Customer service plays a key role in business success. But these days, customer service trends are shifting. Customers are placing more importance on the interactions they have with your product and its designated support team than on the product’s main features.
Hence, providing excellent customer service has become more critical than ever. As 2023 unfolds, here are some of the latest customer service trends that businesses should be aware of and leverage to stay ahead of the curve.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been at the forefront of customer service trends since the COVID-19 pandemic.
This can be seen with businesses’ increased use of chatbots, virtual assistants, and other automated tools. Here are the most popular AI-powered mechanisms and what they do best:
These AI-powered tools enable brands to scale their services by providing quality and consistent customer support. They can respond to commonly asked questions and resolve issues faster, creating a positive customer experience.
In a poll conducted by Pega, 73 percent of global consumers say that they are open to businesses using AI if it makes life easier. They expect it would streamline their interactions with brands. Thus, organizations can use this open-mindedness to improve customer service and stay ahead of competitors.
Everyone loves something that is tailored exclusively for them. That is why personalization is becoming increasingly important in today’s business environment. A report from McKinsey and Company in 2021 found that 71 percent of consumers expect businesses to understand their needs.
Similarly, you can use data analytics and AI to understand customer needs and provide personalized experiences. For example, you could provide personalized product recommendations, delivery service, or customized support interactions.
Examples of brands leveraging this trend are Nike and Adidas. They currently have personalizable products—sneakers—that customers can tweak to their preferences. Clinique, a popular skincare brand, offers customizable face creams and moisturizers that can be tailored to customers’ skin. So, if the “big guys” are doing it, you can too.
Moreover, the good thing about this trend is that customers are willing to pay more to enjoy it. Research by Deloitte shows that customers are willing to pay a 20 percent premium for personalized products and services. Thus, businesses leveraging this trend can be confident of patronage from new and returning customers.
A shift to digital in the business ecosystem since the COVID-19 pandemic has left consumers more willing to interact with brands via multiple channels.
Consequently, businesses should provide support via effective customer contact channels, like email, phone calls, social media, and text messaging.
For example, Samsung, Apple, and Amazon allow customers to resolve queries via phone calls, social media, text messages, and community support.
However, to ensure you provide seamless support and consistent customer experiences across various communication channels, you also need integrate these channels.
With Touchpoint, you can provide multi-channel support service on your customers’ preferred channels. Our customer communication tool also enables you to monitor and evaluate all customer interactions from one system.
Consumers have become more self-reliant, mainly because of better access to the internet and tech tools. They would rather get answers themselves than wait in a queue.
Thus, empowering your customers to handle simple tasks—such as scheduling a delivery or upgrading their subscription—is one of the best things to do for your business.
Besides, several studies show consumers prefer self-service tools to actually speaking with a customer service representative. Additionally, a survey by Vanilla Forum in 2020 revealed that 77 percent of 285 people view organizations more positively if they offer self-service options.
These self-service tools or options could include chatbots, an “About Us” page, and a “Frequently asked questions” page with answers. Furthermore, following this customer service trend can reduce your service costs and make your staff more productive, as they won’t be laden with simple tasks.
The rise of messaging apps as a customer service trend is driven by their increasing popularity among consumers. SMS and social media messaging apps, like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, have become the preferred communication channels for many people.
Businesses use them to provide personalized and timely customer support, thus increasing customer engagement and satisfaction. Moreover, this is a trend to invest in, as over three billion people use social media messaging apps, and there is a 98 percent open rate for SMS text messages.
Proactive or predictive customer support anticipates customer concerns and offers solutions beforehand.
This approach contrasts the traditional reactive model, in which companies wait for customers to reach out with a problem or complaint before they address it. Here is how you can integrate proactive support in your customer satisfaction strategy:
In a study conducted by InContact, 87 percent of American adults were happy to be contacted proactively by a business for customer service issues. However, doing this relies on gathering and analyzing data about customer behavior, feedback, preferences, and previous interactions with the company.
Given that most consumers are highly receptive to any type of client–company communication, empathy, and emotional intelligence have become indispensable aspects of customer service.
Many companies are training their customer service representatives to develop their communication skills and emotional intelligence.
They also incorporate these skills into their marketing strategies to build long-term customer relationships and gain a competitive advantage.
For context, they use customer feedback and data to identify pain points and common customer complaints. Afterward, they provide products and services that address these concerns and meet client needs.
Building collaboration between your departments to enhance customer service involves breaking down the silos between departments and encouraging teams to work together.
For instance, a customer service team could collaborate with a product development team to better understand how a product works. They can then provide detailed, consistent answers to customer inquiries.
On the other hand, enabling knowledge-sharing in customer service involves creating and sharing a central information repository that both customers and customer service representatives can access. This repository could contain FAQs, knowledge bases (articles and newsletters), product descriptions, and staff training materials.
By leveraging this trend, companies can improve the customer experience for all customer touchpoints. As a result, customers benefit from quicker and more accurate resolutions to their problems, while companies benefit from increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
This trend involves using technology (with little or no human input) to collect, analyze, and respond to customer feedback. It allows companies to gather real-time customer feedback and use it to improve their products, services, and customer experience.
One typical example of customer feedback automation is using chatbots to collect and respond to customer opinions. Chatbots can be programmed to ask customers specific questions about their experience, gather data from their responses, and provide automated answers or solutions to common issues.
Another example of this trend is automatically sending out surveys and feedback forms to customers after they have made a purchase or interacted with your customer service team. These forms can be designed to collect specific types of feedback, such as ratings and reviews. They can be evaluated using machine learning algorithms to identify areas for improvement.
Nowadays, businesses have access to a large amount of customer data. And with the rising cases of cybercrime, customers are becoming increasingly concerned about what happens to their personal information.
In one study, 74 percent of consumers surveyed said they highly value their data privacy. In addition, 82 percent are concerned about how companies use their data. Consequently, a data breach can ruin the customer experience and erode brand trust.
As such, you must demonstrate a continued commitment to ensuring that customers’ data is safe and secure.
The customer service landscape is dynamic, and you have to change and adapt to new technologies. In 2023 and beyond, we can expect these customer service trends to become the modus operandi for most businesses. Likewise, companies prioritizing quality customer service are one step away from reaching stardom.
Marketing manager for TextMagic. I like figuring out how things work. Passionate about fitness and video games.
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