Customer service is a dynamic industry. Year in and year out the competition becomes tougher such that you need to find a way to make your customer service stand out. Nowadays, delivering quality customer service is key to business success. According to the Global State of Customer Service study of Microsoft, 90% of customers use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to do or not to do business with a company.
So how important is customer service? According to the same study, 58% of customers will switch brands because of poor customer service. In order to provide the best quality customer service, you need to be aware of the different trends that will shape the industry in 2022 and beyond.
- Rise of Mobile Customer Service
- Omnichannel Support
- Increased Personalization
- Self-Service Options
- Agent Empowerment
- Video For Marketing and Customer Service
- Machine Learning & Human Support
- AI Support Chatbots
- Hybrid Workplaces
- Focus On Tools and Software
Let’s break down each trend
1. Rise of Mobile Customer Service
The adoption of mobile customer service has seen a huge increase over the years. In 2019, 65 percent of all ecommerce traffic and 53 percent of sales came from mobile devices. In the future, mobile devices would not just be used for purchasing but also for enhancing in-store experiences, checking product reviews, price comparisons, and research about product information.
For this reason, you need to make sure that your business is optimized for mobile to stay competitive in the industry. By doing so, you are increasing your chances of capturing the attention of mobile users. Aside from being mobile-centric, you also need to make sure that your mobile customer service should be accessible on all kinds of screens. If not, customers would just opt to navigate away or close your website altogether.
In addition, you should see to it that customers can also reach you through SMS messaging. This will enable target customers to reach you even if you are offline. Even in the age of instant messaging apps, texting is still one of the most popular modes of communication with over 4.2 billion people worldwide sending text messages. With mobile messaging, you will be able to achieve maximum value for your customers.
2. Omnichannel Support
It used to be that companies can be contacted in just two ways either through phone or fax. But nowadays, customers want to connect with agents from different channels– email, live chat, SMS, social media, and others. You need to be able to interact with customers on their preferred channel. But the goal of omnichannel is to provide a unified and seamless experience across all channels.
Customers are no longer after being able to communicate with companies when and where they are most convenient because they expect and demand it from your company. 15 years ago, customers typically used two touch-points in purchasing items. Now, an average customer will use almost six touchpoints with nearly half using four on a regular basis.
To be effective with omnichannel support, you need to make sure that you know where your customers are most active. If it’s Facebook or email, then focus your time and energy on those channels. 63% of customers expect companies to offer social media support and 35 percent prefer other channels. So ensure that you include social strategies in your customer service for better customer engagement.
3. Increased Personalization
These days, people are now looking for a more personalized online experience and in fact are willing to pay more to get it. 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal. In addition, 80% of consumers say they are likely to shop with brands that provide personalized experiences. Thus, you should not underestimate the power of a personalized customer experience.
Personalization can help improve your customer service because they demand it now more than ever. Offering personalized service is a step further than marketing as you are able to get to know your customer and their interaction history after contacting support. By personalizing customer service, you show customers that you value them.
Examples of personalized customer service include recommending relevant products during checkout, sending notifications during cart abandonment before checkout, sending emails celebrating milestones and special events like birthdays. The more you get to know your customers, the better you can personalize interactions with them.
4. Self-Service Options
Over the years, a self-service option has become a growing preference by customers. According to a study, 73% of customers were in favor of self-service technology in improving their shopping experience. With self-service, customers are able to solve problems on their own. Nowadays, when a customer has an issue, they no longer pick up the phone or call up customer support but seek answers themselves.
Self-service provides customers with faster solutions that they can find themselves at their own convenience. This will also work well to the advantage of your customer service team because they can have time to solve more complex or unique customer issues. With customers solving their problems themselves, your reps are freed from having to answer simple questions.
Implementing and integrating self-service is relatively easy. If you don’t offer the option yet, you can start with your website. You can build a knowledge base, training videos, and chatbots. In addition, you can add Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on your website. Just make sure that you continuously update the content of your FAQ.
5. Agent Empowerment
In the last few years, the focus of businesses was on improving the overall customer experience. As businesses start to realize and embrace this, they are now setting their sights on improving the agent experience this time around. Customer experience will be down if the agents don’t feel empowered. Research by McKinsey reveals that happy and engaged agents are 3.3x more likely to resolve customer issues.
Customers aspire for a human component to their experience and if that factor is absent, it can take its toll on your customer service experience. In fact, according to the 2020 National Customer Rage Study, one of the six most frustrating unmet customer expectations was how agents handled an interaction. By empowering your agents, every customer frustration can be resolved.
