4 trends Impacting Digital Customer Care in 2018

Julian Rio, CMO of Dimelo, a Silver Sponsor at CEW2018 talks about important trends in Digital Customer Care.

CEW2018 is one of the world’s premier customer success events. It draws thought leaders and industry giants to it’s international conferences.

Companies are making use of digitisation more and more across all industries, and customer care is no exception. Companies are adapting their strategies to be available on more channels, increase their reactivity and efficiency in seamless customer care journeys. To do so, they have to take into account the major changes that occured in 2017, many of which will accelerate in the coming months.

1.            Messaging is becoming the new Customer Care Norm

The growing  and continuing trend for 2018, is around consumers who are progressively moving away from traditional channels, such as calls and text messages in favor of messaging. Messenger and WhatsApp, used by 1.2 billion and 1.3 billion users worldwide, respectively are 2of the most popular messaging apps.

Companies understand that when consumers change their habits for personal usage, expectations towards brands are evolving at the same time. To answer this need, many companies have already integrated this technology in their customer care strategy, and ‘offer to be contacted’ on messaging channels.

Considering its growing importance, 2018 will be the year of messaging for large companies. Those which do not adopt it, will soon do so to be available for their customers and to stay ahead of their competitors.

2.            Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence will Keep Growing

As was  the trend in 2017, chatbots will remain an important component in customer care strategies. Having aroused high hopes and a fear they will replace humans, companies and users are becoming aware of chatbots’ limitations and real potential. With their ability to simplify everyone’s lives, chatbots are able to qualify enquiries, solve simple issues and collect information. In this way, companies can save time and create a more complete context to solving problems.

Several large companies have already started to launch their chatbots, but always with an important level of caution. To do so, they dedicate a bot on a channel for a specific issue. In addition, their self-learning nature opens future perspectives for  improvement. This includes taking into account new issues, and covers an extended perimeter as a chatbot learns.

Yet, chatbots are always integrated into a process with a human. In any case, chatbots connect to a Digital Customer Interaction platform to hand over the conversation to an agent when it’s unable to answer a question. This approach has a double advantage: it saves an agent’s time and allows them to dedicate time to tasks with greater added value.

The major trends, though, are multichannel chatbots. So far, companies who have tested their bots on only one channel, will be able to launch the same chatbot on several channels at once (messaging, chat, app, etc…) to benefit from its knowledge and evolution through all digital customer care channels.

3.            The 360° view will become easier with the CRM and DCIP integration

The third 2018 trend is the CRM/Digital Customer Interactions Platform (DCIP) integration. We are observing a growing interest for a “360° customer view”, which enables a company to know everything about a customer: his/her history, journey, past issues, transactions, contact information, etc…

What may have seemed impossible, in the past (which software could offer such a complete customer view?) is now a reality. The integration between a CRM (which contains all transactional and personal data) and a DCIP (which contains all data related to conversation and virtual identities) provides a perfect customer view and offers agents a better understanding of a customer’s needs.

4.            GAFA will Launch new Messaging Channels

GAFA (Google Apple Facebook Amazon) have announced their objectives and roadmaps which all converge towards a clear idea: messaging is the future of customer care.

By switching from 140 characters to 280, Twitter has given companies more space to answer their customers. As a customer care pioneer with Messenger for several years now, Facebook has announced its ambition for WhatsApp with WhatsApp for Business.

Google launched a beta messaging option within Google My Business, allowing a conversation with customers via their local page, and it plans to revolutionize text messages (born in 1992) with the launch of RCS. This format will offer a messaging experience without the constraints of being linked to a specific provider. At the same time, Amazon is launching Anytime to compete with its peers, and Apple plans to develop iMessage for Business in 2018.

Major players in the international market are confirming that messaging will become the (near) future of customer care.

There is no doubt that 2018 will be the year of Digital Customer Care, as statistics have shown over the last several years. Phone use is decreasing, new generations prefer using new digital channels and all companies are heading towards an omni-channel customer care approach.

Their reflections will be around data management in different customer care channels. Companies will analyse the relevance of launching proprietary channels, via web chat or messaging in their applications.

Cross channel plans will keep on evolving based on customers’ preferences, some changes closely monitored by companies. Some of them will encourage the transition from phone to digital.

In this context, voice channels will have to meet the omni-digital challenge. After breaking out with personal assistants, voice channels will be strongly challenged, and will need to manage this transition in order to have lasting value. These channels will also need to integrate into new customer care processes, in which switching channels seamlessly is a major issue.

Finally, now that chatbots do not inspire fear of massive job loss anymore, their future will depend on their integration into processes putting emotion and our shared humanity at the center of interactions.

As many companies evolve and grow, it seems 2018, could become the year of digital maturity for many businesses.

Author: Julien Rio, CMO at Dimelo


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