A study of customer support trends shows that enhancing the overall experience is a key business differentiating factor. Companies realize that it's no longer enough to offer the best service or product. Customers’ feelings about their overall interactions with the company may be more important.
According to the touchpoint theory, the consumer's overall experience is a collection of tangible and intangible perceptions throughout their interaction with a brand. Some touchpoints can be more important than others, depending on the customer and their circumstances. One key foundational idea is basing standards on maximizing positive experiences.
The next step is differentiating the framework. This is necessary since it will synchronize your brand with a specific customer experience style. It entails taking a generic customer experience standard and personalizing it to reflect your company's values.
According to Sogosurvey, excellent customer experience produces brand loyalty. It's quite easy to build a positive reputation by offering a reasonably priced product that delivers on the promise. Similarly, you can lose a customer just as easily if the quality of your products doesn't satisfy them.
Modern customers are sophisticated since they have access to the internet. They don't react well to poor customer service and quickly punish brands that don't respect them. These customers want personalized, helpful, and friendly services delivered immediately.
Customer support trends have to accommodate these demands since consumers are more empowered than ever. They understand that businesses can deliver excellent services and won't settle for less.
Another point to consider is that major companies have stepped up on customer experience. Amazon has a positive reputation for ensuring that online merchants satisfy their customers. Those that ship fake or damaged items lose their privileges quickly. If Amazon loyalists come to your offline or online store, they expect the same level of protection.
You can improve your services by keeping up with the following trends:
- Foster communication across multiple channels
- Deliver greater focus on mobile trends
- Use AI integrations
- Use social media for engagement
- Focus on hyper-personalization
These trends are necessary for businesses to maximize customer experience offline and online.
1. Communication Across Multiple Channels
The omnichannel approach to communication is an excellent solution for customer engagement. As one of the leading customer support trends, it refers to communication through multiple platforms depending on convenience. For example, a customer shouldn't have to wait until they get to a computer to communicate via chat functionality on your website. You should have a mobile-optimized website that supports online chat.
Omnichannel communication doesn't just entail providing a list of support options. They have to be integrated so that transitioning between them is effortless. Omnichannel support allows customers to choose the most appropriate platform to contact customer care agents. For instance, if the customer wants a simple question answered, and isn’t in a hurry, they can use SMS or chat. The customer may want your company to respond urgently in other cases, prompting them to make a call.
In other situations, the customer may want to send attachments for your support to review specific information. Email or instant messaging will be the most appropriate platform since they have ready attachment tools. With support for omnichannel, the customer retains control over their preferred communication methods.
Omnichannel support is more important than ever. Studies show that 70% of customers believe that connection to a business is necessary to stay loyal to the brand. In addition, more than 80% of customers are willing to surrender their personal information to businesses if it leads to a better connection.
The following are some of the benefits of an omnichannel experience:
- Customers have more choices
- There is an improvement in customer retention and sales
- It caters to a broader audience
- It makes it easy to collect data
An omnichannel approach benefits customers and businesses, leading to greater satisfaction and sales.
2. Greater Focus on Mobile Customer Support Trends
The shift from desktop to mobile computing has inspired companies to focus on smartphone experiences. Businesses that don't have an app or a website optimized for mobile will be left behind.
Today, customers use mobile devices to handle most of their communication, banking, shopping, planning, and entertainment. As smartphones continue to bridge the gap with computers, the mobile trend will likely continue. To understand the popularity of mobile devices in business, you should review traditional services offered by companies.
Back then, if a customer was lucky enough to have access to a landline, they would start their journey by getting the company's number from Yellow Pages or newspapers. They'd have to key in the number, listen to various IVR prompts, select choices on the keypad, and hopefully get access to customer support.
Today, customers can log into the company's app so that their profiles pop on the contact center agents' CRM platform. It allows the support to initiate the call "in context" of the matter at hand. This approach saves time and leads to better overall engagement.
A positive mobile user experience is necessary since it leads to higher customer satisfaction and maximizes sales. Mobile UX should be a priority of businesses in the modern era. While the most powerful computer is miles ahead of the greatest smartphone designed, the latter is more practical for mobility purposes. The mobile computing space is also innovating faster than the desktop area. It means that the gap will continue to shrink.
Major websites are starting to see more mobile engagement over smartphones than PCs. According to Business Insider, Google has more users searching the web on smartphones than on traditional computers in the United States. Notably, this is a big deal since Google.com is the most popular website globally.
3. AI Integrations
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the top customer support trends businesses need to look out for. Some companies have already integrated AI into their marketing, communication, and customer support functions.
