The New Year is a great time to reflect on the successes and failures of the year. Maybe you muddled your way through 2018 and you’d like 2019 to be better planned and a little less out of control.
Well, the New Year’s a time for fresh thinking and opportunities, so get excited about how good 2019 is going to be! Once you’ve read this blog, you’ll be in a great place to figure out your new focus and start building your strategy for 2019.
Improve customer service
In 2019, one of the biggest continued trends will be customer service improvements. This is partly due to the rapidly evolving technologies we’re seeing. Artificial intelligence and machine learning offer new opportunities.
Use automation to make information more accessible and accurate, but don’t ignore the human factor. It’s relationships and networks of people that drive business, after all.
Make sure your customers can talk to you, and that you truly get to know them. Find new ways to connect and to strengthen existing connections, and offer multiple communication lines.
Cybersecurity and data use
There are four big trends for cybersecurity and data use in 2019:
- Blockchain technologies have massive potential for innovation and will improve everyday business efficiency and security.
- Big companies have been learning the hard way that ethics in programming are now a vital part of the process.
- As data science continues to evolve, the number of experts increases too. Expect more easy-to-use analytic tools, so that the information is more accessible to others.
- Edge computing will begin to rise. It’ll make the biggest impact on both performance and reliability, as every part of the business comes to rely on software and data.
Make sure you’re completely omnichannel
Customers increasingly have multiple touch points: a physical store, an e-commerce website, or the company’s own website.
To create and maintain an active presence in more than one place and make sure that the service is top-notch, you’ve got to have an integrated system. You need each part of the company to communicate in real time to keep everything running smoothly.
From the very first impression right through to the first sale, you need to get customers engaged. In 2019, omnichannel will be vital for providing the highest levels of customer service.
a first-quarter focus
Consider the big picture for 2019. What are your goals for the year, and what’s your plan to achieve those goals? Remember to break large tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks.
One powerful strategy is to map out a different focus for each quarter of the coming year. Combined together, each quarter’s goals are contributing to a different aspect of your overall target. Broken down, it gives you a shorter term focus that feels more real in the day-to-day.
Evaluate your partners
Just as your customers are constantly comparing you to your competitors, you should also take the opportunity to evaluate your partners or vendors. Shop around to be sure you’re happy with your vendors in key areas like payroll, office supplies, insurance, and professional services.
If a contract hasn’t changed terms in years, see if you can negotiate a better deal for this one, or lock-in current prices for an extended term. Perhaps you’ve got a big purchase coming up: don’t be afraid to ask for a discount.
Omnichannel and improvements in the data use and cybersecurity fields will support your customer service and business functions, but they’re not a replacement for real human relationships. Speaking of relationships, take the time to check that you’re not making do with stagnant deals from vendors.
Define a focus for each quarter of the year, and you’ll find it easier to progress towards your overarching goals. Remember that premium customer service should remain your front and centre focus, to make 2019 your best year yet.