More and more, customer service is evolving towards a technology-based process, with new trends emerging every year. The expectations from consumers are progressing right along with this evolution; in fact, according to Salesforce
, 84% of customers agreed that the experience a business provides is just as significant as its products and services. With the online experience becoming increasingly important, keeping up with the latest trends in customer service can be the key to success for your business. Here, we outline some of the more noteworthy customer service trends for 2022.
An Uptake in Self-Service Options for Customers
One of the most predominant trends in customer service for 2022 is customer self
-service. Not all customer interactions require direct contact with a human representative. Many consumer inquiries can be addressed via FAQ pages, customer forums, knowledge bases, and chatbots
. Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots are becoming increasingly popular, and more businesses are using them to answer routine questions and redirect customer requests to the appropriate individuals or departments. FAQ pages address a variety of common queries at the click of a link. Customer forums allow for an open and frank discussion with existing clientele, all of these options cut down on wait time and increase efficiency. Providing more comprehensive do-it-yourself options helps your customers and reduces the workload on your customer support staff. Naturally, certain scenarios still require human interaction, so I'm not saying the days of “Please hold. Your call is important to us,”
are completely in the past. But a comprehensive roster of self-service options is one of the basic expectations for successful businesses in 2022.
In that same vein, the speed with which customers get a response to their inquiries is a huge factor in their overall satisfaction. So much so, that two-thirds of consumers surveyed say they'd be willing to pay extra for a superior customer experience. Additionally, living in a digital age means that consumers are bombarded with options for products and services, and their patience is growing ever thinner. 71% of customers
now expect businesses to communicate with them in real-time, proving that a business that is available to engage with their customers has a significant advantage over those that don't. Customer service software has made it possible for businesses to extend real-time support 24/7, without passing the workload along to their staff (or hiring more staff, for that matter).
E-commerce has, of course, seen considerable growth over the past few years, and it's not likely to slow down. Now the trend is extending to other digital channels. Social media applications
are broadening their features to allow customers who are already using these apps to actually purchase the items and services they're looking at. Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and WhatsApp are some of the platforms that have been adapted to allow shoppers to chat with their favorite brands, explore personalized recommendations before making a purchase, and receive automatic responses to their questions. Expanding your customer service towards social media will allow your business to cover more ground and increase your customers' overall satisfaction with your company.
The Use of Data
While most companies are currently collecting data to optimize their sales & marketing teams, few have been using it towards improving their customer service departments. This will see a shift, too, in 2022. Businesses will add key performance indicators (KPIs) such as Net Promoter Scores, first response times, and average response times to improve their overall customer experience. These KPIs directly link to the efficiency of a customer support team and can be compared to benchmarks within the industry as a means to set achievable goals. Beyond that, collected data can also be used to pinpoint the most common questions, and that information can be used to develop macros to respond to them. All of which broadens the scope of information available to your customers and increases the efficiency of your support team.
The Green Machine
With more awareness about social issues and climate change, and a keener interest in sustainability, consumers are now expecting greater global accountability from the brands they support. 91% of consumers
expect companies to operate responsibly while addressing social and environmental issues. But it's also important for businesses to walk the talk: claiming your company is socially and environmentally responsible while not being transparent about your efforts and progress tends to deter customers. Being upfront and offering information on exactly how your products and services uphold your claims (made with renewable resources, locally sourced, etc.) can go a long way towards increasing client loyalty. Customers are requesting more transparency from companies, and they are more likely to support the brands and businesses that fall in line with their values and priorities.
With more companies going digital, the customer experience is becoming increasingly important. Your customers are the lifeline to your business, and keeping them informed, engaged, and satisfied can only lead you to further success. For more industry news, please visit our blog
, or subscribe to our newsletter.