January 16, 2021
2019 was a year full of learning and rapid change, and as we’ve been lucky enough to be named the global leader in Customer Service by Clutch, we thought we’d take the time to share the top trends we’re seeing in Customer Service for 2020:
AI TO SUPPLEMENT, NOT REPLACE
AI is moving faster than people can keep up. That said, customers will only fully embrace AI once they see that it can work for them and that they can trust it. There are still hurdles to overcome there, so look for AI to supplement, but not to replace humans. According to 24/7: Nearly four out of 10 consumers (39 percent) say they’re willing to have automated conversations with chatbots. Nearly one in 10 millennials (9 percent) prefers to interact with a robot instead of a human for Customer Service. But one key stat is that almost two-thirds of consumers (62 percent) prefer to interact with a human over a robot at all times.
What this means is that there are strong strides toward AI acceptance, but the majority of people still prefer talking to real people. There is a lot of buzz about AI being a replacement for humans in support, but for today it’s only hype. Just because AI is becoming a great way to supplement some support, doesn’t mean it should be a way to replace support, at least for now.
CUSTOMER SERVICE IS FREE MARKETING
Companies with exceptional customer support stand out more than others that don’t. Period. Think Amazon, Zappos, Disney. Can you recall a time you received exceptional customer service? Did you end up leaving a review or telling someone else about that great experience? Great experiences like that are viral and should be seen as marketing opportunities.
Because of this, in 2020 many organizations are seeing Customer Service as the most valuable team in the entire company. The experience they provide will directly impact what people think about you online.
Investing in customer service will help you acquire new customers, simply by word of mouth. In a recent study by Forbes they found out that nearly half (49%) of consumers who had a positive customer experience say they would share it on social media or post a positive review online.
Customers research reviews sites and social media before making buying decisions, and seeing positive reinforcement, especially on those viral moments from exceptional customer service, will be what pushes potential customers over the edge to buy vs companies that might not have such glowing reviews.
Treat every customer service interaction as a possible marketing opportunity, and you will be amazed by the buzz you will be able to generate online. By the same token, if you don’t put the effort in necessary, you can go viral for all the wrong reasons, which are far costlier to clean up.
When was the last time you had to wait more than five minutes to get a response from a company? Did your patience dissipate? Companies see real-time support as cost, because it means they need to staff more people. But the benefits far outweigh the costs, and in 2020, customers are expecting instant access.
Jeff Toister conducted a study about time responses per generation. He found that a one hour email response time will meet the expectations of 89 percent of your customers and that Baby Boomers want the fastest response on email. When it comes to social media, a one hour response time may be adequate for most customers, but 17 percent still want to hear back more quickly. For Facebook, it’s Millennials who demand the fastest response.
More than half of all consumers see the benefits of interacting with retailers through a messaging app, the reason being for time-saving purposes and convenience. It’s the fastest-growing medium of support. Access to quick support is not only a want, it’s becoming a need for consumers today.
When customers see long response times, they may even send in multiple requests, which then adds to your support queue and increases wait times that much further. These wait times result in complaints, bad reviews, switching to competitors, or even added cost for companies to try to make it right with that customer; like free goods or services. Slow response times are not worth the negative effects that will follow. Consumers will only be demanding more timely support, so be sure to listen to them.
It’s an amazing feeling when you find someone who listens, understands, and wants to help you solve your problems! In 2020 you will see more businesses hiring customer service agents with a psychological foundation, capable of solving conflicts in ways that addresses the happiness of your customers.
When we listen to our clients, we open a door to clearly understand what's going on and to empathize with the customer in order to offer effective responses.
Having a healthy relationship with the people around you is not an easy task. Not everyone knows how to handle their emotions and much less other people's emotions, but having a team that’s highly trained to understand your customer's behavior will give your clients the best experience possible. Your team will be able to detect their needs faster, understand how to deal with their issues and most importantly, show empathy.
According to Nicereply, 78% of customers have decided against an intended transaction because of a poor experience with an employee. That’s a powerful stat that should be paid attention to.
Having a team with psychological foundations can be the difference between a rich and positive experience, and a forgettable, mediocre, or even poor customer experience.
Forward thinking businesses are moving toward hiring people with psychological foundations, or bringing in experts to build training programs that teach customer service agents how to better interact with their customers.
We’d love to hear from you on your thoughts on these trends and any other trends you are predicting for 2020, so drop us a line below!
BY Alexei Piskunov