Customer Service Trends for 2023
The customer support industry needs to become more customer-focused. Companies that go above and beyond for customer satisfaction will naturally have a competitive edge. Here are the top trends in customer service for 2023.
Once upon a time, in the not-so-distant past, customer support was seen as a necessary but mundane task. Customers patiently waited on hold and followed complex instruction manuals to build up anything.
Cut to today; customer service trends have changed.
It’s 2023, and businesses are competing in an ever-changing landscape. Customers expect companies to provide instant gratification with personalized experiences. They quickly switch to a competitor or leave a ghastly review on social media after only one bad experience.
Your business is at risk if you fail to meet your customers’ needs. It’s high time you raise the bar for customer support.
Takeaway? Understanding emerging customer service trends is important. Because with this knowledge you’ll be able to practice proactive customer service and deliver good customer service.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the top customer service trends that help you meet and exceed your customers’ expectations.
From adopting omnichannel support to leveraging AI-powered chatbots, we’ll explore the latest strategies a leading customer support team uses to deliver outstanding customer service.
What are customers looking for in 2023?
As a business owner, it’s crucial to understand what your customers expect from the customer service team. Each company has a unique customer base with different expectations, so it’s essential to identify your needs before implementing any trends.
For instance, a large enterprise may use social media as a support platform. They may already have an extensive following and resources to hire social media managers. However, a small business might prefer live chat or video support. They need more resources and more time than a large enterprise.
Therefore, it’s crucial to consider your customers’ preferences before blindly adopting any trend. Do what satisfies your customers, different from what other companies are doing.
In summary, customers want:
- personalized customer support
- real-time assistance
- empathetic customer service representatives
- self-service options
- secure support.
To achieve these objectives, you can adopt various methods and trends. From omnichannel support to augment reality, the list is endless. But, the ultimate goal remains the same – customer satisfaction.
Now that you clearly understand your customers’ needs and expectations let’s dive into the latest customer service trends.
What are the future trends in customer service?
The future of customer service requires the “customer” to be at the center of the flywheel. Everything revolves around customer happiness. Below are the top trends that you can expect in the near future:
Most companies assume that customers will contact them if they need support. It turns out that customers hardly want to engage with your support team. According to a study by Zendesk, 67% of customers prefer helping themselves over speaking to customer support personnel.
The reasons? Long waiting times or rude customer service staff may cause customers to take matters into their own hands. Self-service is easy. It allows customers to access information, solve problems, and manage their accounts without interacting with customer service executives.
Moreover, the benefits of helping themselves go both ways. It helps customers and reduces the workload of customer support agents in your company. Self-service channels are cost-effective and improve overall customer satisfaction.
A survey by Mckinsey shows that 77% of organizations have built digital platforms to provide self-service options to their customers. In the future, more and more companies will combine self-service platforms with human interaction to provide overall customer satisfaction.
A focus on security
As companies begin to collect more and more customer data, security becomes a significant concern among customers. With growing cases of data breaches and information thefts, customers want a secure support system.
As per the recent study by PwC, 48% of the millennials and 45% of the Gen Z respondents are worried about data privacy. Moreover, with the rise of AI, security has become a leading cause of concern.
Gartner says that 75% of companies will hire AI forensic, privacy, and customer behavior specialists to monitor its functionality and prevent misuse of customer information.
All this data suggests that companies are aware of growing concerns around security. They are doing what they can to ensure users that their information is safe. Customers also require proof such as GDPR and SOC2 compliance before they agree to share their data.
A holistic approach to customer experience
Customer support demands a holistic approach rather than being one department in a company. Customers now demand a seamless experience across all touchpoints in the company. Additionally, customer experience surpasses the product itself.
According to a report by Walker, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Companies must prioritize customer experience in their business strategy to stay competitive.
To achieve this, all departments must work together to provide a consistent and positive customer experience. Companies realize the importance of customer service to deliver a positive customer experience. They’re working to make it a part of their overall company culture.
For instance, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh empowered his employees to send flowers and cards to their customers. Employees at Zappos for above and beyond to satisfy customers. They chatted with one call for over 10 hours and found pizza places for hungry customers.
While selling the company to Amazon, Tony also said, “We’re a very customer-focused company. We just focus on different ways of making customers happy.”
Customers expect a seamless experience across all channels – not just on customer service calls. While calls have long waiting times, Omnichannel support allows customers to find quick solutions through multiple channels.
According to a report by Aberdeen Group, companies with robust omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.
Five popular channels for customer support are:
- Social media: Marketers are getting more involved in customer service on social media, with 60% of marketers saying they use social media for customer service, according to a report by Sprout Social. Companies use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to address customer queries. Social media also allows companies to showcase their responsiveness and commitment to customer satisfaction.
