Jan 25, 2014

The Future of Customer Services

This semester I am going to have a subject called "International Trends in Tourism" (10 Ects). As we started analysing in class some if the trends in technology, demography, sustainability etc. I thought "And what about Services?". As I am really interested in this topic I searched for it in google. What I found completely surprised me! 

There was made a report on "Service 2020" by the Economist Intelligence Unit, comissioned and sponsored by BDO. The report is made on the basis of 479 business leaders views, from all around the globe. It talks about 8 Customer Service Megatrends that we can expect in 2020.

I will talk briefly about some facts that I found interesting. If it is going to be a trend, why not start developing this knowledge from now?



NOTE: If someone is interested in having the text from below in Spanish, let me know in the Comments Section and I will be more than happy to translate it. 

Nowadays businesses are focusing more on quality; in 2020, 55% of the businesses answered that their main focus is going to be Customer Service. Customer service specialists will be in demand, and 70% of the firms agreed that excellent customer service is a competitive differentiator for them in their industry. Premium products will be linked to premium service.

Ultimately Service is the only differentiator. (Jo Causon)
Another point to take in consideration in the future, is how to maintain service standards in face of the "need for speed". As the economy is so globalized (and will be even more), the companies should try to focus also on offering good services while trying to be fast. This might be a key challenge for everyone.

Internet and Social media has increased the transparency of the companies, and what would be an important factor is to try make of it an advantage and not a problem. As I could observe, there are already companies that are totally doing it. For example I like very much how Burger King España is dealing with it.

Megatrend number 4 says that "Companies must use new sources and types of data to rethink the way they track and personalise their service". Nowadays Social Media is acting as an addition suppliment to the existing data. And by 2020, majority of managers affirmed that they are going to increase research into client expectations.

The Trend I liked the most to read about (the first 4 were somehow predictible), is number 5: "Good employees will remain fundamental to good service but with technology as an enabler." I was asking myself, if the life is so digitalized now, and there are so many people that were fired because some technology can replace them, what is going to happen with customer services? Well, more than 400 businessmen affirm that customer services are still going to be very important, mainly because of the complexity of products and services in the future.

"The challenge for firms will lie in identifying where their customers will be happy to interact with technology and where they still expect the human touch."

Another trend says that there are going to be more "outsourced" aspects of custoemr services. The same company will have 3 options: to have its own department of customer services (in-house), to delegate this responsibility to another company, or offer its services to an external partner. The last option is going to be a trend in 2020. Also, the experts told that it is very probable that in the future the firms are going to involve its customers into developing the products and services.

"What you need now are experts who can bring skills that firms don´t have". (Dr. Nicola Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist, BT)

These were the basic trends discussed, a little bit predictible and somehow seen even now in some of the companies. In conclusion, the question that interested me, is what is going to happen to people who are studying Customer Services, the answer simple - you will still have your job, but you should be damn good at it! The companies are going to need you as a valuable department which will be the number one differenciator among competitors.

I recommend you to glance over this document, as there are a lot more explained, some interesting examples (for example how is Accor embracing transparency) and a lot of charts with professional´s answers.

You can see it and download HERE.
NOTE: If someone is interested in having the text from above in Spanish, let me know in the Comments Section and I will be more than happy to translate it.

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