A support team is only as strong as the infrastructure that it is equipped with. The year 2020 has been a revelation of how fragile our lives are. The pandemic has affected our lives, dulled team efficiency and resulted in less-than-attractive customer experience. There is no doubt about the fact that the expectations of customers are always high. In fact, the pandemic has been a time for most businesses to prove how much of a value driver they are. Thankfully, many companies were able to transition into a remote setting to provide customer service, mainly because of technology. Let us look at the top customer service trends of 2021 and how these trends boosted customer service relationships.
Customer Service Trends To Checkout In 2020:
Customer Service Trend #1. Increasing customer expectations
There was a time when customers were content with expecting replies to emails after two or three days. Something like that is almost unimaginable these days. Customers expect quick responses, almost to a point where a response after an hour would be too much. With the proliferation of chatbots, live agents, and social media, they are asking for the moon. Thanks to technology, it is actually possible to cater to this level of service, although it requires a lot of effort from the companies to ensure that they provide the same level of consistency throughout. Here’s a simple, yet effective customer service questionnaire created using SurveySparrow to improve the customer service experience..
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In a world where your customer has a lot of choices, you do not want to be left for your competitor just because you couldn’t satisfy their queries. Even if your product is loved by its customers, people put a premium on the service they get these days. Why? Because people are always on the move. They cannot afford to wait for a resolution for a long time. In fact, they would expect very little time spent on resolving a problem that they have with any product.
Losing your customers to your competitors isn’t the happiest of things for a business. But the reality is that the likelihood of something like that happening is pretty high if you don’t play your cards right. So if you are looking to provide the best service possible for your customers, here’s what you need to do. You need to have the technology in place to ensure that you can leverage all sorts of digital tools to make it extremely easy for your customers to get help.
The second part of providing stellar customer support is to ensure that your employees are well trained to handle everything from returns to customers who throw a fit. No matter what type of business you run, physical or online, you will face every type of customer. Ensure that you keep training your employees to make even the most difficult happy with you. It is not always possible, but you cannot give up without equipping your employees, especially your customer success agents to make an effort.
Customer Service Trend #2. Totally technology-driven customer service
We spoke in the previous point about how technology is one of the best arsenal that you have to attend to the needs of your customers. Invest in critical tools and technologies that will reduce the wait time for your customers as well as reduce customer retention. Customers would love to be assisted in a swift manner without having to wait for a long time. Here are some of the ways in which technology will empower customer service:
- Businesses will be able to provide omni-channel customer service in which customers can engage with the help of a variety of digital mediums. Omni-channel customer service syncs your communication channels so that it becomes easy for your customers to buy from you.
- With the help of real-time messaging, businesses will be able to offer immediate resolutions to customer’s issues. You will be able to provide one-on-one responses and engage with them in an authentic and reliable way.
- Bots will be available to answer the queries of customers 24*7. Thanks to artificial intelligence, we have bots that take the place of a customer support executive. It even betters the quality of its responses by improving itself based on each interaction.
- Blockchain technology will change the way payments and contracts work. With the help of Blockchain, all payments will be transparent, and it cannot be hacked.
- Customers will be able to get the information they want without having to rely on a human, on the other hand. By getting to interact constantly with messenger bots and location-based mobile apps, customer service is speedy and to the point.
- 2021 will be a year when customer service will be personalized. With the help of sentimental analysis, businesses will be able to understand the strength of employees, making it easier for them to train based on it.
- Businesses will start making customer service decisions with the help of data by using analytics tools. With the help of technology, you will be able to collect data using which you can get insights about your customers that can be used to provide superior customer service.
- Social media will become one of the most standard tools for customer service.
Customer Service Trend #3. Remote customer service
Remote working has become the new normal. This means that customer service will also be done remotely since the whole world hasn’t started working out of offices yet because of the pandemic. At the same time, the shift to remote working can be good for a lot of people, especially for the ones who don’t have to commute a lot. But it comes with its own set of difficulties.
