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2016 Customer Service Trends: The Rise of Service Talent

“If you wonder what getting and keeping the right employees has to do with getting and keeping the right customers, the answer is everything.” – Fred Reichheld, Author, Business Strategist

A new year brings resolutions to change or improve in ways that matter, and for brands and organizations, customer service is always a key focus.

To inspire customer service improvement in 2016, Microsoft has published ten customer service trends to watch this year, and for The Service Council’s Chief Customer Officer Sumair Dutta, a top trend is the hiring, development and retention of service talent: employees who have the ability to make service and the customer experience a differentiator of the brand or organization.

Here’s Dutta’s guest post on this 2016 trend to watch:

“I sincerely believe that leaders of organizations who are serious about service are going to start focusing on developing talent plans for service and support in 2016. I don’t think that this endeavor will be completed in 2016, but those who have bought in to the importance of service will look to:

1. Understand the shortcomings of the current service workforce.

2. Identify training strategies and tools to better support the current workforce.

3. Develop knowledge strategies to retain the insight and information of the top performing workforce.

4. Build recruitment and training plans to develop the next service workforce.

Even in a world of increased automation and outsourcing, service talent is vital to success. The organizations that understand this are effectively blending service models (remote, self-service, assisted service) models to ensure that customers have to expend the least amount of effort when there is no human contact required, and subsequently, receive the best amount of guidance when human interaction is needed.”

Why Will This Have an Impact in 2016?

“A focus on service talent in 2016 will be impactful because the demands for service and support continue to increase. Most organizations The Service Council poll see a greater strain on their current service resources as businesses continue to diversify and expand to uncover new revenue streams. In addition to ensuring coverage for service requests, organizations would also like to differentiate via the service experience that is delivered, which is substantially impacted by talent.”

What Can Organizations Do Today to Begin Improving Service?

“In addition to focusing on talent strategy in 2016, organizations can start improving service today by developing a clearer understanding of what customers value and what priority customers place on different value outcomes. A clearer understanding of value will provide a map as to where organizations need to be excellent and where they can afford to be simply okay. As Harvard Business School professor and bestselling Uncommon Service author Frances Frei notes, ‘Service excellence can be defined as what a business chooses not to do well.’”


By Tricia Morris


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