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The customer service world continues to develop, and each new year can mean a sea change in changing consumer expectations. As new customer service trends arrive, service that was once considered exemplary might no longer meet the growing customer demand.
To help you prepare for the year ahead, in this article we’ll look at the key customer service trends of 2023 and how you can deliver on your consumers’ support expectations.
“Seventy-one percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And seventy-six percent get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.”– McKinsey & Company
We know that among customer service trends in 2023 and beyond, customers will increasingly expect personalized service. But without extensive resources, how can you provide truly personalized service? Omnichannel customer engagement software offers a solution.
Omnichannel platforms connect every channel together so agents gain a 360-degree view of every customer they speak. With a complete picture of your customers and their previous history, agents can deliver the personalized experience that customers expect. This includes the ability to offer customers more digital services and manage them all through one easy-to-use interface.
More than just meeting customer expectations, personalization also offers businesses an opportunity to retain more of their existing customers. One survey found that 80% of consumers would be more loyal to brands that demonstrated an understanding of their customers and what they’re looking for.
The personalization opportunities of omnichannel are only limited by the services connected. By introducing channels like Salesforce CRM to an omnichannel platform, you can extend personalization even further. With a connected CRM, agents can have detailed background information about not only each customer, but their organization, industry, and more.
“The chatbot market is witnessing growth due to increasing demand for messenger applications and the growing adoption of consumer analytics by various businesses worldwide. Vendors across the globe are making significant innovations to their products by integrating technologies such as AI and NLP to cater to customer needs and market requirements.”– Mordor Intelligence LLP
The past few years have squeezed many organizations, forcing customer service teams to make do with limited resources. Whether it’s high online support volumes or staffing issues that overburden agents, trying to “do more with less” has traditionally led to reduced service quality or capacity, and oftentimes both. Now chatbots are offering organizations a way forward, and we expect this to be among the growing customer service trends in 2023.
A chatbot can be introduced to automate the common customer questions, allowing for improvements across all aspects of customer service. As chatbots have been known to resolve as much as 91% of chats received without human agent intervention, introducing a chatbot to a live chat environment can see team capacity significantly increased without expanding team size. This is especially significant for organizations facing unpredictable support volumes throughout the year.
It’s understandable to think that introducing a chatbot can lose “the human touch” in interactions, but the added capacity provided by a chatbot can actually have the opposite effect. With a chatbot handling basic requests that require straightforward answers, agents are free to focus on more important tasks and higher complexity problems. For customer service queries needing a detailed response, this means more agent attention where it’s needed most.
“By 2025, proactive (outbound) customer engagement interactions will outnumber reactive (inbound) customer engagement interactions.”– Gartner, Inc.
Continuing the theme of increased personalization and attention in customer requests, the next of our customer service trends sees more proactive customer engagement for 2023. As with the other trends we’ve looked at, developing a proactive customer engagement strategy doesn’t need to be difficult when the right tools are employed. With live chat in place to facilitate proactive customer interactions, organizations can easily engage website visitors.
Proactive live chats can be established to either automatically invite website visitors to a chat based on pre-defined rules or left for agents to send manual chat invitations. Either way, customers are kept engaged to ensure that opportunities aren’t missed, and customers aren’t left without answers when they’re unsure where to look.
“…almost two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents would switch to a company that offered text messaging as a communication channel.”– Cision PR Newswire
SMS messaging is more popular than ever, and organizations are learning to leverage this fast-growing communication channel. Nearly everyone today has access to a cell phone, making SMS a reliable channel for reaching customers. The next in our customer service trends sees the growth of SMS messaging for customer service.
The unique properties of SMS make it ideal for engagement, as text messages have a 98% open rate, with nearly 60% of consumers checking for new texts within five minutes. Of course, without the right tools, sending an SMS might be convenient for customers and anything but convenient for organizations. SMS messaging platforms like Comm100 Ticketing & Messaging make connecting with customers over SMS easy, allowing support agents to consolidate SMS messages received within a unified agent console. These messages can then be sorted and prioritized to help keep organized and improve customer outcomes.
Some of the ways that businesses are already using SMS to connect with customers include proactive outreach for customer offers and automated reminders. Offering scheduled messages such as appointment reminders is a great way to demonstrates to customers the real value that your organization provides. Thanks to the many opportunities that SMS provides for customer outreach and feedback, expect the use of SMS messaging for customer service to continue growing across organizations of all sizes in the years ahead.
“Research firm Gartner has found that 86% of customer experience executives rank employee engagement as a top factor in delivering improvements in CX. By easing key agent pain-points, eliminating skills gaps and handing agents the tools they need to succeed, contact centers can ensure consistent, engaging customer experiences that drive positive business outcomes.”– Business Wire
Happy agents are crucial to happy customers, but the challenge of customer service roles has often contributed to poor agent wellbeing. Agents may deal with hostile customers and high stress environments, and high turnover within support teams can result. One study even found that 40% of agents are considering leaving their role. To curb this trend of high agent turnover, the last of our customer service trends sees organizations placing a greater focus on the agent experience (AE).
Improving the agent experience begins by providing agents with better tools to do their job. With digital tools like live chat, agents can feel that they’re effective in their role and empowered to succeed. This includes the improved customer insights we’ve seen from omnichannel software platforms, granting agents with access to better information and tools that see better customer outcomes.
With the introduction of automation and features like canned messages, digital channels can greatly reduce the repetitive nature of customer service by cutting down on the need to retype common answers. These automations also boost accuracy of response as they allow customers to receive a well-crafted answer, even if agents are still learning. As noted above, a chatbot can take the agent experience to the next level by allowing agents to focus on high value, and therefore more rewarding, requests.
In each of the customer service trends 2023 will see, and going forward, there’s a shift away from traditional customer service tools and methods towards a digital-first strategy. Whether it’s improving customer outcomes or the agent experience, tools like live chat and omnichannel software ensure the best possible interaction every time.
To see how Comm100 Live Chat and Comm100 Omnichannel can prepare your organization for 2023 and beyond, contact us today for a personalized demo.