In its report on expected customer experience trends by 2020, customer experience consulting firm Walker claims that the overall service experience will, in fact, outweigh price and product as a company’s sole key differentiator.

Tech effect. Yet customer service, like any other aspect of business, has changed dramatically, with technology expanding interactions across multiple channels: web, mobile, social media, in addition to traditional means. Maintaining accessibility and prompt, thorough, and high-touch service at all touchpoints can be challenging.

According to Gartner, in the next two years, customers will maintain 85% of their relationship with a company without ever interacting with a human.

Given all this technology, how do you deliver a level of customer service so that the outcome is successful? What it means is that service and technology should complement each other in your delivery of service. The two should not be considered detached or interchangeable with one another.

More often than not, advances in technology can help improve the many facets of service; however, it is important to remember these advances should not be an excuse to delegate communication with your clients to technology.

It all goes back to basic communication: set clear expectations; clarify and verify those commitments; confirm delivery and assess quality; and coming full circle back to the customer, confirm their expectations were met or surpassed. If you are delivering a service, it is essential to offer a clear path to assistance, maintain your availability, be responsive, be committed and follow through.

Service first. Focusing on delivering the best customer experience has been a theme throughout my career. Whether it was managing a call center or leading teams at one of the world’s largest telecom companies, the first and last topics we trained people on was how to offer our clients the best possible service.

Now, as CEO and co-founder of iWorkGlobal, a provider of workforce management solutions operating in more than 165 countries and all 50 U.S. states, my team and I still focus on the mantra: “Service must be in all that we do.”

Best Practices

A catalog that embodies excellence for all roles across all industries.

  1. A mastery of fact and emotion, with practiced skills in caring, empathy, creativity, and most of all, listening and hearing.
  2. Being empowered to do the right thing.
  3. Leading and following with service, acting proactively and reactively with regular check-ins and consistent messaging.
  4. Taking the high road. Mistakes happen. Recovery should be transparent, gracious and appropriate. Be patient and understanding until the kettle cools.
  5. Accountability without blame. No projecting. No giving excuses.
  6. About how we treat one another in all we do.
  7. Transcending work and encompassing our entire lives.
  8. Automatically taking the extra step.
  9. Volunteering.
  10. Hearing the unspoken.
  11. Listening with focus.
  12. Asking questions to understand and express concern.
  13. A genuine, informed attitude of “How can I help?; I can help; I want to help; Let me help.”
  14. A proven, earned reputation.
  15. Making yourself available; it’s more than an open door — it’s an open attitude.