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Industry Perspectives: Customer Service Takes a Turn – Is this a Trend or Simply a Misstep?

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This week’s Industry Perspectives comes from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which last week reported that online shopping satisfaction is at a 12-year low. Specifically, online shopping satisfaction dropped 4.9 percent to 78, the lowest score since 2001.

But the drop can’t be too much of a surprise given the customer service nightmare that UPS and FedEx experienced this past holiday season. An influx of last-minute online shopping, paired with weather-induced shipping delays, resulted in many, many unhappy customers.

David VanAmburg, director of ACSI argued this incident was the root of the customer dissatisfaction. “People expect a great experience when they shop online. This time it didn’t happen and it became a splash of cold water in the face. But I think this is more of a glitch or a blip rather than a long-term trend that there’s something wrong with online retail.”

Either way, this index report and infamous holiday season blunder are bound to have lasting impacts on the customer service industry as a whole. We believe three factors will be key to preventing history from repeating itself.

1. Understand that expectations of American consumers are simply higher than they used to be

2. Break down the barriers that silo customer data so that you can understand customer expectations based on their behaviors

3. Harness big data and predictive analytics to anticipate customer behaviors, expectations and intents so you can meet their needs in a timely fashion and keep them happy.

How do you think the American Customer Satisfaction Index will shape industry trends for 2014? Is big data the secret to customer service success? And are there any other underlying issues that are causing this dissatisfaction?

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