Empowerment allows agents to develop a sense of ownership and see value in each interaction. It gives them confidence, makes them happier, and is less robotic. It helps develop a positive mood which translates to better customer interactions. On your part, it gives you more confidence in doing business.
6. Video For Marketing And Customer Service
The use of video for marketing and customer service is on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the growth of video and is likely to continue in the coming years. A new report by Animoto revealed that 93% of marketers gained new customers through video. The report also revealed that businesses need to take a video-first approach when targeting audiences on social media.
Videos can help bridge the gap between online and offline experiences. Automotive companies have used videos for conducting showroom tours while furniture retailers use videos for remote assessment of damages and repairs. When properly leveraged, videos can provide a stable and effective platform for marketing and customer service.
Videos can add value to your business. It can be a powerful tool for educating your target audience about your products and services. More importantly, it can help showcase the best of your business to boost your leads. With video content, you can scale your business and increase your potential revenue.
7. Machine Learning & Human Support
In the digital age, machine learning is one of the fastest emerging trends that is expected to shape the future of customer service. As businesses brace for Big Data, 65% say they are planning to adopt machine learning to help them in decision making. The collaboration between machines and humans will become one of the biggest trends that will impact the future of customer service.
As many businesses are starting to adopt machine learning, there are fears that machines could eventually replace human workers. Yes, it has helped automate processes and alter the way things are done and who does it. However, machines are designed to augment and complement human capabilities and not replace them.
Customers do not mind dealing with a machine as long as their problems are resolved as quickly as possible. There are instances when human intervention is required. For example, if a customer is inquiring about bereavement benefits, a bot will not have the emotions to help the customer deal with a difficult situation.
8. AI Support Chatbots
Since 2016, chatbots have been touted as the next big thing in customer support. According to a study by CNBC, chatbots are projected to handle 75 – 90% of healthcare and banking queries by 2022. 68% of customers prefer chatbots because they provide quick answers. Aside from that, customers also appreciate the fact that bots could direct them to a human agent and help them outside of operating hours.
Powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, chatbots have become more powerful and more likely to eventually understand customers. AI support chatbots power round the clock self-service action. According to a CNBC report, chatbots can help curtail business costs by $8 billion by 2022.
AI support chatbots can help generate 35 – 40% response rates to as high as 80 – 90% which could be useful benchmarks for measuring your own metrics. The most important function of chatbots is that it can relieve the pressure off your support team since they do not have to answer basic questions over and over again.
9. Hybrid Workplaces
In the last few years, we have seen a growth in the adoption of a hybrid workplace. With this model, workers have the flexibility to work wherever they are most productive – whether from a remote location or in the office. This is attributed to the desire of people for more flexible roles that can provide them with a work-life balance. Hybrid work is utilized by 63% of high-growth companies.
Hybrid workplaces will increase the flexibility of agents as they can better respond to an emergency or high-volume situations. It will give employees the best of both remote work and office work as seen in Microsoft’s Work Trend Index. According to the study, 70% of employees want flexible work to continue and 65% go for more in-person time with their teams. For this reason, 66% of decision-makers are planning to redesign their physical spaces to pave the way for hybrid work environments.
Embracing the hybrid workplace model offers a wide range of benefits for customer service teams. It will pave the way for more empowered agents and allow them more autonomy in their respective roles. Hybrid workplaces will help customer support teams battle low productivity, boost employee experience, and drive up engagement.
10. Focus on Tools and Software
With the proper tools and software, your customer service can streamline conversations with customers. Having the right tools and software contributes to creating a positive customer experience. Using old-fashioned spreadsheets for tracking customer issues and responses can be cumbersome and disorganized.
By focusing on tools and software, handling of customer service issues will not only be organized but also categorized, scheduled, and well-managed. In addition, with the right tools, the customer can be routed to the right department or agent without the customer having to repeat themselves again. The right customer service software can be configured to route inquiries to the right team member.
More importantly, you can keep customer information in one place. Nothing can be more frustrating to a customer than being kept on hold for a long time just to look up for the customer details. According to an Accenture survey, being “kept on-hold” was the biggest frustration of a customer. Without the customer information, you may have to repeatedly ask questions to the customers which could add to the frustration.
Understanding these 10 customer service trends will help your customer service team improve on their delivery of effective customer service. If you haven’t adopted even one of these trends, you could be losing out to the competition.
Why Choose airisX For Your Customer Service Needs?
Companies come to us to optimize existing customer support channels and/or to leverage new ones. airisX focuses on incorporating existing processes into your desired channels, and helps you scale to other ones as your requirements grow.