A team that is working remotely should find out innovative ways to provide effective customer service from the confines of their home itself. They need to find new ways to collaborate with the other members in the team as well as get information from different stakeholders. Customer success teams will also have to ensure that there is no loss of data when they are working remotely. Remote teams need to communicate with the help of automated software to ensure that they don’t lose out on doing things that can be done remotely.
Customer success teams will continue to face challenges when working out of the office. But this is where the right technology will create a smooth transition. The emphasis will be on technology to make sure that there is effective disbursal of services remotely for customers. Live chat software, video consultation, cloud VOIP systems, video conferencing abilities, etc., are some of the ways in which technology will aid remote customer service.
Maintaining a remote customer service team is far from easy. The business should equip the customer success team with the right infrastructure and technology to get the best results for their customers. Cloud-based project management tools, creating an effective knowledge base that is accessible over the cloud, ensuring that there is proper information sharing are some of the things that you can do to ensure effective remote customer service.
Customer Service Trend #4. Automated self-service
The level of customer service that you offer to your customers will have a bearing on your success as a business. It affects everything from your brand image to your profits. By introducing automation in your customer service, you will be able to increase the efficiency and increase the accuracy of your customer support team. By ensuring that you automate a lot of your customer service, you reduce the response time and increase the satisfaction of your customer.
One of the fastest ways to automate most of your customer service is with the help of chatbots. With the help of chatbots, you will be able to reduce the dependence on your customer service agents. By allocating more time for them, they will be in a position to concentrate on providing a better experience for customers over pressing problems. Chatbots can resolve queries immediately if it requires the help of an experienced customer service agent, then it will even be able to redirect them to the right person. If you feed a knowledge base into your system, then it will be able to handle all the related questions efficiently.
While chatbots cannot completely eliminate humans, it is certainly a fantastic addition to your business. It will reduce your operational costs as well as streamlining your customer service processes. Another big advantage that a chatbot can do is to analyze customer data which will help your business get a deeper peek into how you can provide a greater experience for the customer.
Customer Service Trend #5. Data-driven customer service
Businesses are slowly beginning to understand the kind of power that data wields. If used effectively, data can increase the profitability of your business decisions as well as increase your ROI. Businesses collect data from customers every single day. Right from transactional data to behavioral and sensor data, you will be able to achieve your business goals if the data is used to understand your customers.
Businesses are using customer data to provide a better customer experience. Creating a data-driven culture is pivotal for businesses if they are keen to increase the value that they want to provide for their customers. Derive the maximum value of data analytics to drive value to your business. A company that is data-focused will be able to allocate its resources properly so that they can leverage the data properly.
Many organizations are not in a position to collate and capture data from different sources. By collating them at a single point, businesses will be able to make informed and practical decisions to give a fillip to their customer experience.
By using the data-driven approach, you will also be able to segment your audience, which will help you provide tailored and specific solutions that will resonate with them. Lincoln Murphy, also known as the Customer Success Guru says-” Customer Success is only achieved by combining what customers need to an appropriate experience while delivering the right interactions. As you know now, this has everything to do with data-driven.”
Wrapping it up..
The customer service trends that we are seeing here for the year 2021 is a reflection of how the year 2020 has changed how we conduct business. There has not been a year which has been as impactful and game-changing as this one. Businesses will be focusing on getting back on their feet, but there should be no slacking on how their customers are treated. The core focus for each business should be to take care of its customers with as much conviction as possible. When it comes to taking care of one’s customers, there should be no room for error.
The emphasis on technology to take care of many aspects of customer service should also be kept in mind. By using technology to the maximum, you will be able to keep most of your customers satisfied. The first step would be to automate most of the tasks that are considered repetitive and doesn’t require the intervention of a skilled human. Not investing in technologies and tools for customer service can bite you in the back.
In a time and age where customer loyalty cannot be expected anymore because of plenty of options, by providing superior customer service, you might be able to bring more customers into your fold. For starters, check out the kind of service you are providing currently and keep improving each part of it. Check out each customer interaction touchpoint and see if you can make them better.