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Navigating Customer Service Transformation with Technology:

Insights from the Salesforce State of Service Report



With social distancing and lockdown dictating the terms, the spotlight was firmly on customer service last year as case volumes from anxious customers shot up. But high performing teams pivoted on technology to provide personalised service led by empathy.

Building on lessons learnt during the pandemic, companies will look to hyper-personalise service at scale in 2021. As organisations realign service as a strategic contributor to business goals, technology will play a key role in this continued transformation.


“We’re going to see significantly more agile, innovative, and relevant organisations emerge from this crisis that provides modern and sought-after experiences that change the game for everyone” BRIAN SOLIS | GLOBAL INNOVATION EVANGELIST AT SALESFORCE

Our Fourth Edition of the State of Service Report surveyed full-time customer service professionals during the pandemic to determine how they reconsider the future of their people, process, and technology. The report generated 7,095 responses across 33 countries, of which 300 came out of India. Here are some identified emerging trends that will define this transformation in customer service in 2021 and beyond:


Re-defining engagement with connected service

Changing customer expectations and a shift in engagement standards have increased the significance of connected service. Customers today look for a seamless, personalised experience. They do not want to engage with multiple departments/representatives and repeat the same information. A connected service, which shares goals and metrics across sales, marketing, and e-commerce, helps agents provide consistent information.

Re-prioritising KPIs & building empathy

While customer-centricity continues to be the most critical parameter, service organisations have re-prioritised KPIs to reflect the shift in customer expectations. Customer Effort Score (CES) is now part of the critical metrics to assess service performance. CES determines how easy it is for customers to interact with service professionals and find a resolution. Organisations with low-effort score will be able to drive successful customer retention in 2021 and beyond.



Not surprisingly, service agents are now considered brand ambassadors and their role extends to add more strategic value for the organisation. Besides product and complete customer knowledge, an agent’s empathy in handling customer grievances, and flexibility in accommodating customer requests will lay the foundation of excellent service. Consider GEP, a leading procurement and supply chain solutions provider, which leveraged Salesforce Service Cloud to enable its service team to operate with a customer-first attitude even while working from home during the pandemic. The team succeeded in servicing the most complex requests during the crisis, bringing down the case resolution time by 23% and improving the SLAs by 5%.


Moving ahead with agility, automation & AI

Recent disruptions tested service organisations' agility to deliver without compromising on quality, speed, or customer satisfaction. Most organisations agree that managing case volumes and complex customer demands became even more challenging during the pandemic. By automating repetitive, manual tasks, businesses enabled service agents to focus on complex issues. A case in point is SpiceJet, a leading budget carrier in India, that integrated a chatbot with the web and mobile sites, and WhatsApp. The chatbot now automates and handles 65% of customer queries across all channels, reducing the cases generated via email by 61%. New technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are helping companies to harness data and gain customer insights for delivering intelligent and personalised engagements.




Extending digital support to field service

Field service continues to shine with a considerable number of customers still preferring in-person support. Service decision-makers agree that field service plays a crucial role in their organisations, and they are making significant technology investments to empower their field service teams. Digital adoptions in field operations will continue to enhance virtual and remote assistance to improve customer experience.


For detailed insights on how service organisations around the world have responded to the pandemic and how the different industries can prepare for this change, download the Fourth Edition State of Service Report.


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