Customer Service Optimization in Post-COVID-19 Business Environment

This is the material dedicated to customer service and the uprising trends that appeared after the pandemic unraveled.

We are going to discuss the ways modern companies renewed their customer satisfaction policies during the year 2020 and try to forecast which trends are here to stay in 2021 and beyond.

Also, we’d like to give you a hint or to on how custom software development company like ourselves could help with 

The key focus of service optimization is to make customers happy by satisfying their individual requirements as well as improving individual employee productivity whose collective impact on service performance will emerge at a greater level. 

Aims to improve a service process that involves close interaction between customer and provider that carries human factors and greater uncertainties in comparison to a manufacturing process. 

Let’s observe the major trends highlighted by the big consultant firm PwC on the topic.

Major Trends Driving Business Environment

The German division of global consulting firm PwC has conducted research on customer strategy implications in the post-coronavirus environment.

The consultants highlight the fact that adapting to the differences the pandemic has brought to the ecosystem is the key to improving market position and getting a competitive advantage over others amidst a possible crisis in your industry.

Source: flickr.com

Here are the trends:

De-Globalization

One of the things COVID-19 demonstrated at full strength is the disadvantages of globalization. Most of the companies suffered hard from their supply chain disruptions during 2020. 

You could have noticed it even by getting your new annual iPhone in November/December instead of the usual September.

Production locations of all kinds of companies had to be changed. This is especially relevant for the companies in the retail industry, but just about any company that has customers, had to find switches and shifts from the usual order of things they’re organized.

Remote is the New Normal

Firefighters and medical workers are the only professionals that are experiencing difficulties. Well, general practitioners have just installed Zoom for telemedicine, so the latter ones are no longer in the category that is reluctant to the remote work.

Jokes aside, representatives of different professions and industries have recognized what is it to work remotely. From Jimmy Kimmel who interviewed hs guests from home for the most part of the year to the IT companies workers like ourselves that make and release our products not from the usual office spaces, but via computers connected to our office machines – we are remote.

It is vital to find keys to remote interaction between companies and their customers while the pandemics are alive and kicking. As this communication has changed during the year 2020, there are all kinds of signs, the shift in the interaction might become permanent.

Companies need to adapt to the new remote ways of communication with their customers, or, literally, die. This brings us to the next point

Flexibility is More Important than Ever

COVID-19 environment challenged most of the companies in a never-before-seen manner and those who managed to adapt saved (and even increased) their profits. 

One of the most important factors is pulling up margins from the reserves that were untouched to extract extra benefits. Whether it was a faster switch to remote work, implementing a new staffing model (like outsourcing), or changing the supplier for a better prepared one, those who were flexible enough to do that faster and better than competitors, are now prevailing.

Digitalization and Processes Automation

To be fair, the demand for turning digital and automating the processes was here long before the Wuhan virus came along. 

It intensifies at the moment. Companies have to show greater efficiency and gain larger control over internal processes to be investing in automation, eCommerce, and innovative software.

Consolidation Market

Acquisitions of smaller companies by the bigger ones have always been a part of the business landscape. Amidst the economic crisis, the number of such acquisitions, alongside 

Brad Pitt’s character in “Moneyball” wasn’t a great news carrier. He never hesitated to tell the player that didn’t fit his organization, that baseballer is benched, traded, or cut.

In today’s business world, “Moneyball” is its landscape, Brad Pitt is the punishing hand of the crisis, and the unfitting players are those who suffered from market consolidation.

Sorry for the metaphor from the movie that has been released 9 years ago.

Price Volatility

We remember that this article is dedicated mostly to customer service optimization, and volatile prices aren’t helping too much in increasing customer loyalty, or general satisfaction levels.

However, to remain relevant in the world where supply and demand chains change in a faster-than-usual manner, companies need to be more willing to frequently change the price for their production.

These are just the conditions of the market.

Focus on Core Competencies

Good at everything = good at nothing. Specialty is the key. Many companies have to shrink certain operations.

It is vital to realize your best margins and concentrate on developing them, leaving aside the ones that drag you behind. Focus on your core competencies.

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Now, after we’ve figured the general trends that drive modern businesses in 2020 and beyond, we can speculate on how impeccable customer service could be achieved.

Customer Service Optimization: Omni-Channel Strategies, Digitalization, and Automation

PwC suggests the longer the crisis lasts, the more relevant are the factors from the previous section.

Obviously, any action steps that could be made on following those trends, remain very industry-specific. However, there are general levers that could affect your company climbing to the top amidst the crisis.

They are:

  • Developing customer strategy
  • Focusing on sales and eCommerce
  • Delivering impeccable customer service
  • Mastering pricing

The blog post is dedicated to customer service, and here is what companies could do in that direction (and how software development companies like Elinext could help with that).

Source: corporatefinanceinstitute.com

Develop Omni-channel Service Strategy

Service is the key to the customer’s heart and, most importantly, wallet. Companies that adapt existing strategies are alive and well, but they hardly exceed customers’ expectations, and, therefore, doomed for the lack of success.

Realizing what part of the customer journey could be improved with better service is crucial. The technology offers great potential for value-based service differentiation with a focus on automation of most activities. 

Omni-channel strategy with fast reaction to the improving underperforming channels is great for balancing cost-optimization and quality.

Also, it is hardly possible to implement without the next point in the program.

Digitalize and Automate Service Processes

As customer volumes increase, companies start to search the ways to automize their processes to satisfy bigger numbers of clients.

A large British contact center was focused on the automatization of their processes and decided to turn to tech to find ways to help them. They contacted Elinext with a request to build an emotion detection software that could recognize emotions in speech.

That way, call-center operators and their management could:

  • automatically detect the emotions of callers and then act accordingly
  • to know when it is time to substitute a tired operator by detecting and evaluating their emotions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) came to help with the analysis of communication with the customers and led to the eventual improvement of customer satisfaction levels.

As automation was implemented here, it is also important to mention digitalization. The increase in the number of digital channels customers could reach your company has a very positive impact on your relationships. 

Whether it is a new chat, mobile app, messaging service, or other ways of contact, they all contribute. Not an ad, but these channels could be easily delivered by an outsource software development company, like Elinext.

If you’re looking for new ways to optimize your customer services, our analysts will give you advice on how to do that if you contact us.

Summary

Physical contact centers are becoming something old-fashioned and to be reduced by 30-40% by the end of 2021 (according to PwC forecast). 

The companies have to apply new standards for the quality of customer service and the channels of its delivery in the new business landscape shaped by COVID-19.

One of the ways of reaching a great level of customer service is outsourcing it entirely. It is a pretty hard way to follow. Partnering with tech companies to receive an omnichannel of communicating with customers seems much more favorable

Anyhow, it causes zero doubts that customer service optimization remains one of the top priorities, maybe even more than before the crisis caused by the pandemic.

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