The future of customer service is already here. Laptops silently report impending performance issues, triggering a remote fix before the user even realizes there might be a problem. Vehicles send proactive maintenance notifications and communicate directly with manufacturers to speed up repair response when a problem occurs. The next horizon is for customer service to be completely customized to each individual: when a customer calls a contact center, the agent can pull up a profile detailing the customer’s every interaction with the company, from previous service calls to payment schedules to marketing segmentation.
Such personalized service can be compared to the “white-glove service” long associated with high-value customers and transactions. Characterized by attention to detail, convenience, speed, and emotional fulfillment, this high standard of service offers solutions, products, and services that are tailored to each customer’s specific and unique needs. It is central to a customer-first mindset and made possible by the availability of data and advanced analytics to track a customer’s individual journey in real time.
Yet very few organizations are providing this level of service today. There are two primary reasons for this. First, many believe it to be prohibitively expensive. Second, building a comprehensive customer profile requires a high level of cross-departmental visibility, which in turn necessitates enablers such as organizational structure changes and IT investments. To offer high-touch service to everyone, customer service can no longer be an isolated department; it must be tied into every business unit that interacts with the customer, including sales, marketing, product design, collections, and the front line.
The good news is that white-glove services offer a high return on investment. In fact, they present an opportunity for significant cost savings because they accelerate the resolution of contact center issues (or prevent issues altogether) and deepen customer trust and loyalty, thereby supporting retention and tailored cross-selling. And, while such services require technology investments and shifts in organizational structure, these investments and shifts will soon become mandatory as companies compete to meet customer expectations. All functions will benefit from the enterprise-wide visibility required to build comprehensive profiles of individual customers.
The modern reality: White-glove service is both inevitable and economical
Modern customers increasingly expect highly personalized service. Providing such service offers several benefits to the organization: