What We Have Today
All the way from traveling several miles to the storefronts to raise complaints to today’s seamless and simple customer service experiences, indeed we have come a long way. Indeed the journey shows how evolving the customer experience history has been. From 8:00am to 4-5pm for five days in a week all the way to the multichannel 24/7 support, the customer experience has grown tremendously. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have connected businesses with their customers more than ever. Companies are working around the corner to leverage any available and upcoming technological inventions with their customer care & support systems in a move to raise their custom support standards.
Research shows that more than 70% of consumers have more than two channels via which they can raise customer-related issues. Mobile apps now constitute the modern breed of technology. Companies no longer have to invest millions of dollars to enhance their customer relations. Technology has taken care of that. Consumers can access information, make inquiries, make orders, pay for products and much more from their mobile devices. The business world has gotten over the history being greatly focused on enhancing the customer experience more than ever. The changes are so radical and unexpected but then, we still have to be prepared for whatever the future holds.
What to Expect Tomorrow
As technology becomes integrated into almost everything that we do in our lives, it is pretty tough to predict what tomorrow has in store for us. However, with the internet things, we can be sure that the future is proactive and we expect the customer experience to get more personalized. Businesses are booming and sectors we thought would never surface in the market are gradually finding their way into our lives. The world is, therefore, getting very competitive and every single person is looking for survival means. In a nutshell, it is expected that companies will do whatever it takes to retain and grow their customer base.
History of Customer Care Experience
Customer care is a preexisting experience that has a long journey of history. It started hundreds of years ago when you had to visit a store physically to sort out any issue with your product. From travelling several miles to using mobile apps shows that indeed customer service support has come a long way.
Where did it all begin from?
Customer care experience has always preexisted among us. It started back in history in 3000 B.C when the industrial revolution was kicking off. In the process of trading people realize that customer support was important.
The phases of customer care historical evolution
Pre-telephone: There were no means of communication. People had to travel physically to meet traders in order to resolve conflicts.
1876: Telephone – Alexander Graham Bell’s invents the telephone. Traders find a means of communicating with one another.
1894 Telephone Switchboard – The manual switchboard is invented and it enables the establishment of calls between users. Communication that was only restricted to few users now expands to anyone within the network.
1960 Private Automated Business Exchange – PABX becomes prominent. They are similar to what we refer to today as call centers
1967 Toll-free numbers – The AT&T introduces toll-free numbers and this eliminates the need for operators. This streamlines communication.
1970 Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – The technology of utilizing digitized speeches on computers is invented. This reduces the gap between companies and their customers.
1989 Call Center Outsourcing – Outsourcing customer care departments becomes a standard practice. Most companies follow the suit in a move to lower operation costs.
1965 CTSS Mail program – The Compatible Time Sharing System is invented allowing users to exchange information using a technology that is similar to a file directory.
1991 Internet – The World Wide Web gives customer care history a new shape. Online chats, instant messaging and emails become prominent. It is a complete breakthrough for the world.
2000 Customer Experience Software – Customer service standards are raised by this software that makes the customer experience more personalized.
2008 Social media – Facebook, Twitter and blogging platform become advent presenting a new way through which companies connect with their customers.
2014 Mobile Apps – The world goes mobile and the customer support gets more revolutionized than ever. Customers have more control over brands and companies must look for ways through which they can improve their customer support standards or risk losing everything.
Major inventions that contributed to customer care & service evolution
The following inventions acted as stepping stones in customer support history & evolution:
- The 1876 Telephone Invention by Alexander Graham bell’s brought an end to the pre-telephone era when people had to travel miles to store owners to settle out their issues.
- The scale concept transformed the trade terms and people became more conscious in their daily transactions
- The Invention of the Automatic Telephone Exchange in 1888 by Almon Strowger eliminated the need of operators.
- IVR invention in 1970d digitalized the way communication took place between companies and their customers.
- Heron Alexandria introduces the self-service using his first vending machine
- The Mail order catalog system invented by Sears and Roebuck enabled traders to order and finally receive the goods they needed.
- Companies merge their software technology and forms Customer Relation Management (CRM) software with Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle being the major players of the time.
Pioneers In the journey of customer care development
There are a number of companies and countries that we can always look into as an inspiration in customer service. These include:
- Amazon – This marketing platform has the most-valued historical lessons than any forward-thinking company. The customer services offered here are exclusive and go far beyond the industry standards.
- J.R Watkins Company – Joseph Watkins showed the world the exact essence of doing business with humility and humbleness. It was the first company to offer money-back-guarantee.
- Zendesk – A success-proven customer support platform that helps companies raise their customer experience standards through use of modern software.
- The H.M.S Agamemnon Atlantic Cable – This crew left an enduring vision for the corporate world by undertaking an immense project even though it never came to completion.
- Belgium, Norway and New Zealand – These are the top countries that offer the best customer experience in the entire globe.
People worth mentioning in customer care history &evolution
The following legends made a big mark in customer care evolution:
- Nanni, the ancient Babylonian – He was the first person to document a customer complaint in 1750 B.C.
- The Pine and Gilmore published the book “Experience the Economy” that led to major changes in the way companies perceived customer support
- Janet, the director of customer service in Starbucks – She dedicated her life by introducing and implementing the best long-term strategies for customer service.
- Clarence Saunders the proprietor – He introduced the concept of self-service with his Piggly-Wiggly stores
Current Trends and What to Expect
What we have today
The world has gone mobile, customer care software have been integrated into modern telecommunication technology. What we have today is a multichannel seamless and exclusive customer experience where everybody has a say. Companies are careful not to disappoint customers as they have great control over their brands. You don’t need to go through anybody or wait for you to file customer complaints, make orders, pay for goods or make any inquiries.
Well, we know the history - what to expect tomorrow?
The future is not unpredictable but proactive. We may expect that customer support may take another route and get more personalized. Customers are expected to have more control in branding.
Visit the section of Customer Experience courses to learn more.