Diving into 2020, we can see a shift in the customer service industry. Companies are adopting a customer-centric focus and investing more resources into best practice customer support.
As a result, call centre agents are striving to be more personable with their callers. And managers are seeking to increase productivity and efficiency in their team. If these trends are surprising, or if your team isn’t exactly aligned with them, let us provide some helpful information to get you on the fast track to success.
Whether you’re a customer service agent yourself, a business owner or someone who manages a support team – you should be in the know about the biggest customer service trends this year.
Here’s what to keep an eye out for, and maybe even steal a couple of ideas from.
1. Stand Out From the Competition
To stand out from competitors, support teams have to run optimally. While traditionally sales and marketing were the only teams that strived to set the company apart from competitors. Now, that responsibility also falls on support. That’s because so much of customer acquisition and retention relies on how customers feel they’re treated by your company.
In fact, 62% of consumers switched companies last year due to poor customer service. Statistics like this have led businesses to focus on improving their quality of customer support. In other words, customer service has now become a large part of their brand’s marketing strategy.
2. Leverage Cloud-based Software
Leveraging cloud-based software is arguably the biggest and most popular trend we’ve seen in the support industry. Now, everything has shifted (or is in the process of shifting) to the cloud. This shift has genuinely transformed how agents provide customer support.
"With browser-based call centre software, agents will have all relevant information about a customer, before they even take or place a call."
Knowing exactly who is calling, what purchases they have made in the past, what issues they have had with those purchases… and exactly who they have spoken to from your company, is truly priceless information.
Having this information allows the agents to personalise (i.e., “Hello John. Are you calling about the XL Exeter t-shirt you recently purchased?”) and streamline (i.e. no more “Can you please tell me your invoice number, so I can look this up in our system?”) conversations.
The cloud can often lead to smoother and more efficient customer support. Which, is something that managers are always striving to improve. In addition to having more efficient support reps, cloud-based systems also make it easier for managers to acquire and analyse data. Consequently, they will more easily gauge how a support team is performing.
Most E-commerce stores take advantage of free Google Custom Analytics Reports, such as, those built into Shopify store features. But to really power up your online customer service and engagement, consider integrating Zendesk and Zoho Desk into your business.
3. Join the Mobile Movement
Today, mobile is everything. With the majority of consumers owning smartphones and tablets, mobile compatibility is a must. Customer service is starting to lean in the same direction. Shifting customer service to mobile can get a bit tricky though. Here are a few ways to make your support team more mobile-friendly:
- Offer help on a mobile-friendly platform. It may seem obvious, but many support pages are generally not optimised for mobile. Ensuring yours is, puts you one step ahead of your competition.
- Make the font larger. If you’re building a support or FAQ’s page, make the layout simple and the font larger. This will make it easier for someone to see on their smartphone. You also want to avoid placing buttons too close together (for those with clumsy finger syndrome).
- Use texts. Many companies have begun to use text messaging to provide customer support. In a society obsessed with text messaging, this approach makes sense. So just because your customers are communicating via text, doesn’t mean your reps can’t be responding from their computers for faster, cleaner service.
4. Leverage Social Media
Social media support is currently a big deal. This shift makes sense for business owners, as social media engagement is only set to grow.
How do teams use social media to provide support? They use Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to provide quick responses to customer complaints and inquiries. They can also announce technical updates and respond to support issues.
"Right now, roughly 70% of brands use social media for customer support."
As a result, here are just a few ways customer support teams can use social media to their advantage:
- Reach a larger audience. If you have a lot of customers voicing the same problem, social media is a great way to address it. You can reach a large number of your customers at once, and help your support strategy be more efficient.
- Social media is friendly. Marketers use social media to build their brand voice all the time. Why shouldn’t support teams jump on board as well? On social media, reps have the opportunity to build a more fun, playful, light-hearted personality. This positive mentality approach will likely rub off on the customer as they’re helped, leading to higher customer satisfaction rates.
- Fast response time. Social media often cuts wait times drastically. It allows reps to respond instantly, bringing more real time satisfaction to the customers and efficiency to your team.
- Monitor social media channels. Make customer satisfaction a priority and monitor social media channels. Disgruntled customers tend to freely voice reviews online, even when not invited.
5. Get Proactive
Have you ever been in the process of online shopping, or arrived at the checkout, and had a little box pop up asking you if you need help? That’s an example of proactive customer support.
Instead of waiting for the customer to encounter problems or come to the customer support reps, support teams are providing help by approaching the customers first. Which, contributes to higher customer satisfaction rates. While less than 30% of businesses use a proactive approach at this point, that number is set to grow dramatically in upcoming years, or even months.
Being proactive, is as easy as installing automated Live Chat applications on your website. Live chat software can also integrate with other messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and more. For a taste of the user experience, interact with Live Chat Inc or Userlike.
How do these Customer Service Trends help you?
In conclusion, customer support trends all have one thing in common: if used appropriately, they will guarantee higher customer satisfaction rates. Some of the strategies discussed above, tackle this goal directly, while others indirectly.
"The digital world is reshaping how we interact and offer customer support. You can either get-on-board to improve your business outcomes or be left behind!"
Are you looking for professional marketing services? Marketing Your Brand can help you define your Customer Service procedures and policies as part of our Marketing Services and 1-to-1 Marketing Coaching.