Customer service trends in 2018

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Companies are getting more and more aware of the importance of excellent customer service. A good relationship with customers has a powerful impact on sales and the brand itself. We have researched the trends of 2018 to give you a bit of advice on how to keep your customer service up to date!

Chat support will increase in importance.

The power of chat support is that customers are getting the answer immediately and have a real-time interaction. Comparing to sending emails, the same conversation on chat might take a few minutes, but through the mail, it can take days. The typical response time for an email is 24 hours, and nowadays it is way too much.

There are many chatbots available on the market, however many of them are not able to handle customer service requests and solve the problem.

 

73% of customers admitted that a bad experience with a chatbot will make them not contact the company again.
 

A smart thought-through strategy of using chatbot can be very beneficial, based on research from Forbes

 

13% of website visitors engages with the company when the company reach them proactively via chat.
 

If a customer cannot solve an issue through a chatbot, there should always be an opportunity to talk to an agent. It is crucial to be able to evaluate what kind of tasks can be handled by a chatbot and when the client should be in touch with a real human.

Use of AI will rise

According to a study by Oracle, nearly 80% of businesses will be using AI in customer service by 2020. The prediction seems to be right. However, the functionality of AI is relatively limited. In many cases, companies are using technologies that are not optimized and often cannot resolve the problem. Here the point is to guide customers to agents who are trained to provide the appropriate support. AI is the future of providing efficient customer service, but it will not replace human agents.

Implementing AI is not a solution in itself. The most important task is to choose the right software, work on designing the system and make sure that your solution enhances your customer support operation.

Investing in customer service is the first step for the company to get successful. By being helpful and efficient it is easier to keep up and gather new clients. The solution is an investment in software that helps to organize and execute customer service issues. In this article  "A Forrester Total Economic Impact™ Study Commissioned By Zendesk May 2017" it is explained what to expect while investing in Zendesk. The software has less than three months payback and an ROI of over 390% in three years.

Customers will contact you on Social Media

Companies and services continuously advertise themselves on social media, for a long time, it was a one-way message. Nowadays customers want to engage directly through social media channels.

 

63% of all customers expect companies to offer support via social media and 35% of all customers prefer it over other channels [ValueWalk].  

 

The best would be to start with it right now! It is easy to integrate support via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter into ticketing systems like Zendesk. Other channels might require custom integrations (but that’s why we are here - check our services!).

Google will become your first-line customer service agent

Whatever you need, it's accessible through Google. There you can find plenty of information, clothes, houses, services, art, and so on. This will be the first step to develop a self-service solution for customer service. It is a common practice first to search for help online and then try to reach out to a specialist, who can provide more professional assistance.  

Most of the customers will not come to your website to search for guides or FAQ. The easiest is to open a browser and use Google. The advice is always to make sure that articles are robust, up-to-date and search engine optimized. It is recommended to use video, it is usually beneficial for customers and improves SEO of the website.

 

Companies will blend domestic and international customer service

 

“In the last decade, U.S. companies have started to move customer service operations back home. 53% had significant onshore operations in 2015, up from 35% in 2010.”

 

The decision depends on the needs of the company, if the Customer Lifetime Value is high then it is affordable to invest in delivering customer service with agents. In case the Customer Lifetime Value is low, it would make sense for companies to use offshore agents, who can provide good quality without generating extra costs. The conclusion is to balance it out and evaluate what kind of service the customers can expect.

To understand more about Customer Lifetime Value, check the article  ‘The easy way to calculate Customer Lifetime Value’

More customer service reps will work from home

It is possible to perform the job from wherever the support agent is located, and it is also more cost efficient for companies to have agents working remotely. It also gives an opportunity to find more workers who are not necessarily living in urban areas or even close to the company, but can be a very talented customer service representative. The distance is not a limit!

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important to mention that all predictions are based on research and observations. The first articles about 2018 appeared some time ago when it seemed to be a far future. Overall, the vision of customer service is to be optimized and automated by using Artificial Intelligence and bots. However new technologies will never replace a human. According to the article, the most important in customer service is to follow up on the end-user, that is why social media is growing in power. The point is to be where your customers need you, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and easily searchable on Google.

 

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