It is that time of the year again when managers, executives, interns, and almost everyone in the team huddle together to plan for the next year.
What should be the annual budget for the coming year?
Have customers raised any new requests?
What is the future roadmap?
How many new hires do we need?
Many questions. Many ideas. Many decisions.
As 2019 inches close to an end and 2020 is coming around the corner, we can’t help but take a step back and wonder what kind of customer service trends will materialize in 2020. After all, it is trends that become mainstream processes.
So, how would customer care service evolve in 2020? What are the trends that would steer it forward? Here is a bird’s eye look at the expected top trends.
We are living in an era where one individual has access and control over multiple screens than ever before. In fact, studies by Google affirm that 90% of users switch between screens to complete tasks, using an average of three different combinations every day.
The ability to use multiple screens for the same task delivers great customer experiences. Your next customer support ticket could be a call, an email, tweet, a DM, or even a video. Customers are increasingly resorting to multiple mediums to make their voices heard to the businesses that they deal with. That hints of an oncoming trend — omnichannel support.
In fact, customer support veterans would argue that this is not a trend but an evolution that would have eventually come to customer care support. Either way, in 2020, customer support would take the omnichannel route. Businesses will start catering to customers through all channels, including — phone, email, social media channel, and so on.
A business that makes its customer win is a business that will eventually win. But, for how long can a business keep the customer winning at the cost of its own profitability? At some point in time, it has to apply brakes on excessive customer pampering and focus on mutually beneficial solutions that will create a win-win situation for the business and customer satisfaction.
It is here that customer success stories come in. Customer success has been around for a while now. Until now, its focus has been on reducing customer churn and keeping customer loyalty. In the years to come, including 2020, there will be a small shift in the approach to customer success.
The shift would feature more focus on revenue generation, in addition to churn reduction. The revenue generation activities would be fuelled by upselling and cross-selling campaigns. The end result would be a business that is able to scale quickly without incurring high customer acquisition costs.
There is hardly any business function which Artificial Intelligence has not touched base with. From the process-intensive manufacturing to the high-risk capital marketings, AI has penetrated every business function and industry. Customer support is one function where its impact would be significantly felt in 2020.
Chatbots have already become a favorite among businesses. Artificially intelligent chatbots enable businesses to deal with the torrent of customer service requests. They help automate responses to low-value and high-frequency requests that do not require human interference.
For example, a chatbot can help a bank’s customers fetch real-time account information. In the travel space, it can help chart out an itinerary based on the user’s preferred location. The use cases for ai chatbots are literally endless. That makes them a surefire trend for customer service that will catch on in 2020.
A classic example of chatbots for customer service is the Bank of America’s chatbot named Erica that helps customers with a plethora of services, including spend-tracking, credit score insights, bill reminders, and of course, customer service.
Live chat and co-browsing
Imagine this scenario. There is a complex software in place which the customer recently purchased. Implementing and using that software requires a certain amount of handholding. Deploying a specialist in the location is not recommended since it will take the support costs sky high.
The best option would be to take the virtual route where the customer and the customer support agent is able to work on the same window at the same time. Now, this can be done in two ways. One, with the help of live chat software. Two with the help of co-browsing.
Live chat has been around for a while. It has been used by business owners predominantly to attend to website visitors who check-in when agents are not available to attend to them. With time, live chat tools have become more potent. Today, they are powered by Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing. These technologies enable them to converse with customers as humans do.
The end result?
Heightened customer engagement.
Co-browsing, on the other hand, is like screen sharing, but in a secured and controlled manner. It is most beneficial when two users have to get on the same page to look around and figure things out. Exactly what a customer rep would be doing to a new user who is trying to get used to new software.
Live chat and co-browsing tools like Acquire enable businesses with customer interaction like they are sitting right next to them when they are actually working from a remote location.
There is nothing more personal and more engaging than video support. Video support can step in and solve problems when live chat and co-browsing feel inadequate. The visual nature of the video, combined with the easy access to information, makes it a perfect medium for users to understand.
In fact, most businesses have started integrated instructional videos into their knowledge bases and frequently asked question sections with a view to improve customer solve issues quickly. Furthermore, connecting with customers over a video call creates a unique opportunity through which complex problems can be solved in a short span of time. If you are wondering how it is possible to blend customer support and video calling, here is how a generic video support interface would look like:
As we step into 2020, we can expect to see more customer support agents step out of their shells and start facing customers face-to-face on video calls.
If given a choice of whether to solve issues on their own or wait for assistance, three-fourth of customers would prefer the former choice. Turns out faster response time is the number one expectation of customers from customer service teams. When resources are short, and customer queries are many, how can a customer support team offer solutions?
Enter, self-service. Self-service portals have been around for a while. FAQs and knowledge-based articles are all primary forms of self-service. They enable customers to find resolutions to pressing issues on their own without having to rely on a customer rep. In fact, according to a study published by Prof. Steven Van Belleghem, 40% of customers prefer self-service over human contact.
Given the pace at which mobile applications have evolved, self-service will become a strong customer service medium in 2020.
Personalized customer support
If there is one theme that will never go out of trend, it would be personalization. Every individual who pays money for a product or service expects personalization. The same tenet applies to customer service, as well. Customers expect the businesses that they deal with to know what plan they are on, the whole context of previous interactions, and the special instructions they have given so far.
When businesses deliver on personalized customer support, customers feel valued and well-attended to. But, that calls for serious weight-lifting from the side of customer support teams. They have to dig up past data about the customers from multiple touchpoints and consolidate them to have a unified view of the customer.
Such a unified view of customers cannot be created through manual means. Businesses have to invest in CRM and data analytics tools that will help converge data from multiple touchpoints. This is one area where customer service will grow with strides in 2020.
Bringing it All Together
In this customer experience-driven era, customer service is a critical function. If delivered the right way, it can become the differentiator for a business. Think about how Amazon has become renowned for its customer service. Or how Apple treats every single customer who walks into their brick and mortar (or glass) stores.
The objective of customer service is to delight customers. This objective has remained as it is since the very first business transaction. However, as the years pass, the medium and the manner in which customer service is delivered will undergo a sea change. In 2020, it will be characterized by the trends discussed above.
How is your business going to gear up for these upcoming trends in customer service?
Ashwini Dave is passionate about Business, Entrepreneurship, E-commerce, emerging technology and Digital Marketing. She is working with Acquire as a digital marketing expert. She is a free soul and adventurous scholar who spends her free time with herself, loved once, music, as well as watching & playing sports. She is ocean addicted and on roads being a thrill-seeking traveler to get new experiences as she looks at life as our very own works of art.