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We’re almost at the end of 2015 and it’s been yet another year of great changes in the customer service space. As is customary, I bring you a two blog posts looking back at the key trends that have influenced customer care executives and another post predicting new trends that we expect to play a key role in 2016.

So, let’s take a look at how companies have been trying to optimize their channel mix and, specifically, how they have tried to implement social media and mobile-enabled channels this year.

  • Omni-Channel: This term became rather commonplace back in 2013 when companies were encouraged to change their approach from multi-channel to omni-channel. Indeed, over the past three years Aberdeen has published numerous reports on the topic (as an example, see this report on omni-channel contact centers). The big difference today is that customer service departments are no longer focused on learning what omni-channel is or how it helps the business. Rather, the conversations we have with many firms center around the effective implementation of omni-channel capabilities. Our newly published report on omni-channel customer care examines this in detail.
  • Mobile: By now, everyone should understand that “mobile” doesn’t refer to an individual channel. Rather it refers to devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets) that enable companies to interact with customers across multiple channels such as text messaging, websites, apps, and video. We’ve seen companies steadily increase their focus on mobile-enabled channels over the past three years. In fact, Aberdeen’s research on customer engagement revealed that mobile-enabled channels ranked at the top of the list of channels companies were planning to adopt in support of their CEM activities in 2015.
  • Social Customer Care: As noted in a report on social customer care we published in August, social media is no longer an emerging channel for customer service. In fact, adoption of social media grew more than four-fold between 2010 and 2015, with the adoption rate reaching 62% this year. And still more companies plan to leverage social media as a customer service channel in the future. Nevertheless, companies continue to struggle when it comes to determining the right strategy for incorporating social media into their customer service activities. As it turns out, companies that adopt social media without a well-designed strategy actually perform worse than those that don’t use it at all. Read the report cited above to learn where those companies are falling behind, and how successful companies maximize the benefits of social customer care programs.

Now that you’re up-to-date on our research findings regarding how companies strove to design the ideal channel mix in 2015, stay tuned for our next post in which we’ll describe the trends, such as customer journey management, that are influencing customer care executives as they look ahead to 2016!

Image Source (Creative Commons): Alon.

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