In the ever-evolving landscape of customer service, the pursuit of customer success has become paramount. With companies striving to deliver excellent customer service, understanding the customer journey and integrating the latest customer service trends are crucial. Businesses need to be up-to-speed with the emerging customer service trends on digitalization and changing customer demands to effectively address their customers’ needs.
In this article, we gathered and explained the top 7 customer service trends in 2023 to address this gap.
1- Customer expectations for personalized experience are increasing.
- 90% of customers say they will spend more with companies that personalize the customer service for them.
- Customers today expect companies to put their needs and interests at the forefront. They want to feel valued and understood by the brands they interact with. This is driving businesses to make a strategic shift toward a more customer-centric approach.
- Customers prefer receiving information and offers that are relevant to them. They want to feel like the communication they receive is specifically designed for them, not just a mass, generic message.
- With the rise of digital technologies, businesses have more access to customer data than ever before, and they can use this information to create more personalized and meaningful interactions.
2- Automation in customer service operations is higher than ever.
Automation is a customer service trend consistent over years. Automation in customer service refers to the use of technologies to streamline and enhance customer interactions, reduce manual tasks for the customer service team, and improve operational efficiency. Some automation technologies in the customer service include:
- Customer service software
- Help desk software
- Cloud contact center solutions
- Contact center AI
- Social customer service
- Process automation
- Chatbots and virtual assistants
According to a report, 40% of companies that turned on automation and AI between September 2019 to September 2021 saw a 15% or higher improvement in first reply time. Moreover, 76% of customer service executives are planning to invest in AI technologies for automating customer service and contact center operations.
Salesforce is the CRM market leader and Salesforce Service Cloud platform designed specifically for customer service and support with AI-driven assistants. Service Cloud enables workflow automation for many branches of the customer service by streamlining customer support processes, managing cases, and providing an exceptional customer experience by centralizing customer interactions and data in one unified platform.
3- Customers expect companies to offer self service options.
Self service options allow customers to resolve their issues or find the information they need without having to reach out to customer service agents. This includes actions like:
- Checking account balances
- Making changes to orders
- Updating account details
- Finding answers to common questions in FAQs
- Troubleshooting problems using guides or tutorials
Self service tools are a preference for customers as they often provide immediate solutions without the wait times associated with traditional customer service channels. However, while 81% of customers expect an increase in self service options, 40% of businesses believe they already provide sufficient choices. Companies should follow customer trends to meet their expectations.
In fact, according to McKinsey, 65% of customer service leaders report a decrease in the call volume when self service options are improved. This shows that implementing self service options is a win-win for businesses.
For learning how to implement self service successfully, you should check our article on the customer self service tool selection guide.
4- Chatbots and other messaging channels are consistently becoming popular among customers.
Chatbots are designed to interact with humans in their natural languages. These interactions typically occur through messaging platforms, websites, or mobile apps. Unlike a customer support team, chatbots can function 24/7 and provide immediate responses, which is highly advantageous when customers expect quick, anytime assistance.
Moreover, messaging channels align with the current usage trends. People are spending more time on messaging apps, like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Slack, both for personal communication and interacting with businesses. These platforms offer a familiar and convenient way for customers to communicate and can often support rich media, like photos and videos, to enhance the conversation.
Customer experience trends show that there is an increase in messaging and chat options in the customer service, with WhatsApp being the highest used channel.
Source: Zendesk Blog
Companies are aware of this trend. Deloitte reports that, more than 70% of customer service and contact center leaders state that they either fully adopted or are planning to adopt virtual assistants and chatbots in customer service operations.
However, despite the growing popularity of chatbots and messaging channels, it’s important to note that they are part of a broader omnichannel customer service strategy.
5- The preference for social media platforms to reach out for customer support is one of the emerging trends.
Social customer service is an indispensable asset for businesses. Many customers spend a significant amount of time on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. As such, it’s convenient and natural for them to reach out to businesses through these same platforms for support or inquiries. In the US, 20% of consumers expect immediate response from companies on social media, followed by 24% waiting for a response within an hour.
Social media makes customer service interactions public. This visibility puts pressure on companies to respond effectively and promptly, as their handling of issues can impact their brand image and customer loyalty. On the other hand, successfully resolving issues can demonstrate to other customers and potential customers that the company values its customers and handles their concerns well.
The social nature of these platforms also makes it easier for customers to share their experiences with others. Happy customers can become advocates for the brand, while dissatisfied customers can quickly spread negative feedback.
For more on the customer feedback tools that help companies analyze customer data, here is our vendor selection guide.
6- Modern customer service teams are switching to remote work.
The shift toward remote work for customer service teams has been influenced by several factors, many of which were accelerated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Primarily, advancements in technology have made remote work feasible. Modern customer service tools are often cloud-based, meaning they can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This includes:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
- Chat platforms
- Help desk software
- Contact center AI software
- Video conferencing tools
- Customer service software
As such, customer service reps can perform their jobs from home just as effectively as they could in an office. Customer service positions are the fastest-growing remote jobs by LinkedIn application volume.
Source: LinkedIn Talent Blog
Another factor driving this trend is the expansion of customer service to include digital channels like email, live chat, and social media. These channels can be managed from anywhere, making them well-suited to a remote work environment.
7- Proactive customer service is becoming a priority for companies.
Proactive customer service, the practice of anticipating and resolving customer issues before they arise, is becoming a priority for businesses. This contrasts with traditional reactive customer service, where businesses respond to issues only after they arise. 68% of consumers are impressed when they are sent proactive notifications.1
This shift is driven by the desire to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and the availability of data analytics to predict potential problems. In proactive customer service, businesses use data analysis and customer behavior prediction to anticipate issues before they occur. It can also involve keeping customers informed about updates, changes, or anything that may impact their experience. For instance:
- If a certain product has shown frequent defects after a specific period, companies can reach out to customers to address potential concerns and provide solutions before customers encounter any problems.
- If a website or service is expected to go down for maintenance, letting customers know ahead of time can prevent frustration.
If you need help in finding vendors, we can help:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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