.

Fourth trend: customer service teams are catching up with the first digital customers

The average customer uses 10 different channels to communicate with companies and expects a coherent and contextualized experience in each of them. A shift to digital touchpoints has therefore occurred. While telephone and email are adopted universally by customers and organizations providing assistance, customers are in advance on other channels.

The planned implementation of digital service channels such as online communities, mobile apps and mobile messaging platforms (WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger) is high, but the support teams are still largely behind. Today’s customers are, on average, 16 percentage points more likely to use a specific channel to communicate with a company if the latter offers assistance on that channel. This means that there is a huge gap between what the customer wants and what organizations are offering.

The gap is wide when it comes to emerging service channels. For example, personal voice-controlled assistants such as Siri and Alexa, so there is a gap of 34 percentage points between consumer adoption of these channels and customer service staff, or even mobile apps for which this gap is

This information allows you to understand why only 48% of operators feel equipped to interact with customers on any channel they choose.

Fifth trend: the staff working in the furniture is the face of the brand

The fifth trend that emerged from the report is that customer service has not only become digital, but has also moved outside the office boundaries. Today, field assistance is a major initiative for service leaders in all sectors that try to bring customer experience to a new level. But in addition to making customers happy, field assistance is having a big impact even at a higher level. The 80% of the leaders in customer service say that field assistance generates significant revenue and 79% argue that it generates new revenue flows.

Almost nine out of ten customer service managers claim that the experience a customer has with an operator operating in the furniture is a reflection of their brand. 71% therefore claim to make significant investments in the workforce operating in mobile, both through technology and through new recruitment.

However, just as in the overall experience of operators, the experience of those operating in mobile is inconsistent in terms of company performance: almost twice as many mobile operators have insufficient performance and claim to have to switch from multiple screens to obtain the necessary information compared to their peers in the

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