The importance of a good customer service is hard to underestimate, especially now when customer centricity is becoming more of a deal with each day. Growing demands and new challenges require companies to overthink their approach to providing customer service. That is why it is important to keep up to date with all the emerging trends in this industry.
What is it that companies can do in the upcoming year to ensure their customers’ satisfaction? Take a look at these 5 trends of 2020 that might help you with improving the way you provide customer experience.
In this article, we'll cover:
1. Increasing Customers’ Expectations
Years ago customers were satisfied with just getting decent products or services for fair pricing, however, these times are long gone and now customers are becoming more and more demanding with their expectations.
These days they want to receive a personalized approach, being called by their name and to be able to choose the type of support channel that is the most convenient to them. Considering how many options customers now have to choose from – businesses are putting all their efforts out there to retain them by all means possible.
What is it that you could do to ensure that your company is keeping up with this ‘arms race’ in the customer support industry? According to Forbes, modern customers are mainly expecting the following:
- 30% of customers expect you to be aware of their previous interactions with the help desk;
- 27% want to receive a follow-up email making sure that their expectations were met;
- 20% of customers expect to be called by their name;
- 15% of customers assume that the customer support consultant is aware of their purchase history;
- 80% of customers that switched to another brand said that they could have been retained if their issue had been resolved on their first contact with the company. Yet, first-contact resolution satisfaction has only increased from 41% to 45% since 2009.
The key moment here is that most customers expect to be treated like individuals and value a personalized approach above everything.
With the increasing tech-savviness and the expectation of immediacy, customers are more likely to look for a quick solution in a help center. Research shows that a great deal of customers prefer to solve their problems by themselves, without turning to customer support representatives.
Knowledge base-powered self-service tools and chatbots are able to give customers the immediate answer they expect while also requiring less human resources. It is important though that you let your customers know that they can always ask live agents for help in case they fail to find the information themselves.
Self-service isn’t beneficial for customers only, it can bring great value to businesses as well as it allows some significant cost reduction. By using self-service, companies now can help a larger number of customers by paying less for the customer support representatives. At the same, time agents can focus more on resolving complicated cases and avoid escalation of the tickets.
Knowledge bases and chatbots can in most cases successfully manage and resolve Tier 1 queries, however, in such a case you’d need to find new roles for those agents that were previously handling such tickets. One of the solutions could be to invest in their training and eventually promote these agents to the Tier 2 of customer support. You could also use your already existing Tier 2 support agents as mentors for those, who are about to undergo the training.
3. Artificial Intelligence
AI buzz might have gone down lately, however, the latest developments keep creating new use cases for customer support departments. Typically, AI is being used in customer support for the following reasons:
- Intelligent ticket prioritization. By having AI-driven prioritization for your tickets you’ll be able to handle requests even faster. You can choose the main criteria for prioritization yourself, be it customer category, or the ticket’s information.
- Auto-tagging. This is a great way to instantly get a clue of what your customer is talking about without even opening the ticket. You can do that by using certain customized keywords or just color tags. Using auto-tagging will also help you with writing your reports, as you’ll be able to clearly see how tickets group into categories according to their tags.
- Machine learning reply suggestions. A great deal of the agent’s reply time is being taken by finding the right answer to the customer’s problem. AI can significantly reduce that by analyzing your support desk’s previous questions and answers, recognizing trends and using them to build frequent answers to speed up your agents’ performance. From now on they will have a few pre-written answers to choose from that can be helpful.
- Speech-to-text transcription. It can be an incredibly helpful feature when you are trying to evaluate your agents’ performance during the QA process. Now your QA specialists can quickly get to the point of the issue by reading a short summary of the conversation instead of listening to the 10+ minutes of the recording.
- On-the-fly translation. Instant translation can be a useful addition to your team of multilingual customer support representatives. No matter how great they are at their support language, unless they are native speakers – they might want to use some additional tool to double-check their responses. It can also be a temporary solution for cases when you don’t have a person who speaks a particular language on your team.
4. Omnichannel Support
Winning customers’ loyalty is every business’s first priority now. Omnichannel customer support is something that could easily help you with that as it is one of the few direct ways for any company to communicate with its customers. By using this approach you’ll be able to easily meet and even exceed your customers’ expectations as it allows seamless communication through various customer support channels as well as the following:
- Your customers get to choose the most preferable customer support channel. There are plenty of options for customers to reach your support desk, and they want to be able to use them all depending on how convenient it is for them at a particular moment.
- Your agents are performing more effectively. Agents don’t have to spend much time on reviewing the whole history of the conversation through different channels – all the data is being automatically gathered into one thread. This way the ticket can be successfully resolved even by two different agents.
- It increases customer retention. Implementing omnichannel customer support is a great way of showing them that you care about them and value their opinion and comfort above everything. When customers see that kind of attitude they are far more likely to stay with you.
5. Video Emails
Using videos in customer support is a relatively new practice that is slowly but surely gaining huge popularity due to its many advantages. In fact, there are a few other reasons for you to use videos in this industry.
Customer support agents receive plenty of similar tickets on a daily basis, and, depending on the industry, the explanation process for such cases might be quite time-consuming and heavy to catch. By creating a set of instructional videos for the most typical problems you might save your customers some time and present the solution in the easiest way possible for them to perceive.
Creating personalized video messages for your customers is a sure way to win their loyalty and show that you are ready to go the extra mile for them. By sending a personalized video tutorial, it’s possible to take customer support to a whole new level and create that sought-after wow effect.
Just narrow down the most typical problems your customers are facing and record short tutorial videos. This way you will be able to significantly save their time and give them a feeling of accomplishment by letting them solve their problems by themselves.
So…What’s Next for Customer Service?
The biggest question everyone’s concerned about these days is whether the customer support industry will become fully captured by the machinery? I wouldn’t say so. Sure, there will be a lot of automation, chat bots, AI-driven tools… However, human support representatives will always be in demand.
You see, the customer support industry relies heavily on human interactions and there will hardly ever be a machine that will be able to successfully mimic that. I’d say that the only thing that machines will outgrow people at is the speed of tasks execution. Other than that, human agents will always remain in high demand.
Daria Leshchenko is Partner at SupportYourApp — Support as a Service company with a focus on the tech industry. Taking charge of SupportYourApp at the age of 21, Daria turned it into a multinational business and one of the TOP-3 customer support providers. Today SupportYourApp has 3 offices in Kyiv with 900 people on a team and 150 clients from around the world. Daria graduated from MIM business school, the Aspen Institute Kyiv and is a Harvard Kennedy School alumna. She is also in Top 30 under 30 list by KyivPost and #1 on the list of Top 50 Entrepreneurs in Ukraine by MC.Today. In 2021 Daria was recognized as the Woman of the Year in Customer Service by the Stevie Awards. Daria is a startup mentor, a public speaker, art and sports enthusiast.Posted on