Top 10 Customer Service Trends for 2012


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The customer service industry landscape is rapidly changing and becoming more competitive.

Here are 10 important customer service trends to help with your strategy in 2012.

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Top 10 Customer Service Trends for 2012

  1. 1. Top 10 Customer ServiceTrends for 2012Predictions on how the customer serviceindustry will evolve in the year ahead.March 20121. MobileCustomers are doing more with their mobile phones than ever before. There are more than 5.9billion mobile subscribers today, over 87% of the world’s population. The convenience andavailability of mobile devices, combined with integration into Twitter and Facebook is generating ahuge demand for mobile services.Businesses are responding to this demand by providing mobile customers with an array of serviceoptions. Telus’ Mobile Customer Self Service™ offering is just one example of this trend that weforecast will continue to grow exponentially.2. Social MediaSocial media is changing the customer service industry. It is easier than ever for customers tocomplain about a company and have their voices heard by millions through social media channelssuch as Twitter, Yelp, and Facebook. Surprisingly, only 29% of Twitter complaints were respondedto by companies, despite the fact that 83% of complainants liked it when the offending companyresponds.This shows that businesses are slower to adapt to emerging communication channels thanconsumers. More and more organizations are looking to establish effective customer service onsocial media channels, a trend we expect to continue. This is transforming avenues such as Twitterfrom one-way customer-venting channels into two-way customer service resolution channels.© 2012 Fonolo. All rights reserved. 1
  2. 2. 3. Community-Based ServiceOnline customer communities such as message boards are a win-win for both companies and theircustomers. The combined number of support personnel (customers) and their knowledge is usuallymore than what a business can offer. Customers get their issues resolved promptly by their peers,resulting in fast service. Businesses save a lot of money by having to hire fewer customer servicerepresentatives.The growing popularity of community support software providers such as Parature andGetSatisfaction are indicative of this trend. In fact, these companies now offer a joint solution thatoffer organizations the ability to reap more benefits from online community-powered support thanever before.4. The CloudCloud-based customer service offerings are gaining more consideration from industryprofessionals. According to Kate Leggett at Forrester Research, “In 2012, many first-time customerservice technology buyers will look first at a SaaS solution to see if this approach can meet theirneeds.”Gartner Research predicts that at least 75% of customer-focused call centers will use a form of thecloud in their call centers in 2013. The cost savings and ease of management provided by the cloudare the primary reason for its growth.5. Customer FeedbackThe best way for companies to improve service is to ask their customers how. Customer feedbackchannels continue to grow at an astounding rate and include YouTube, Twitter, Facebook,, and GripeVine, just to name a few. The ability to collect and analyze feedbackacross all of these channels becomes a powerful source of information for the companies that areable to implement this strategy.Unfortunately, customers adopt these channels much faster than businesses, so we can expect anongoing game of cat and mouse to occur. Best-in-class providers will be able to aggregate andanalyze customer feedback across diverse channels and use them to both empower their agents andtake appropriate action to improve the quality of their service. The proliferation of new socialmedia channels has made it much more difficult for businesses to collect and make sense of thisdata.© 2012 Fonolo. All rights reserved. 2
  3. 3. 6. InsourcingMany North American organizations have outsourced their customer service operations overseasover the past few decades. Why? To cut costs. This has caused the quality of service to suffer,leading to customer churn. It has also angered North American customers who view outsourcingwhat used to be American jobs as borderline traitorous, especially with the economic situation theyare in.We foresee this trend reversing for two reasons. Firstly, companies are feeling the negative impactoutsourcing has on their customer service. While they’re able to cut costs, the quality of customerservice takes a nosedive. Acquiring new customers to replace those lost from poor service is acostly and daunting endeavor.For example, in December 2011, as a result of an agreement with its unions, US Airways announcedit is bringing 400 customer service jobs previously outsourced to Manila back to centers in NorthCarolina. AT&T recently decided to bring back 5,000 customer service jobs back to the U.S as aresult of its merger with T-Mobile.Furthermore, in an effort to encourage insourcing, an anti-outsourcing bill targeting call centerswas recently introduced in congress. This trend should be a win for customers, the economy, andbusinesses who implement it correctly.7. Voice of Customer (VOC)More companies are implementing VOC programs for their proven ability to positively impact thecustomer experience. Companies collect feedback to help them make improvements across theirorganization. The growth in VOC is driven by its benefits such as better customer loyalty andretention.Despite the increased adoption of VOC, many organizations are still not reaping its full value.Aligning the right people and processes for maximum impact remains a challenge. Taking action onthe customer feedback that is collected is another hurdle most companies face. As the VOC trendincreases, getting it right remains a challenge.© 2012 Fonolo. All rights reserved. 3
