Mr. Rahul Goel is the Senior Director, Market Engineering Centre, at Canon India Pvt. Ltd. He has been an integral part of the team and has played a key role in the growth of the brand in India. He has been a part of the Canon family since 1997 as Customer Support Engineer for Delhi Branch. He holds more than 25 years of experience in consumer durable industry. His leadership and management skills along with his sound knowledge in the consumer space with a diverse experience has made him an important part of the team at Canon India. Presently Mr. Rahul, oversees all India Service Operations of wide portfolio of Canon’s products, and is responsible for B2B & B2C Direct and Indirect Chanel Services, Training and Technical Support, Business Strategy Planning for Service and Spares parts, Internal Audits and Quality Management, Service network expansion, financial planning, Budgeting, and Pricing, Service process improvisation, Warranty Cost Planning and Analysis, Call centre operations and Quality Audits.
In the wake of ongoing unprecedented changes and challenges, the way brands and consumers interact with each other has undergone a major transformation. This has reflected the acceleration of anticipated trends, the emergence of new preferences, and a complete reversal of some long-held routines. The channels used to communicate have shifted dramatically, and customer expectations for fast, personalized support are higher than ever. Together, this mix is expected to continue to evolve and form the foundation of the next normal.
Of all the lessons businesses have learned in the past couple of years, keeping customers at the core of their business strategy and adopting digital technologies to adapt to these new changes remains of key importance. As the global pandemic transformed the way we live, the explosion of digital technologies and the new possibilities they have created have dramatically reshaped customer behaviours and expectations, and the pace of change is only increasing. Hence, it has become important for organizations to address, empathize, and understand all the touchpoints in which they interact with customers every day. Today, customers define their journey and connect to brands based on what is important to them. As customers segment themselves into groups that share common mindsets and goals, they look for brands that represent their values and proactively integrate them into all aspects of their lives.
Customers want speed and convenience, but they’re also seeking a commitment to the core issues that they care about. They want personalized service but prefer to do business with organizations that are upfront and transparent about their policies. Therefore, the customer service function must continue to develop and evolve. This means a better understanding of the customer and their history of interactions with the organization and optimizing all customer touchpoints, regardless of channel.
Let us look at customer service trends we expect to emerge or become increasingly important this year:
- Embracing digitization: The pandemic has further accelerated the digitization of customer and supply chain interactions. Today, technology has a differentiating role in aligning an organizations’ success during disruptions or transformations. Organizations must focus their efforts on building better digital-first interactions with customers. With the advancement in product design enabling a higher degree of automation such as e-Maintenance, customers can enjoy hassle-free service. To fulfil the customers’ need for 24×7 service availability, organizations can also consider using instant messaging services such as WhatsApp to give prompt responses for their queries/service requests.
- Technology for better operational efficiency: Along with this, mobile apps also provide better flexibility and seamless value-added services for customers. Another interesting tech support service that organizations are adopting is predictive maintenance, which embraces a proactive strategy that pre-empts when a machine might need any necessary software or hardware upgrades, to perform the maintenance tasks well in advance, thereby ensuring maximum uptime of the machine. This significantly improves operational efficiency by minimizing machine downtime and reducing the impact on daily business operations.
- Going contactless: For businesses that have historically relied on physical interactions with their customers are now adopting technologies and methods to go contactless/Reducing customer effort post the pandemic means addressing safety concerns which are now critical to brand loyalty. Brands must find new tools and technologies to help them provide contactless and effortless service that addresses customers’ safety concerns such as remote support, self-service, and limited tech visits with high safety measures. Hence, it becomes imperative for organizations to devise strategies to always ensure and drive customer delight. Additionally, remote support by engineers should also be factored in for customers to operate without delays even in challenging times.
- Omni-channel support: By streamlining customer information and messages across multiple channels, businesses can easily handle conversations across various customer support channels from one roof. Following the omnichannel customer service trend, companies can create a seamless customer experience and gain maximum customer satisfaction.
- Building meaningful connections through personalization – In this age of hyper individualization, people want to feel special and expect brands to respond to their individual needs. They want something unique to them and are craving a more meaningful connection with a brand. they lack time and are constantly bombarded with content, so they expect quick solutions. The challenge and opportunity for organizations are to know those exact moments when customers are looking for something specific and quickly offer them a customized solution.
Customer experience has remained the backbone of every business and continues to hold the same relevance even today. Aligning customer service and a brand is an essential way to attract and retain customers, differentiate the business, and boost brand loyalty. Good customer service is one of the key ingredients that impact business growth. As we transition to a service-driven economy where the lifetime value of customers is of primary importance, 2022 will see increasing investment in customer services designed to improve the overall customer experiences.