Forrester's Top Trends for 2016

John Krautzel
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Good customer service never goes out of style, no matter how much the trends for this aspect of your business change over the years. Treating your customers the right way leads to better brand loyalty, more repeat business and higher revenue because your company creates an emotional bond with people who buy your products or services.

Some trends for 2016 continue to advance customer service techniques that help consumers and clerks simultaneously. The two basic patterns that emerge include timeliness of service and customer data. How your company makes these facets easier is up to you, but you should pay attention to what happens with these five service-oriented modules of your business in 2016.

1. Embrace Technology

Computer programs help the customer service process become even more efficient, and it all starts with software that integrates every aspect of helping your consumers. The same program can optimize your workforce to deal with customer issues, route the proper concerns to the correct department and manage your relationships with people who buy your stuff. This software consolidates service into one package, which makes it easier to alleviate customer frustration.

2. Connected Devices

Connected devices help turn your company into one that thrives on service. For example, products that use wireless connections automatically update themselves when a company sends that product a software update. This happens on laptops, smartphones and automobiles. The same thing can occur, thanks to the ever-growing Internet of Things, on many other devices such as medical monitors, toys, health trackers and kitchen appliances. Connected devices help automate customer service as data connects to your service modules.

3. Decision-Making Thanks to Analytics

Data collected from devices, online behavior and customer service calls leads to prescriptive decision-making techniques. Information may lead to better schedules for employees and technicians based on when customers may call in the future. Prescriptive advice may also lead customers to the most effective solution to their problem.

4. Field Service Call Management

Software should empower customers to make their own schedules for service calls. Better management of field service calls leads to better estimates of when a technician arrives in the home so customers know precisely when to expect someone. Instead of a four-hour service window, companies should narrow the gap so product owners don't have to wait for several hours for someone to arrive.

5. Self Service

One of the biggest trends for 2016 continues to include self service. This means consumers track down your FAQ pages, how-to videos, customer-based forums or online manuals to find the answers to troubleshooting problems and customer issues. Blog posts and YouTube videos are available at any time, even after a call center closes for the day. Virtual agents online and through mobile devices make access to information easier, and some devices may even have a knowledge base embedded in a product thanks to wireless connections.

Much like individual consumers, your company's customer service strategy should tailor itself to your business's needs. However, how you deal with customer interactions should include all of the above trends so your company keeps its revenue stream chugging forward in 2016.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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