  4. 4. 8. VideoWe predict video will be increasingly used to provide customer service and support in 2012. Withapproximately 70% of global online consumers watching online video, consumers have analternative way to stay informed.A well put-together video makes information easier and faster to understand and share. This is whypeople first flock to video tutorials before reading a manual, asking help on forums, or reaching outto an agent. Video as a cost-effective channel successfully empowers customers to resolve their ownissues, ultimately deflecting calls from the call center.9. Self-ServiceSelf-service channels continue to increase in popularity because they provide 24/7 service to thecustomer and deflect calls from more costly channels such as the call center. With immediateproblem resolution at their fingertips, consumers gravitate to self-service options. Not having toendure hold times or email response is an attractive feature to the consumer. It is a win-winsituation for both the organization and the customer, which is why self-service continues to grow.10. Knowledge ManagementKnowledge management has always been an important part of customer service. A well-designedsystem has the ability to create a better experience for both the agent and the customer. Breakingout of its silo tendencies, knowledge management is now integrating with a multitude of channelssuch as mobile and social media.Kate Leggett of Forrester Research states, “Knowledge management has been around for a longtime, but we’ve seen a real resurgence. It has to be deeply integrated into CRM to personalize theknowledge that gets presented to the agent. Case in point is there are few stand-alone knowledgemanagement solutions anymore.”This trend is confirmed by Duke Chung of Parature who says, “We will see increased requests forenhanced knowledge capabilities. Over the past 10 years, knowledge management was made publicon websites. I think now, companies are pushing that information out to other touch points,whether it’s in social or mobile, and we’re seeing a lot of opportunity to do that.”Companies are rightfully leveraging knowledge management across their channels because of thebenefits it provides them, their agents, and their customers.© 2012 Fonolo. All rights reserved. 4
  5. 5. Appendix: Introduction to FonoloThe frustrations are all too familiar: aggravating phone menus, waiting on hold, being transferredDo Customers Enjoy Calling Your Company?between agents, unnecessarily repeating information.Odds are that your call center is guilty of some of these flaws. They cost your company in two ways:the expense of longer calls, and the loss of goodwill from your customers.Yes! Fonolos cloud-based service adds a new visual dialing interface to your call center that livesLower Costs and Happier Callers with no Infrastructure Changes?on your website or mobile app.Our approach is a radical departure from anything youve seen before: No changes are required to your existing phone system. Delivers bottom-line results to your business in the form of cost reductions and gains in• customer goodwill.• Easy to set up a trial within days. Creates an improved experience and high level of satisfaction for customers via a browser• or smartphone.•Features Reduce zero-outs and get callers to the right Visual Dialing agent the first time. Replace hold-time with a call-back. Happier callers and lower telecom costs. Virtual Queuing Reduce handle times by collecting info from callers before the call. Pre-call Questions Improve the customer experience by getting caller feedback in real-time. Post-call Surveys Easily add intelligent calling to your existing mobile application. Smart-phone Ready Works with your existing infrastructure. Nothing to install. Zero Integration© 2012 Fonolo. All rights reserved. 5
  6. 6. About Fonolo Fonolos cloud-based call center solutions provide companies with visual dialing and virtual queuing services, improving customer satisfaction and lowering call center costs. Callers simply click on the phone menu option they want from the company’s website or mobile application, and Fonolo connects them to the right agent - every time. A growing list of organizations, including the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Sirius Satellite Radio Canada and VoIP Supply have discovered the value of using Fonolo to connect their call centers with their web sites. The privately-held Toronto- based company has received numerous awards, including "Best Contact Center Solution" from ITEXPO Conference, "50 Best Websites" from, "Best New Product" from Emerging Communications Conference, "Judges’ Choice" from GigaOm’s Mobilize Conference and "Top Telecom Idea" from Springwise. If your company is interested in using Fonolo, email us at For general inquiries, please email us at Learn more at© 2012 Fonolo. All rights reserved. 6