Addison Guest Blogger - Ashley Verrill

August 2013

Addison Group is excited to welcome our first guest blogger to our website! Ashley Verrill is a marketing analyst for Software Advice, which provides reviews on HR software, among other applications. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has been featured or cited in Inc., Forbes, Business Insider, GigaOM, CIO.com, Yahoo News, the Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal, among others. She also produces original research-based reports and video content with industry experts and thought leaders.

 

New opportunities to emerge in the customer service team of the future. Are you ready?

As companies imagine building the customer service organization of the future, the roles they need to hire for will be very different than what we think about today - someone sitting at a computer with a headset, answering phone calls all day.

This is due primarily to a continuing shift in the way customers prefer to reach out to companies for support. Think about the last time you actually used your phone to call someone (or at least that ratio to the number of times you text or chat). In today's instant gratification-obsessed world, customers increasingly head online first to find answers.

What does this mean for current and future jobseekers? There are new opportunities on the horizon, and now is the time to garner those skills. Here are four skills I see becoming more important now, and in the future.

Content Development and Strategy
Many times, when customers have a question, they don't even go to the company's website. They just type the question into Google. For this reason, companies will need content strategists to make sure that there are blogs, community articles, and FAQ pages that have answers to every possible question a customer could ask. This also takes someone who knows how to analyze site traffic to identify which articles attract the most visitors, so they can develop more content around those popular topics.

Social Management & Optimization
Social media is no longer a channel for simply venting. Many customers now expect a response. In fact, about 47 percent of social media users have ventured to Facebook, Twitter, and other channels for customer service (59 percent for 18-to 24-year-olds). Of those, about 71 percent would recommend a brand that responds effectively. ** For this reason, companies will need social customer service managers with actual community management experience. This person needs to know when to respond, as well as what interactions would be good to repurpose for marketing.

Mobile App Development & Natural Language Processing
An increasing amount of website navigation happens on smart phones and other mobile devices. This makes typing cumbersome, so companies are investing more and more in mobile customer service applications that leverage voice command. This requires sophisticated algorithms that can process natural language, and understand the intent behind the question, regardless of how it's asked. While most companies will deploy off¬-the-shelf or open-source NLP technology, they might need an expert in-house to make configurations to the technology so it fits their specific use cases and content.

In addition to NLP talent that can make sure that voice commands actually retrieve what the customer asked for, companies might need someone with a mobile app development background to design the interface. These would need to be constantly adjusted based on how customers use them.

Virtual Call Center Management
The increase of digital communication has also impacted the customer service department in another way - with technology delivered over the internet, customer service agents can more easily work remotely. But running a remote based team can be difficult. Companies will need a person to decide when and how to interact with the remote workforce, monitor their performance, and adjust the size of the team as needed.

These are just a few of the potential skills experts see emerging in the future. What changes do you see? What's missing from this list?

** source: http://www.slideshare.net/NMIncite/state-of-social-customer-service-2012