The idea of customer service has been around since the 1800’s (just after the invention of the telephone). It gave customers the flexibility to make enquiries/ask for support over the call rather travelling to an office.
But customer service today is completely different from what we imagined it to be. In the efforts to make it better, we’ve consistently seen disruption in this sector. Engaging with a brand today is as simple as tweeting at them. The surprising part, instead of waiting for multiple days you can expect replies within hours.
Every year businesses look at ways to improve their customer service. This might be by investing in a new tool, making a process change or by adding new people to their customer-facing teams.
Today, we’ll uncover the top customer service trends we foresee in 2020. This will help you in making better product decisions, improve customer satisfaction metrics and overall retain more customers.
1. AI bots will continue to automate simple support tasks
AI’s role in customer service has increased tremendously in the past few years. Every year, we’ve witnessed some big breakthroughs. IBM’s customer service AI bot, Watson claims to answer customer queries with 95% accuracy. That’s huge. There’s no doubt that more companies are adopting bots for customer support automation.
When it comes to support calls, Smart IVR can help you self-serve customers without an intervention from an agent. For example, hospitals can leverage IVR to allow customers reschedule appointments over call. Hospitals can track patients and their appointments by integrating it with their CRM. Since the complete process is automated it allows agents to focus on more important tasks as well as provide a better customer experience.
But does that mean, bots will replace human agents? Absolutely not. They’ll empower agents to handle more customers better and quicker.
2. Protecting customer privacy is not optional anymore
With reports of data breaches every other day, customers today are more concerned about security of their personal information than ever. Privacy is a growing concern for both governments and businesses. The EU has already taken a big step to fight against privacy with the GDPR regulation.
In the past few years details like phone numbers, email addresses have become a person’s identity. Hence it’s the foremost priority for businesses accepting these details to protect this information and handle it responsibly.
According to Marketing Dive, 71% of consumers worry about brands’ handling of personal data. We’ve already seen ride-sharing companies and marketplaces protecting their customer’s contact details through number masking. Many countries like Canada, UK, and Australia, mandate the need for collecting permission from customers before sending emails.
For organisations working towards customer’s privacy is no longer optional. It’s incredibly crucial for creating trust and an overall positive brand image among customers.
3. Personalisation will be a key differentiator
As individuals, we all crave for customised experiences. Even the smallest step towards personalisation can work wonders for brands.
Today, banks are facing stiff competition from tech-first companies who put personalisation at the center of the experience. But even banks can provide a personalised experience. Let’s see how –
Banks can leverage Smart IVR to provide a personalised experience for their registered customer over call. For instance, language for a user can be already set (depending upon the preferred choice). The IVR menu (for registered users) can only read the popular options to help users navigate faster. While this might sound a small improvement, it all adds up to the banking experience.
There are a lot of tools that can help you create personalised experiences within your product at scale. But before starting we recommend first understanding the complete user’s lifecycle first.
4. Omni-channel support is critical moving forward
Today, providing support on multiple channels might not be enough. It’s important to connect the user’s experience across these channels to make it seamless. That’s where omni-channel support comes in.
Unlike multi-channel support, omni-channel integrates all the channels like text, calls, social media and email to provide a unified customer service without compromising on the brand’s experience. This provides customers the flexibility of switching channels without repeating their query/problem again.
But regardless of the channel you’re providing support on, the priority should always be to be helpful and create experiences that leave a long lasting impact on the user’s mind.
5. Data will empower support agents to take better and faster decision
Every business wants to provide their customers a smooth support experience. This is heavily dependent on the agent’s performance. But oftentimes agents struggle in solving customer queries. The main reason being the usage of obsolete software. It ends up hindering productivity rather than boosting it.
Equipping agents with the right support software can actually make a huge difference. But what should a support software ideally help agents with? Let’s find out –
- It should seamlessly integrate with all the applications to provide real-time customer information.
- Automate all the basic tasks like scheduling a call back, dialing a call, triggering emails/SMSes.
- It routes calls to the right agent depending on the past history of the customer.
- Solve simple customer queries automatically without connecting to an agent.
6. Predictive Analytics will help businesses to stay ahead and provide high-touch CX
According to a report, the two biggest problems that support team face is in controlling costs and adapting to seasonal spikes. Predictive analytics is one effective way to tackle this problem.
In simple terms, predictive analytics is the branch of advanced analytics that is used to predict the future. It takes statistics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data into account to show the results.
When it comes to support, here’s what organisations can achieve using this –
- Plan for the future spikes and anolmolies
- Paying a close attention to customer satisfaction
- Monitoring the quality of service
Overall, it is crucial for the smooth functioning of a support center.
Why should companies care ?
With customers willing to pay more for companies that deliver excellent service, it’s very important for businesses to serve customers better. This can be through investing in a better support tool, investing in a powerful communication platform or by hiring the right people for the customer-facing teams.