New customer service trends seem to emerge every day, so keeping up can feel like quite the challenge. Get prepared. Make sure your customer service agents’ skills and knowledge are up to date and combine this with the latest tools and technology to provide the very best customer service possible.
Read on for the customer service trends that will rule in 2020.
Customer service trends driving success in coming years
1. The ‘M’ factor
We’re talking M for ‘Mobile’. Smartphones are growing ever more powerful, and every day their ownership increases. According to Outerboxdesign.com, 80% of shoppers use mobile phones in-store to check product reviews, compare prices or find other store locations.
“Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub, but also the bridge to the physical world. That’s why mobile will affect more than just your digital operations — it will transform your entire business.” - Thomas Husson, Vice President, and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research
Here are some stats to illustrate his point:
- Mobile web adoption is growing 8 times faster than web adoption did in the 1990s and early 2000s. (Source: Nielsen)
- There are around 1.2 billion people accessing the web from mobile devices. (Source: Trinity Digital Marketing)
- 58% of all US consumers already own a smartphone (Source: ComScore)
- Missing out on a mobile-optimized website is like closing your store one day a week! (Source: Google)
As you can see, providing customer service through mobile is very much in the interest of any company aspiring to keep up.
2. Customers will contact you on social media
“You can use social media to turn strangers into friends, friends into customers and customers into salespeople.” –Seth Godin
Social media is a great platform for connecting with customers. These days, an online store and social media presence are absolutely essential.
According to ValueWalk studies, 63 percent of customers expect companies to offer support via social media, and 35% of customers prefer it to other channels.
These numbers will surely rise. So if you’re not already, it’s time to get onboard. You can even extend customer service support through Facebook and Twitter. Just be mindful with other solutions that may need custom integrations.
Check out these fascinating stats about customer service in social media:
- Implementing a social customer service program can increase annual customer satisfaction scores by nearly 20% (Source: Aberdeen)
- Once social customer service interaction costs around $1 whereas one call center interaction costs nearly $6. (Source: NMINCITE)
- Companies improving customer experience on social media platforms from ‘average’ to ‘wow’ see a 30-50% improvement in key measures including likelihood to repeat purchase, upsell and recommend your product to others. (Mckinsey)
- Engaging in customer service requests on social media can bring 20% to 40% more revenue per customer. (Source: Bain and company)
- 33% of users even prefer contacting brands on social media rather than the telephone. (Nielsen)
3. Intelligent self-service tools and AI (artificial intelligence) based chatbots to replace manual queries
Self-service tools will be the new customer service trend in 2018. If you still thinking about why to emphasize on self-service tools then let me give you more reasons.
- Constantly changing business needs
- The inability of IT to meet business user demand
- Needing to be a more analytics-driven organization
- Slow or untimely access to information
- Business user dissatisfaction with IT BI capabilities
- The existing environment is too complex to use
- Lack of IT budget or need to reduce IT budget by
- Lack of IT BI/DW skills
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Business intelligence and performance analytics provide crucial insights, empowering employees to make better business decisions. Adoption of business intelligence enterprise-wide is surprisingly low. According to BI Survey 13 published by BARC, just 15% of employees use business intelligence in places where it’s available.
Perhaps misconceptions around business intelligence being expensive, difficult to use, and failing to deliver real business value is fueling this situation.
4. Customer service reps will work from home
“A brand is defined by the customer’s experience. The experience is delivered by the employees.” – Shep Hyken
In 2020 and beyond, companies will witness a marked growth in their freelance workforce. Customer service jobs in particular are easily performed from home. Having this freedom may even help companies find and retain talent for these roles.
If companies need new customer service reps in NYC or San Francisco, the real estate cost alone would be astronomical. It’s a perfect chance to list the job as a remote opportunity. You could be amazed by the influx of outstanding candidates.
5. Machine learning can change the whole customer experience
Machine learning is a data analysis technique that automates analytical model building. It does this using algorithms that iteratively discover from data. Machine learning allows computers to discover things without being programmed where to look.
The iterative aspect of machine learning is important because as models are exposed to new data, they are able to independently adapt. They learn from previous computations to produce reliable, repeatable decisions and results. The science isn’t new – but it’s still gathering momentum.
Some advantages of machine learning are:
- Intelligent customer service chatbots
- Improved product search
- Dramatically improved on-site merchandising
- Market-adjusted pricing
- Fraud detection and prevention
- Improved business decision making
6. Real-time support
Marketing is great for giving information about a product or service. But what happens when potential customers are already interested, browsing your website and ready to purchase? This is a perfect time for live chat. Let them know you are there for them by giving them the opportunity to contact you in real-time.
