In the customer service industry, creating a good experience for customers is often the most important part. As a matter of fact, consumers will likely consider their overall customer experience to be more important than price and product quality in 2020.
With today's technology, people are more connected than ever before, and information is readily available in just a few clicks. It is easier than ever for consumers to quickly jump ship from one brand to the next. If someone looks at a service business's reviews on the Internet and sees negative comments, it's unlikely that they will use that service. Because of this, companies need to make sure they are providing excellent service to every customer.
a changing industry
Companies today are facing a shift in the economic landscape wherein consumers are now at the center of everything. Aside from simply delivering exceptional products and services, businesses are expected to adapt to the changing times by building strong relationships with their customers and providing seamless and unparalleled customer service.
As more and more people demand the best customer service and are willing to spend more to get it, it's important to follow these trends to master your customer service skills:
7 customer service trends in today's market
1. Real-time communication and availability
While online shopping, many consumers tend to abandon their carts. According to Econsultancy, the global shopping cart abandonment rate is 76.9%. Often, what drives consumers to abandon their online carts is poor customer service or lack of support throughout their purchasing journey.
By being available throughout the buyer's journey, brands can surely improve customer experience while boosting trust and loyalty. Real-time communication solutions such as live chat and 24/7 call support can help companies connect directly with their audience and always be available on-demand.
For companies operating in a more complex or technical industry, it may be advantageous to go beyond call or chat support by integrating co-browsing into their customer service strategy.
Co-browsing, or collaborative browsing, enables businesses to add a human touch to real-time online assistance. Often used alongside live chat and call support solutions, co-browsing allows customers to share their screen with a customer support agent. By doing so, support agents can see exactly what the customer is seeing to help guide them through certain complicated processes as needed.
Customers can even set restrictions to secure sensitive information on their device during co-browsing. If customer service workers are able to access people's screens, they will be able to give them the best assistance possible, which directly impacts customer satisfaction.
3. Preemptive or proactive support
While addressing issues raised by consumers—also known as reactive customer service—can be beneficial to businesses, it isn't necessarily the best customer service practice. In fact, in a recent study by Accenture, 89% of customers said they have felt frustrated having to point out problems to multiple customer service representatives.
To avoid this frustration, companies are turning to preemptive or proactive customer support instead of waiting for consumers to present problems to them. That way they can work on identifying potential problems and come up with solutions before consumers even notice the issue.
Proactive support strategies include posting how-to videos, FAQs, and instructional infographics about how to perform certain tasks. Companies can also send out emails informing consumers of a software, product, or service update to resolve an apparent issue in an effort to serve them better.
According to Microsoft, 68% of customers have a more favorable view of brands that send proactive customer service notifications. By going the extra mile, brands can not only meet customer expectations; they can even exceed them.
Personalization is becoming very important in the service industry. It was recently reported that 72% of people expect customer service agents to already know who they are, what they purchased, and their service history with the company when they speak to them.
On top of that, customers are also demanding an individualized brand experience tailored to suit their unique needs and preferences. To provide personalized service, businesses can analyze big data, individual purchasing habits, previous brand interactions, and shopping histories to better cater to customers. With these insights, companies can design their websites and mobile apps accordingly, and they can provide personalized recommendations for each customer.
Personalization can be a great addition to a service company's strategy because providing customers with relevant product suggestions and sales promotions will likely increase their number of purchases and their overall satisfaction.
A recent survey revealed that 75% of millennials prefer solving their customer service issues by themselves rather than contacting a customer support representative. As more and more people are starting to value finding instant solutions without having to pick up the phone, employing a range of self-service alternatives has become a necessity for service companies.
Nowadays, businesses must empower customers to help themselves with self-service solutions such as chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning. Customers who want to solve their problems on their own will be pleased to see that a company is giving them the ability to do this. However, companies should still have representatives available to help any customers who prefer to have a human solve their problems for them.
6. Virtual and augmented reality
Alongside AI solutions, virtual and augmented reality plays a vital role in how consumers interact with businesses today. Take Uniqlo, for example, as it has recently installed showrooms and fitting rooms that have a try-before-you-buy option in augmented reality to provide better customer experience.
While the retail sector is making headway in adopting virtual and augmented reality, the food industry is making significant progress as well. Restaurants are starting to use this technique to showcase virtual presentations of certain menu items to help customers visualize their dining experience. An example of this would be Bareburger's menu, where they created a Snapchat filter that showed customers an immersive virtual experience of their dishes.
Allowing customers to see what they would be getting before they purchase something is an innovative way of gaining their trust and keeping them happy.
7. Omni-channel support
According to HubSpot, omnichannel support is a business model that enables customers to have an integrated and seamless experience across a myriad of devices and platforms—from desktop and mobile to brick-and-mortar stores.
By employing a sound omnichannel support strategy, companies are allowing their customers to conveniently connect with their brand wherever and however they want. Ultimately, this will enable consumers to get what they need as efficiently as possible by continuing their interaction with a brand exactly where they left off. This technique can also help companies convey their message across multiple channels without any interruptions.
Putting customers at the heart of every business
Customer service has drastically evolved in the past decade. With the constant influx of new trends shaping the industry, companies need to keep up with the changes. Considering 96% of consumers aged 18 to 34 years old claim that customer service plays a significant role in brand loyalty, providing excellent customer service is a crucial factor in determining a company's success in today's ever-competitive market.
About the Author: Regina de Rosario is from Booth & Partners. With a solid background in conducting interviews with multiple candidates to identify the one with the most potential. Hired over 100 applicants for positions in dozens of industries and campaigns, at levels ranging from interns to upper-level management. Excellent communication abilities, including written and oral, professional and interpersonal. Highly organized and is able to complete several complicated administrative tasks simultaneously.