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The re-invention of customer service

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Companies looking to leverage the advantages of advanced analytics and omni-channel communication require a deeper understanding of the customer journey.
That’s the latest word on customer service from Quinton Pienaar, CEO of Agilitude a Salesforce.com and customer engagement evangelist, who adds: “There is a general lack of understanding of a customer’s journey.  This is exasperated by not having a proper understanding of each customer interaction point or the various ways to connect to a customer’s emotion within each stage.”
Another area that businesses may be falling short on delivering exceptional customer service is by not identifying the experience enhancers and detractors along the customer journey, making it all the more challenging to protect against the detractors, or find ways to focus on the enhancers.
While today’s omni-channel landscape can be a complex one to navigate, Pienaar notes that integrating the various channels into a single platform that enables agents to respond to customers on the channel of their choice, while not requiring the agent to switch between applications is key to providing support.
“It is also important that a brand offers the same service level across all channels,” he adds. “Too often customers make use of social channels rather than traditional as they know they will get a response because of the public nature.”
More than ever before it is critical that companies offer the same consistent SLA and message across any channel while also providing the means for agents to effectively respond to customers irrespective of where the request originates.
“Customer engagement is no longer an inside out, efficiency driven practice, but rather an outside in customer journey driven discipline. Customer interactions, processes and activities are put in place with the customer profile and needs in mind and how best to serve them,” says Pienaar.
As the focus of customer engagement continues to shift, Pienaar believes tools like predictive analytics will better enable service teams to anticipate customer needs more easily and accurately. The added benefit of reporting and KPI’s also allow service agents and management to monitor and improve customer service aspects and identify ways to improve them. “When integrated with a platform that allows you to create tasks, events and the ability to collaborate with your larger service team, it can significantly improve customer service.”
In identifying current trends in customer service-driven analytics Pienaar notes that a visual, real-time and shareable system that allows for predictive analytics with triggers to kick off events when certain KPI’s are met not met will continue to become a key strategic imperative