- Live and video chat: Live chat is also becoming a popular channel for customer service for its immediacy and convenience. Additionally, video chat is emerging as a trend, with companies using video chat to provide more personalized and immersive experiences for customers.
- Email: Email is the oldest and most reliable channel for customer support. With emails, support agents automatically get a written record of the conversation. Emails also allow you to attach audio or video files along with screenshots. It comes in handy in case of a complex issue.
- Phone: Phone calls are famous for their human element. In phone calls, customers interact with support executives who understand their concerns and provide solutions with empathy. A drawback of this channel is that phone calls generally have a long waiting line. So customers flee to other media for support.
- Self-service portals: Self-service portals are nothing but websites and mobile apps where customers can find solutions themselves. These portals contain FAQs, knowledge bases, tutorials, or troubleshooting guides. They reduce the need for direct interaction with the support team.
Real-Time support with AI
These days customers expect quick and efficient solutions to their problems. To fulfill their demands, companies are investing in chatbots and voice-activated personal assistants to provide instant customer support.
Unlike people, these AI tools are not restricted by working hours, time zone differences,s, and illness. They can provide 24/7 support. They allow companies to deliver ‘always-on’ customer service truly.
Two popular AI tools for real-time support are chatbots and voice-activated personal assistants:
- Chatbots are proven to improve customer satisfaction and reduce response time. According to a report by IBM, chatbots can handle up to 80% of routine customer service inquiries, and their adoption can reduce customer service costs by up to 30%.
- Voice-activated personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant are also becoming popular for real-time support. They provide a hands-free, convenient way to interact with a customer service agent.
Customer service on mobile
When people use mobiles for everything else, why not customer support? Customers interact with support personnel and find solutions without opening their laptops. They prefer messaging over email or phone.
Moreover, providing customer support on mobiles lets customers offer convenience and personalization. For example, companies use mobile apps to provide customized recommendations and promotions based on customer behavior and preferences.
According to a report by Apptentive, companies that provide mobile customer service see higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Companies with a mobile app see a 12% increase in customer loyalty, and companies with in-app messaging see a 17% increase in customer loyalty.
Personalized customer service
According to Zendesk Customer Service Trend Report, 59% of customers believe companies should use their data to personalize the customer experience. Customers are aware that companies extract data from multiple sources. So why not customers reek benefits from it?
Another interesting statistic from the report is that 69% of the customers prefer personalized recommendations rather than general ones. 60% of them can even differentiate personalized recommendations from generic
This study proves that personalization goes beyond a one-size-fits-all approach. Customers are looking for customized offers, recommendations, and solutions unique to their preferences.
A company that efficiently leverages data from product, sales, marketing, and support will gain a competitive edge in the market. Everybody has data on customer behavior. It’s a matter of who combines it correctly and finds patterns and behaviors that help deliver the right message at the right time.
Customer service teams working from home
After the pandemic, the customer support teams have experienced a significant shift towards working from home. And why not? A key factor contributing to support groups working from home is the increased availability of communication tools.
Everybody – both support agents and their customers – owns a mobile or laptop. It makes it easy for support agents to solve queries from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, the changing work dynamic of the modern workforce has contributed to this trend.
Many employees want flexibility, and remote work has become a popular option. On top of this, many tools have come into existence that make it easy for support teams to work from home.
For instance, project management tools, email marketing tools, collaboration tools, cloud storage tools, and business phone solutions. There’s less need for support personnel to report to the office every day.
The influence of new technologies
The customer support industry is rapidly evolving due to the influence of technology. Cybersecurity, IoT, cloud computing, and VR/AR are just a few examples of new-age tech in customer support.
As companies adopt these technologies, they can provide more personalized and efficient customer support, which leads to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Here are some examples of how specific technologies are changing customer support:
- Cybersecurity: Customers now interact with companies through various channels – mobile, social media, live chat, etc. It makes their personal and financial data vulnerable to cyber-attacks. So, companies are investing heavily in cybersecurity technologies to protect customer data and build trust.
Companies also implement multi-factor authentication, encryption, and other security measures to protect customer data. Proof of rising demand for cybersecurity is this report by Grand View Research. It states that the global cybersecurity market is expected to reach $267.73 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 11.0% from 2020 to 2027.
- IoT (Internet of Things): IoT provides real-time customer behavior and preferences insights. It’s changing the way companies interact with customers. Companies use IoT data to personalize customer experiences and proactively address customer needs.
For example, John Deere, a British tractor and farm equipment company, uses IoT to boost performance. The IoT sensors collect and analyze equipment information and predict when maintenance is needed. It allows John Deere to address issues before they become customer problems proactively.
According to a report by Gartner, the IoT market is expected to grow to $1.1 trillion by 2026. This presents a massive opportunity for companies to use IoT data to improve customer support.
