Brands Must Listen To Improve Customer Service

Nearly 70% of consumers go to recommendation engines, Web sites, and social sites to complain about poor customer service. How do customers complain about poor service?

Thirty-nine percent of consumers spread the word to friends and family, and 12% write negative reviews about their experiences. Some 11% post negative reviews about the brand on their Facebook page. About 10% post negative comments about the brand in an online customer community, and another 10% say they post negative comments on the store, company, or manufacturer’s Facebook page.

The findings included in Forrester’s Trends 2016: The Future Of Customer Service report are from a study based on 4,462 U.S. online adults who make purchases from a brand they feel connected with.

The power of recommendations to improve or deteriorate a brand’s position in search engine query rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo show the power of the consumer, and how brands must focus on improving customer service to stay afloat in the age of the customer. It requires open channels of communication through technology and the ability to listen.

The top customer service trends in 2016 revolve around ease, effectiveness and emotion, according to a report from Forrester Research released Wednesday. Ease includes self-service interactions and customer service technology consolidation. Effectiveness encompasses processes, advice and preemptive services. Emotion focuses on proactive engagement and customer feedback.

And as a result of this customer-centric world, customer service technology will rank high on the list of investment priorities this year. Unfortunately, too many companies will continue to focus on internal measures forcing many to miss the mark.

Among the top 10 trends in 2016, Forrester predicts that 84% of online adults use self-service mobile apps and frequently asked questions to solve their problems during the last 12 months, companies will focus efforts on making self-service easier for customers.

Brands can strengthen the bond with consumers through feedback. Consumers are increasingly using self-service channels for customer service. In fact, 84% say they used a self-service mobile phone application or Help or FAQs on a company’s Web site in the past 12 months. Some 83% say they had a conversation with a customer service representative or agent via telephone, and 76% they got a response to an email sent to customer service.

Companies will explore emerging channels. The Internet of Things will transform companies and move to expand on product- and service-focused options, per Forrester. This is one way retail, airlines and other businesses will improve human-to-human interaction, providing better customer service.

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