Real-time support is helpful because:
- It helps solve customer’s problems quickly
- It reduces response time
- It increases conversions
- It’s convenient for customers
- It boosts customer engagement and satisfaction
7. Live video streaming is going to boom
“Video is an effective form of communication that needs to be integrated into each and every aspect of your existing marketing efforts.” –James Wedmore
The new generation is going crazy for live video streaming. If you’ve got an e-commerce site, it’s a great opportunity to communicate with your customers in a new and exciting way. Find strategies of weaving live video streaming into your operations, for example when launching new products or by running Q&A sessions, and drive forward your company’s success.
Check out these stats:
8. Providing hybrid supports - chatbot, messaging, etc.
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(Courtesy: Letzgro )
Messengers have now surpassed social media networks. Companies should bear this in mind when designing their customer communication strategy.
Messengers have beaten social networks:
Hybrid support brings together the best of both worlds, the real-time efficiency of chatbot automation technology, paired with the human ability to deal with complex queries. Working in tandem, flipping between approaches as needed, keeps service levels high while minimizing customer frustration with bots struggling to deal with difficult issues effectively.
9. Personalization to the fullest
Personalization is nothing new. For decades, retailers have been enticing customers to buy through personalized offers. But as more and more retailers sell online and the marketplace becomes increasingly crowded, personalization tactics need to evolve to reach today's time-strapped and overstimulated consumers.
- 59% of online shoppers believe it is easier to find more interesting products on a personalized online retail store
- 56% are more likely to return to a site that recommends products
- 53% believe that retailers who personalize the shopping experience provide a valuable service
- 45% are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations
- 57% of online shoppers are OK with providing personal information as long as it benefits them
- 77% would trust businesses more if they explained how they use personal information
With 59% of marketers seeing good ROI on the back of personalizing their online store, the benefits for both the shopper and retailer are clear. Get it right and performance will improve.
The easy availability of seemingly endless information makes web search tools an absolute necessity. With the mass adoption of constantly-connected smartphones this becomes even more pertinent. Mobile web searching has become second nature, to the point that users would be lost without it.
But using a keyboard to type out query terms is not always practical – tiny keyboards often make it difficult to type. In any case, speaking is much faster than typing. With this in mind, researchers figured out a way to collect speech on smartphones, sending it to a voice-recognition algorithm that returns the corresponding text in seconds.
In a 2014 research report, Google found that 55% of teens and 41% of adults in the US used voice search more than once per day.
With this growth in natural language voice search, there's an increase in the use of questions in search phrases. In fact, Search Engine Watch reports the use of search queries starting with “who,” “what,” “where” and “how” increased 61% year on year.
11. IoT can fuel proactiveness
If there's one aspect of our lives the IoT will impact more than any other, it’s online shopping and e-commerce. IoT devices, from connected cars to smart home appliances, will change the shape of e-commerce by turning every day inanimate objects into potential sales channels for retailers. No milk in the fridge? Not to worry, the fridge will order some more for you.
The IoT is finally beginning to live up to the hype, creating genuine value for consumers and providing a legitimate source of revenue for businesses.
Predictions indicate the total installed base of IoT connected devices worldwide will amount to 75.44 billion by 2025.
How will the Internet of Things positively influence e-commerce?
With the Internet of Things taking over, a vast array of connected devices are bridging the gap between user and tech. From health-tracking Fitbits to smart TVs, the potential impact of IoT devices on e-commerce is huge.
Here's why that's good news:
- Inventory can be better managed
- Marketing opportunities are increased
- Overall efficiency is enhanced
- Websites become more perceptive
Customer service trends in insurance
According to Salesforce, the insurance claims experience will impact renewal rates. Insurance companies are, and will increasingly be, employing location-based technology to automatically initiate the claims process, using chatbots, along with visual tools like cobrowsing to educate customers on submission, inspections, and documentation as well as updating them on their claim status.
Customer service trends in banking
FIS made the point in its report that “Smaller banking providers can no longer delay digital transformation.”
Small and medium scale banking services really have no choice but to adopt digital tools aiding online transfers, speedy deposits, account opening, digital payment and making transactions using specialized digital finance products, like mobile wallets, easier.
Customer service trends in retail
Retailers will be using AI to personalize customer service. 55% of retailers plan to fully implement AI in their daily retail operations within 3 years - Boston Retail Partners (BRP).
Among the many potential applications is the ability to provide merchandise recommendations based on a customer’s responses to a short survey.
The last word:
Now that you know all about these customer service trends, it’s time to make a plan for your e-commerce site and start implementing it to ensure your lasting success for the future.
If you feel like exploring more tech, why not have a look at our whitepaper on chatbots.