- Cloud Computing: Cloud computing provides companies with scalable, flexible, cost-effective solutions. Cloud-based customer support platforms centralize support operations, streamline processes, and provide consistent support across multiple channels.
With cloud computing, customer support teams can access real-time data. They can collaborate remotely and leverage advanced analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences.
For example, Salesforce’s cloud-based customer support solution, Service Cloud, enables companies to provide personalized and efficient customer support across all channels.
- Virtual and Augmented Reality: Virtual and augmented reality technologies provide immersive and interactive experiences for customers. Companies use VR and AR to offer product demonstrations, training, and troubleshooting.
For example, Lowe’s uses AR to provide customers with a virtual preview of how products will look in their homes before buying them.
Virtual and augmented reality also lets customers with training and onboarding, where customers learn about products and services in a virtual environment. For instance, a customer needs to install a complex home security system. Installation would be easier if he relied solely on written instructions or phone support.
Instead, the customer can use a VR headset and receive step-by-step visual guidance in a virtual environment. The VR experience can overlay virtual instructions, diagrams, and animations onto real-world objects. It would make installation a piece of cake.
Rising customer expectations
Customer demands are through the roof for various customer service aspects. Here are some of the top departments that customers want companies to work on:
- Quick response times: Customers now expect a faster response from customer support channels. Whether through phone calls, emails, or live chat, 90% of customers expect an “immediate” response, and 82% expect a prompt reply within 10 minutes.
- 24/7 availability: With the advent of technology and the rise of online businesses, customers expect round-the-clock availability of customer support. To achieve this, you can always install service portals for instant approval.
- Personalized experiences: Customers expect personalized experiences and tailored solutions to their problems. According to a report by Accenture, 75% of customers are more likely to purchase from a company that recognizes them by name, knows their purchase history, and recommends products based on their preferences.
- Seamless omnichannel support: Customers expect a seamless experience across multiple channels, including phone, email, chat, social media, and self-service portals. They expect consistent support regardless of the channel they use and demand a unified and integrated experience across all touchpoints.
- Proactive problem-solving: Customers expect companies to anticipate their needs and proactively address potential issues before they escalate.
- Empowered customer service agents: Customers expect customer service agents to be knowledgeable and empowered. Customers expect agents to resolve their issues in a single interaction. They expect a high level of expertise and professionalism from customer support representatives.
According to a report by Microsoft, 61% of customers have stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service. Moreover, 95% of customers say that customer service is important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand.
Companies must recognize and respond to rising customer expectations to stay competitive and meet the evolving demands of today’s customers.
Using customer data and analytics
Using customer data and analytics is a growing trend in the customer support industry. Companies collect data based on customer behavior and analyze it to find valuable insights. Once you highlight set behavior patterns, you can use them to market products and upsell your existing customers.
Commonly, two types of data analytics are prevalent in the market:
- Predictive analytics: Predictive analytics leverages historical data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning techniques to forecast future outcomes or behaviors. For example, companies can analyze past customer interactions, purchase patterns, and feedback to predict future customer needs and preferences. This allows companies to proactively address customer issues, provide personalized recommendations, and tailor support experiences to meet individual customer expectations.
- Descriptive analytics focuses on understanding historical data to gain insights into past customer behaviors, trends, and patterns. For example, companies can analyze customer support tickets, feedback, and social media interactions to identify common pain points. They tap into recurring issues and areas for improvement. This helps companies identify the root causes of problems and make data-driven decisions to address them, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Data transparency is also becoming increasingly important in the customer support industry. Customers are more aware of their data privacy rights and expect companies to handle their data responsibly. First, you seek customers’ consent to use their data. Then, you must be transparent about how they collect and use data.
According to Mckinsey, 87% of customers say they will only do business with a company if concerned about its data practices. Therefore, companies must balance using customer data to enhance support and respect customer privacy preferences.
The customer support industry needs to become more customer-focused. Companies that go above and beyond for customer satisfaction will naturally have a competitive edge. Below is what we can conclude:
- Customers want more self-service options to reduce the time spent on customer service.
- Customers are concerned about their data privacy. They will only work with a transparent company about how they use customer data.
- Companies must instill a culture of customer support within the organization.
- Customers need omnichannel support. They want to support through phone, email, chat, and social media.
- Companies must use AI tools like chatbots and voice assistants to meet the demand for real-time support.
- Companies must go above and beyond to provide hyper-personalized support to their customers. This includes product recommendations based on customers’ unique preferences.
- Customer service teams can work from home.
- New-age techs like IoT, VR, AR, Cybersecurity, and Cloud computing will become a norm in the future.
- Customer expectations are through the roof when it comes to personalized support. They expect quick responses, 24/7 support, seamless omnichannel support, and proactive problem-solving.
- Companies will use more data analytics in customer support. Customers are also fine with sharing data only if companies ensure they will protect it.
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