10 Ways Service and Support Will Change by 2020

Published at: 02/14/2017
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What will service and support be like in 2020? How will businesses in the near future leverage new technologies and trends to provide better service?

Predicting the future isn’t easy. But by analyzing trends in service and support, and looking at how organizations leverage or plan to adopt new technologies in the next few years, you can get a good idea of what service will look in the near future.

Modern communications are changing the way that businesses and people connect. Today, users prefer to communicate using mobile and dynamic channels.

Old-style phone calls and email exchanges are being replaced with live video interactions, social collaboration, and anywhere/anytime access. However, the support offered by many organizations still lives in the past. Often, old-school support and service processes aren’t mobile friendly, take too long to reach resolution, and can’t be accessed by users remotely (especially users with mobile devices).

As support evolves and begins to utilize live interactions (including the ability for support staff to see what end-users are seeing and walk them through issues in real time), businesses with old support processes will be left behind.

But that’s the way that service and support works (or doesn’t work) at many organizations. You can’t reach the future of support if you’re stuck in the past. Customers who need to fix a problem may have to do one or more or all of the following:

  • complete an online form with limited options
  • get on a phone call and wait (while listening to messages like “your business is important to us, please hold”)
  • participate in a long email chain with support personnel

Even in the best of situations, this process can be a frustrating experience where resolution isn’t guaranteed.

This frustration increases for savvy users accustomed to mobile tools and services that can be accessed anywhere and anytime. These social and collaborative tools offer transparency into what’s happening, including real-time interactions and video. With these kinds of users, a traditional support process can lead to low satisfaction and potentially a lost customer.

So what does a smart organization do when users and customers say their systems are archaic? They embrace the technologies and processes that can build a service and support infrastructure that’s primed for the future. In organizations enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT), everything is connected, creating new capabilities and increased data awareness.

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The move to a mobile-first world has already happened, and it’s likely that vital communications and work are already conducted on smartphones and tablets. Today, business gets done in real time and at all times, and collaboration has become more reliant on the visual benefits of video. As IoT and intelligent systems become more common over the next few years, there will be even more proactive support systems and self-service. In the next few years, service and support will become more automated, mobile, real-time, social, and visual.

Here are 10 ways that service and support will be changing by 2020:

1) Mobile-First Service and Support

With a mobile-first world, users will request and receive support anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Support systems will be optimized to accept and handle requests in a mobile-optimized manner.

2) Next-Generation Mobile

New types of mobile devices will become increasingly important. Wearables such as watches, visual glass displays similar to Google Glass, next-generation smartphones and tablets, and contextual systems where users carry their identity with them for use on any available computing interface. Service and support systems will evolve to meet the unique requirements needed to service these mobile channels. These devices will provide even more visibility into what’s happening, with alerts and data on performance, disruptions, and failures.

3) Really Real-Time Service

For modern and future tech users, “wait” isn’t a nice word. These users expect real-time service and support, with service systems and personnel providing instant responses to issues and working to reach a resolution as fast as possible, with little effort and disruption to their activities.

4) Fully Transparent Support

Outdated support practices with limited feedback and information to end-users will be mostly extinct by 2020. Modern users expect to have full transparency into the status of their support issue, and expect to receive constant feedback from service and support systems and personnel.

5) Truly Collaborative Service and Support

No longer will it be possible for service and support staff to ignore users or customers seeking support. Emerging systems will require a fully collaborative process where users and support personnel work together to resolve issues. Customers and end-users understand there will be failures and downtime – they just want assurances that resolution will be quick, visible, and efficient.

6) Socially Enabled Support

Modern users spend time on social networks and with social tools. Modern support systems will interoperate with these social and collaborative tools smoothly, and utilize these capabilities to offer real-time and collaborative support.

7) Video-Enabled Support

In service and support, “seeing” means “understanding what’s happening”. With video tools optimized for service, support personnel will be able to leverage visual interaction to improve the quality of support.

8) Mobile Video

Modern mobile devices can shoot high-quality video. Cutting-edge service and support systems will take advantage of these mobile video tools, allowing support personnel to see the products, devices, and systems that they’re supporting.

9) Automated, Zero-Touch Product Support

As software and IoT technologies evolve, end-users won’t have to request support when an issue occurs. These technologies will be able to automatically request support, apply patches or new firmware, and fix issues without user intervention.

10) Self-Healing Devices

Intelligent analytics in software and in IoT devices will be able to use advanced analytics and telemetry to detect a potential problem before it occurs and then initiate service and support.

New technologies, trends in mobile, and live interactions are transforming service and support. Organizations that are ready to leverage these technologies can speed support, achieve faster resolution, increase productivity, reduce costs, and keep customers happy.


1Source: Getting a Clear Picture of the Future of Support: 10 Ways Support Will Change in the Future. July 2015. Aberdeen Group, Inc.