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Customer service is poised for an AI revolution ZDNet

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If you're anything like me (or millions of other everyday consumers), you may be surprised to contact customer service only to be prompted with a litany of questions about who you are and what you're issue is. If I dial a service line, I've been conditioned to expect a friendly voice -- real or not -- that recognizes my phone number and asks if I'm calling about a recent transaction. What's more, I expect a similar experience if I connect over a myriad other digital touchpoints. Such is the level of sophistication we as customers now hold as standard, and the impacts on customer service are nothing short of transformational. A solid majority of consumers and business buyers (62 percent) now expect companies to anticipate their needs.


COVID-19 has significantly accelerated service transformation

ZDNet

For the fourth edition of its "State of Service" report, Salesforce Research surveyed over 7,000 global customer service professionals to determine changing service standards in the midst of crisis, what new strategies, tactics, and technologies service organizations are turning to in the new normal, how service organizations are navigating abrupt changes in their work environment, and finally the impact and trajectory of field service during a time of social distancing. Here is the executive summary of the report's findings: Most every organization has been thrust into the future of work. What will determine failure or success in this brave new world? Every business is a digital business -- an important lesson in 2020. Seventy-seven percent of service agents say their company views them as customer advocates.


The pandemic is a watershed moment for digital transformation in customer service

ZDNet

This TechRepublic Premium ebook compiles the latest on cancelled conferences, cybersecurity attacks, remote work tips, and the impact this pandemic is having on the tech industry. Salesforce has published the fourth edition of its State of Service report, based on a survey of over 7,000 customer service agents, decision-makers, dispatchers, and mobile workers across 33 countries. The report covers a wide range of topics including the shift to digital channels, remote work, and field operations. What interested me the most, however, are findings on how the pandemic has accelerated the transformation of customer service from a necessary cost center to a strategic asset -- and the implications that have for digital transformation. As agents are called on to act as strategic advisors to customers with complex issues, automation of the more routine processes that once defined the role is on the rise. That, combined with a clearer understanding of the role artificial intelligence (AI) will play in the years to come, hints at exciting things to come.


Necessary evil no more, customer service emerges as a key profit driver - SiliconANGLE

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Sales has long been the biggest priority for many organizations, while customer service took a backseat, treated as a necessary evil and given limited resources. But a new report from Salesforce.com Inc.'s research division suggests that mindset is changing, as companies realize that increased investments in customer service, aided by new technologies, can help to boost their bottom lines. Salesforce's second annual "State of Service" report, released Jan. 5, quizzed more than 2,600 customer service staff from across the world to find out how smart technologies are impacting service protocols and how service leaders are responding to heightened customer demands. The report found that a growing number of organizations now see service as the primary vehicle to improve the customer experience as the balance of power shifts from sellers to buyers. These days, customer service is seen as a competitive differentiator that resonates across organizational lines, rather than a costly but necessary function.


New metrics are redefining customer service success

ZDNet

Life is a series of progressions. Take the transition from student to professional, for example. In school, our objective is to learn the fundamentals of a subject. When we start our careers, we aim to apply what we've learned. As we gain seniority, we seek to hone our expertise and carve our niches.