Customers have grown to expect top-quality customer service, with little patience for brands that don’t provide it. With so much competition for every product and service available, consumers can easily conduct a Web search for a better option, leaving bad reviews for poor-performing brands as they go. As a result, businesses eventually lose customers instead of growing as they’d planned.
This year’s customer service trends expand on emerging technologies that are making a big difference in the way brands interact with their customers. Here are seven of the top trends impacting customer service in 2016.
Trends Impacting Customer Service
The Customer Perspective
Usability testing has created an ultra-competitive environment where tech-savvy brands are testing their products, services and marketing efforts to improve the customer experience. Everything from a business’s website to the products it puts in stores must be easy to learn and enjoyable. In 2016, brands will feel increasing pressure to see everything from the customer’s perspective to win business over competitors. Here are a few trends impacting customer service this year.
The Smartphone Movement is well underway, with mobile use exceeding PC use. The same is true for mobile ad spending, as businesses seek to reach customers on the devices they’re using every day. Brands will continue to shift their mindset to mobile when providing customer service, finding ways to incorporate better service into their mobile apps and make customer service options easier to use when on a touchscreen-based device.
Omnichannel is Here
The online experience is no longer considered separate from the in-store experience, with customers researching and sometimes even buying items online, then picking the items up or returning them in person. The opposite is true, as well, as customers research items in store, only to purchase them online. Brands are increasingly realizing the importance of offering a seamless transition between the brick-and-mortar, mobile, and desktop experience.
Knowledge is Power
Thanks to the emergence of data analytics solutions, brands are realizing that when they have information, they can use it to improve ROI. This includes monitoring how customers interact with their websites and apps, then adjusting things accordingly. Brands will also begin to log information and use it to personalize customer service, including their birthdays, previous interactions they’ve had with company representatives, and prior purchases.
When customers can search a database for the help they need, those customers benefit from faster service and brands benefit by not having to dedicate resources to assisting customers. Mobile self-support is the hot tool in customer service software, offering brands a way to build knowledge bases directly into their mobile apps or websites. With so many customers now using smartphones and tablets, self-service must be mobile optimized to succeed.
In addition to personalizing interactions, brands will also need to be able to connect with customers based on location without having to ask. Help desks will be handed information on a device’s location, allowing them to determine a customer’s area of the country to provide better service. This information will also help marketing teams better reach out to customers, deploying ads that match their proximity to a brick-and-mortar location.
Easy Customer Service
Customers no longer have the patience to spend 10 minutes pressing buttons to get through a phone tree, only to wait on hold for a half an hour. Callback options will increase in popularity for phone-based customers, allowing them to leave a number for a call once a representative is available. Online chat will prove a popular alternative, as well.
Customer service teams must improve their efforts in 2016 to remain competitive. Through personalizing each experience and offering multiple ways to get help, brands can keep customer service levels high without adding multiple employees to their teams.
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