Gleaning insights from over 2,600 customer service and business leaders worldwide, the “Second Annual State of Service” report examines how service teams are responding to heightened customer demands. All eyes are turned toward the customer experience. Today, it’s the defining line between companies that are struggling and those that are thriving. Service teams are well positioned to transform the customer experience.

Far from being a reactionary function, service is becoming a means of competitive differentiation — a way to proactively enhance customers’ experiences. And customers themselves are saying their brand loyalty is heavily influenced by the quality of service they receive. How are customer service teams worldwide adapting to fit the ever-changing definition of excellence?

Here’s a quick overview of key findings from the customer service industry research.

1) Service Teams Say They're Forging the Customer Experience
Delivering an exceptional customer experience requires a unified front across the entire company. In this new dynamic, service teams not only respond to customers' requests, but increasingly function as additional sales channels and brand ambassadors. More than two-thirds (68%) of service teams say they are leading customer experience initiatives across the business. [CLICK TO TWEET]

2) Companies Are Boosting Their Investment in Agent Success
Leading service teams are equipped not only with the right technology and tools at their disposal — they’re set up for success with training and a single view of the customer. High performers are nearly twice as likely (1.7x) as underperformers to agree their customer service agents have decision-making power to provide personalized solutions for customers[CLICK TO TWEET]

3) New Success Metrics Are Emerging for Service Teams

Service is transitioning away from its position as a necessary cost center. In today's customer-centric business landscape, service's role has been elevated to one of an additional growth engine, generating new sales opportunities and improved brand experiences. Seventy percent of service teams say their strategic vision over the last 12–18 months has become more focused on creating deeper customer relationships[CLICK TO TWEET]

4) The Rise of Smart Tech Is Ushering in New Ways to Connect
While using technology to be more human in service interactions may sound counterintuitive, that’s exactly the direction that forward-thinking teams are headed. To meet evolving customer expectations, service teams are doubling down on their use of smart tech. High performers are 3.9x more likely than underperformers to say predictive intelligence will have a transformational impact on their customer service by 2020[CLICK TO TWEET]

For more research on the current state of service, and to discover the habits of top customer service teams, download the full report.