The most popular implementation of AI is in chatbots that can handle contextual questions. These tools are necessary for businesses handling many chat requests daily. A chatbot can easily handle most communication while the human representatives address more urgent matters. If the chatbot runs into problems, it's programmed to alert a customer support agent who takes over and completes the task.
Another excellent use of chatbots is allowing companies to operate on a 24/7 basis. A business doesn't have to have customer support staff working at night when AI operations can handle most communication.
In practice, most companies will have a handful of staff supported by the chatbots at off-peak hours. It saves company resources as the business doesn't expect much engagement at night. In addition, the few customers that need to contact human representatives have someone to assist them.
The concept of AI CX (artificial intelligence customer experience) has been implemented by some businesses. It involves leveraging deep learning, machine learning, and natural language understanding to streamline the customer experience.
AI can transform your business quickly while saving you unnecessary costs. Here are a few benefits of implementing AI:
- AI yields hyper-relevant digital ads
- It produces personalized search algorithms
- Customers can find cheap prices using AI
- AI delivers immediate answers to customer queries
- AI can anticipate and prevent issues impacting CX
Implementing artificial intelligence doesn't have to be resource-intensive. The technology allows partial deployment in specific aspects of a business. A good place to start would be customer support.
4. Use of Social Media for Engagement
Social media is a key customer engagement tool since it lets you take advantage of free resources availed by various networks. As one of the most popular customer support trends emerging from web 2.0, social media has allowed billions of people worldwide to access the internet easily by connecting them with their friends, family, and acquaintances.
Businesses are using social media to increase the popularity of their products and services, engage with customers, and build brands. In some cases, they're doing all this without having to spend a dime. Traditionally, they'd have to set aside a massive budget to handle these functions. As a generational technology, social media continues to evolve, meaning businesses must embrace the change as soon as it emerges.
For instance, Facebook is quite popular among Baby Boomers and older Millennials; Instagram and Snapchat attract Millennials; Gen-Zers gravitate towards TikTok. Despite the relative ease of using social media, many businesses struggle to command meaningful engagement on the platforms.
A study conducted by Edelman showed that about 60% of consumers don't trust social media. Brands have to become more agile if they hope to regain the lost trust. Businesses should watch out for the following social media trends:
- More focus on social stories
- Understanding audience-specific content
- Investing in messaging experiences
Social media has multiple roles in businesses, with the most important one being the maximization of sales through more engagement and conversion. Other key benefits include:
- Defining brand identity
- Creating stronger customer relationships
- Linking peer businesses
- Communicating with customers
Utilizing social media in the right way is critical in maximizing sales and generating stronger customer engagement linked with satisfaction.
5. Hyper-Personalization and Self-Service
The current generation of consumers is quite different from the past ones. Today, more and more customers want to do things for themselves. They don't want customer support taking over every aspect of their lives. It explains why AI-powered tools such as bots have been so successful.
The modern consumer wants to interact with their computers, smartphones, apps, and other possessions without necessarily going through a middleman. Hyper-personalization refers to the concept of bringing together behavioral data to customize customer needs, experiences, and desires.
Hyper-personalization presents numerous benefits to businesses and customers. Consumers no longer have to take much action to get what they're looking for since the common obstacles are eliminated. Consequently, this produces a simplified and uncluttered shopping experience. In addition, choice-overload, a common problem in modern shopping, is eliminated.
Hyper-personalization means that analysis-paralysis that frequently happens when users are presented with too many options is gone. You should note that presenting customers with a myriad of options is typically a bad thing. It often leads to confusion and buyers' remorse regardless of their choice. Understanding and recommending the most appropriate items is a better approach that yields more satisfaction.
As one of the customer support trends, hyper-personalization means that customers don't have to make calls to the customer support division unless they have an urgent matter. Using an app to access the services they need without a single call empowers customers by letting them take matters into their own hands.
Hyper-personalization solves the attention problem. Studies show that many consumers will lose interest in an offer within the first 8 seconds of exposure. Part of the problems comes from the information overload that characterizes modern shopping.
Using Helpware to Deliver Results
Organizations are increasingly engaging in benchmarking efforts to measure customer experience. It is a key factor in predicting consumer satisfaction and sale volume. Businesses can ensure that they align with consumer needs by recognizing and tapping into top customer support trends.
This requires businesses to recognize the role of mobile-centric marketing and communication. Businesses also need to integrate AI into their customer support function. In addition, it's necessary to support omnichannel functionalities.
Understanding social media and hyper-personalization will also allow businesses to maximize customer satisfaction. Helpware presents an all-in-one digital customer experience solution that delivers tools to maximize customer support trends. The features also allow businesses to lower their costs of operation in the long run.
Reach out to us to see what Helpware can help you achieve.