Money & Business

Customer Service Trends to Watch in 2013

By / Jan 10, 2013 (Creatas/Thinkstock)

Technology advances and personal engagement are likely to influence how companies will enhance the customer experience this year, according to a new forecast.

Looking to improve your organization’s customer service this year? Temkin Group—a market research and consulting firm—recently released its forecast of the top customer experience trends in 2013. Here’s a sampling from Temkin’s list of 13 trends to watch:

Technology changes. The predictions reflect innovations in technology, such as the importance of big data, the availability of more mobile product offerings, and the rise of more customized customer experiences through the use of cloud-based software.

Focus on employee engagement. Getting employees motivated to serve customers better is an idea some associations have already incorporated. During a recent call campaign to reinstate lapsed members, the Society for Public Health Education rewarded individual staff members each time a former member returned. The effort helped excite staff and ultimately led to better member engagement.

Better customer contact centers. More organizations will view customer contact centers as places to build better customer experience and value. Temkin Group reported that companies will focus less on “handle-time” and productivity metrics and more on agent training and coaching.

The California Dental Association is already focusing on the value of its costumer contact center, which is handled by a member concierge, who calls every new member (about 1,000 a year) to welcome him or her to the organization. Concierge Terry Fong follows up with each new member via personalized emails listing various benefits CDA has to offer.

CDA Director of Member Programs Connor McNulty told Associations Now that Fong’s personal touch with members leads to valuable insight about the association’s membership.

“Terry comes into our meetings sometimes and we’re sitting around making assumptions, and she says, ‘You know what, I had six calls last week from this area of LA, and, guess what, our assumptions may not be right,'” McNulty said. “It’s nice to have that insight.”

Other trends reported by Temkin include a decline in the use of surveys to gauge customer feedback, tying customer service to core organizational values, and better anticipation of customers’ needs.

What tips do you have for better customer service in 2013?

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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