Customer service has gone a long way, and it doesn’t look like it’s turning back in any way. Decades ago, we have seen companies engage their customers through switchboards and physical stores, followed by customer service outsourcing and online shopping services a few years later.
Then, about three to five years earlier, we started seeing businesses get serious in scaling up their customer support to be attuned with the web technology era. As technology became smarter, so did the customers. Excellent customer experience became the benchmark for company success.
It was no longer just about what products or services to offer that mattered to companies, but more so how they modeled customer support, which incidentally would be highlighted and promoted in a host of online media platforms. Needless to say, the newly found culture of sharing of customer experiences across channels became the language of modern-day marketing, and businesses had to abide or risk a slow demise.
Fast forward to today and you could expect more innovations coming customers’ way. This means businesses should leave no stone unturned and become a game changer in this department – that is, if they’re out to secure their spot in the competition called quality customer service in the new generation.
Customer Support Trends and Predictions
The present landscape of customer service experience continues to evolve by the day. Here’s how experts weigh in on customer support trends for 2017 and the not-so-distant future:
Messenger services cater perfectly to early adopters.
Among your customer base, you can always find a niche of early adopters – that part of your audience that you engage through new technology, ideas, processes, or systems. For this group, the convenience of connecting with you through live web chat and messaging apps means a lot of time and effort is saved on their end.
As they are highly comfortable with the messaging platform, you should be able to use it for responding to questions and requests in real time, helping customer navigate through your website, or promoting your wares.
Omnichannels are good for as long as customers can manage them.
The idea of omnichannels – mobile devices, email, chat, email, social media, website – being at easy reach of customers has its benefits and drawbacks.
Yes, it gives customers the option to use the channel that they personally prefer. On the other hand, some experts are also predicting that at one point, customers may find the omnichannel setup too disjointed and demanding at least on their side given that some of them still choose to use a particular channel for very specific purposes.
What’s being proposed then is for you to help minimize the frustration by giving fewer contact options to customers and focusing instead on no more than two channels such as messaging apps and live chat.
Customer service on social media lives on.
With billions of users flocking to social media sites a good few hours each day, you’d be missing out if you didn’t take customer service to this platform. Social channels are giving customers a fast and easy way to share their positive experiences with their favorite brand or to call out on those that are less deserving of their business.
Constantly monitoring these channels can give you instant feedback about the level and quality of customer service you’re giving, as well as reward you with equal opportunities as your customers to make yourself be heard.
Getting personal in customer support is yet to be accomplished.
If there’s any area in customer service that deserves to be sealed, it’s none other than personalization. Unfortunately, research has shown that companies have misconceptions about it – to wit, customer data is not being used properly to deliver personalized service to customers.
To turn things around, you need to provide your buyers’ needs with the tools you have, say, some tracking software that you use to monitor those who visit your site. For those who browse product reviews often, you could push such content at the top of the page so that your customers don’t have to look far to find what they need.
Chatbots and voice search are helping self-service flourish.
Self-service is a powerful solution for customer support. It’s not meant to replace having personal and direct interactions with your customers; rather, it’s aimed at giving your customers the leeway to steer clear of waiting time or redundant processes in your customer service practices.
Smart virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, or GoogleNow, as well as interactive chatbots are highly likely to become more sophisticated in the near term—invading future homes, offices, cars, and buildings to provide a range of services to digitally oriented customers. In turn, your business could take inspiration from these new standards to innovate your service delivery for your clientele.
Wrapping up, it’s important now more than ever for companies to take customer service to a whole new level. By leveraging technology, taking the pulse of customers, and keeping watch of what’s on the horizon, you’re sending across that one message that customers love to hear: customer care is the heart of what you do. And when you win your customers’ approval, you’re almost sure to become a huge business success.