9 Trends that will Impact your Customer Service in 2020
Want to treat your customers better in 2020 and beyond? Be in the know of these customer service trends that would become mainstream soon.
Businesses are chasing many metrics — CLTV, CAC, CSAT, all of which are ultimately tied to customer service. Great customer service gives you revenue, recurring business, and less churn. Customers no longer put up with mediocre or poor service. As businesses rethink their existing strategy to provide stellar support in 2020 and the next decade, here are some top customer service trends that they can benefit from.
Jump on the social media support bandwagon
Not answering a customer complaint on social media decreases customer advocacy by as much as 50% (Convince & Convert). Yet, many brands do not consider their social media platform as a support channel. It makes sense for brands to cater to where their customers are— and a majority of them are on social media.
Customers love social media customer service because of the instant issue resolution and gratification. Businesses can automate static replies by anticipating what kind of queries they usually receive.
By proactively monitoring brand mentions and responding even when your brand is not tagged explicitly in the tweet, it is possible to forge a great customer connection.
Zappos has consistently established great social media customer service.
Respect customer privacy
We read a lot of data breach stories in the last decade— Equifax, for instance, exposed the personal information of 147 million people and is reported as one of the biggest data breaches in history. As more of these stories come to light, customers are taking their privacy more seriously than ever. 80% of the respondents in this Statista survey mention that they value privacy over convenience.
Most brands today collect customer phone numbers. But is it stored or processed securely? If you’re thinking “Oh, what’s in a phone number?” Your mobile phone number is a single point of failure. Think about it, your phone number can be used to reset your password, withdraw money from the bank, change social security details, the nightmare!
A customer trusts that the business will protect their phone number, and it is the liability of the business to safeguard their identity. Call masking is a well-regarded feature leveraged to mask the customer’s phone number with a different number before sharing it with third parties, say a food delivery service.
Respecting customer privacy is an excellent way to show that you truly care about them, which in turn helps boost your brand image.
Embrace location- independent support teams
Location independence and remote working have taken prominence in the last few years. The customer support function accounts for 14% of the remote jobs (Source). Distributed, virtual support teams will be the norm in the next decade.
Companies like Freshworks that have a global presence require support teams in multiple time zones. Rather than building a full-scale support team, companies can choose to build a distributed team in different time zones. Route the call automatically to the agent in the right time zone, based on the call origin location.
A distributed support team ensures that customers do not have to wait to get their issues resolved just because they’re from a different time zone. This means lower operational costs for the business, which is a win-win!
Provide conversational support
How many times have we heard AI being dubbed as the solution for everything? Well, no solution can be the be all end all, especially not when it comes to customer support. Chatbots, however, are instrumental in providing support for repetitive and straightforward questions.
Chatbots are a good preliminary support channel for simple tasks like appointment scheduling, or answering static queries like “Where is my order?” They also help reduce the support workload.
However, chatbots are unable to handle situations that require a degree of empathy or involve highly sensitive information. Conversational support can do more harm than good when substituted for phone support.
Increase customer retention with advocacy
Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits by up to 95%. Churn is a common factor of worry for all businesses and increasing customer advocacy is a mystery. Brand swag and discounts don’t work unless the fundamental connection is strong.
Choose customer-led stories to create brand advocates. Seemingly small gestures like respecting the customer’s time play a huge role in customer advocacy.
Use a feature like Warm Transfer from Freshcaller when customers are transferred across departments. This ensures that the customers don’t have to repeat their problem over and over, and the new agent has enough context about the customer problem and can support them ably.
Related reading: Why customer advocacy matters to your growing business
Leverage video for customer support
Companies are taking what’s already in the market and making it better with exclusivity and personalization. While companies leverage recorded videos for customer onboarding or support, the next decade will emphasize on providing personalized support.
Superhuman provides 1:1 video onboarding, which is a hit among its users.
Use NLP in customer support
Customer service will benefit from Natural Language Processing (NLP) immensely in the next decade. Using sentiment analysis to detect dissatisfied/ angry customers helps prioritize those tickets ahead of others.
NLP is beneficial to find patterns of sentiment (happy/neutral/dissatisfied) in huge volumes of customer interactions, which gives an idea of the areas in your business that are doing well or need improvement.
Be in sync on all the channels
In the last decade, companies started talking about adopting omnichannel experience. However, most companies are still largely multi-channel.
68% of the millennials demand an integrated, seamless experience on all the brand channels. Brands must adapt to the needs of this largest consumer segment. It must be possible to start a search query online and transition to chat, social media, mobile, or even a phone call seamlessly.
With a robust suite of services like Freshworks to integrate all communication channels, brands can unify all the channels and provide great support in a market where others are just about providing good support.
Provide empathetic support
Saved the best for last! Cookie-cutter responses just don’t work anymore in customer support.
Use automation sparingly and only where it makes sense — for basic queries or verification.
Here are some ways how empathy can be integrated into customer service:
- Listen carefully to customer wants
- Make it the business’s problem and want to solve it
- Allow them to get it all out
- Understand their priorities
- Show that you care and understand their pain
Here’s a helpful video from the Freshworks Academy on developing empathy in customer service.
Good customer service will remain relevant, no matter the decade we live in. Nothing beats a world-class customer service experience. It seems fairly simple but is also tricky because of the human element involved. The key is to create a customer-first company culture, omnichannel support experience, and empathetic support however the customer deems fit. That, ladies and gentlemen, will never go out of fashion.
Guest author bio:
Swathi Bhaskaran is a freelance writer who helps SaaS & tech companies create high-ranking, value-packed content. In her free time, she tweets or writes about marketing at www.swathib.com.
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