Do you have what it takes to bring your customer service to the next level?

To ensure your product or service will last and survive the challenges ahead, you don’t just need great customer service. You need to redefine great service so that it meets the demands of the future.

So now you’re probably thinking of creating new technologies, conceptualizing unique ideas or pioneering trends to boost customer service. While these are all part of it, redefining also means though that amid all the rapid changes, the fundamentals to superb service should remain—customers must feel valued and cared for. As an American Express Study in 2013 revealed, when it comes to customer service, it’s still all about appealing to your consumer’s emotions than logic.

What does this mean for you?  It means to take your customer service to the next level, you’ll need to find NEW ways to address these age-OLD essentials.

Ask yourself these 5 questions below to determine if you have what it takes to make this happen:

Do you have a backup plan?

In the olden days, products sell by addressing or creating a need. Now, smart consumers understand there are also some risks that come with purchasing new or unfamiliar products.

Redefining service means allowing your consumers who understand this need access to an alternative or backup to overcome any limitation of your product. This reduces any risk that comes with buying your product. It’s akin to providing warranties but also goes beyond this.

For example, some mobile companies allow prepaid users to call or send a text even without existing load in case of emergencies by “loaning” load to be “paid” upon the next reload.

Does your service keep up with technological advancement?

If you can Skype with your friend from miles away, then why not with your preferred hotel chain or bank?

Leveling up means going beyond emails or comment boxes. This can mean offering webcam-enabled face to face interaction with customer service representatives.

For example, in August of last year, Bank of America launched its Express Branch in New York, featuring ATM’s that allow live video chat with bank staff.

And you shouldn’t just limit the use of technology to answer customer questions or complaints. You can also take advantage of the latest technology available to provide real-time product demos or trials.

Do you deliver more than just goods?

With any product or service just one tap away from your PC, tablet or Smartphone, almost anything can be instantly delivered. But it’s not just about getting the goods delivered these days. It’s also creating add-on’s like what Volvo did when they developed an application that allows goods to be delivered to your car as a destination. Drivers can opt to have products delivered to their car when ordering online. Or how about the 15 minute guarantee among Pizza Hut branches? The pizza chain guarantees your pizza is delivered within 15 minutes, or it’s free.

Do you have 6th sense when it comes to your customers?

The old rule remains the same: Superior customer service includes anticipating what your customers need or want even before they express it. Following this classic rule now however has modern means to go about it, specifically with the ways you can collect consumer data. Nowadays, it’s easier more than ever to gather and analyze information about your consumers such as their buying preferences or histories.

Accordingly, customers will expect this real-time information to shape and improve the services they get.

For example, some users hope that the feedback they leave on sites like Trip Advisor should be maximized by hotels, resorts, and restaurants in profiling them and preparing them for their next visit. Things like providing a more personalized service with targeted campaigns and promotions can be offered as a result of increasingly accessible customer data.

While privacy is a debatable concern here, an IBM study conducted January this year showed that 36% of global consumers are willing to share their current location with retailers via GPS – almost double the number compared to 2013.

So you need to strike a balance between collecting personal information sensibly and maintaining privacy. Transparency on what you do with these data with your customers is crucial.

Do you encourage courtesy among your customers?

By next year, the future of customer service will be redefined to include realizing that other consumers have the greatest influence on customer experience, whether good or bad. This can mean having to encourage every consumer to do their share when it comes to building a positive atmosphere and ensuring processes run smoothly.

For example, certain airline companies have been known to give hotel vouchers to passengers willing to give up their earlier flight bookings to those who might need them more.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s certainly a good start to take your customer service to the next level. If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to all 5 questions, then you’re on your way to reshaping customer service into continually surprising customers while not losing sight of the basic essentials when serving them.