I recently had the great honor of being included in an e-book of 10 Customer Service Trends to Watch in 2016, sponsored by Microsoft Dynamics. I have shared my thoughts of the importance of social media in Customer Service below. You can get the entire e-book free, which features other amazing folks from different areas of the Customer Service industry here.

What customer service technology, trend or focus do you believe will have a significant impact in improving customer service in 2016 or beyond?

Customer service will continue to see increased demand and growth in digital channels, especially social media and self-service via mobile apps.

Why do you believe this will have a significant impact?

Mobile continues to evolve and improve in so many ways. Bandwidth is getting larger, smartphones are getting bigger, and tablets continue to outpace laptops in innovation and execution. With the Internet of Things and wearable devices, the demand and growth becomes nearly undeniable. Customers increasingly want support to be on-demand. Social media networks provide that asynchronous support with a human touch, while self- help apps and forums provide information on the go.

What is one of the most important things most brands or organizations can do right now to improve customer service?

Aside from planning for more channels or developing the ones that already exist,

In most cases, it is cheaper to retain a customer by providing excellent support when needed than it is to acquire one with traditional marketing.

Granted, it takes some digging into metrics and statistics to prove this, which is another spend that most leaders might not want to do, but it is true. It is time to start spending money on the people that talk to your customers the most. That’s not going to be an advertising agency or your marketing department or vendor; it’s the front line customer service representatives. That doesn’t mean spend more on training, but it can mean upgrading internal systems or processes. It also means it’s important to spend more time with those agents to let them know how important they are to the company at large.