The Key 2020 Customer Service Trends You Need to Know

The new year is here and with it comes our annual list of key customer service trends! Our 2019 trends article was a huge hit, so here’s what is set to make an impact in 2020…

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Five Effective Customer Services Strategies for Customer Support

Simply put, your business needs customer service strategies that improve their productivity and customer satisfaction. The right strategies help your customers resolve their issues faster and enable your agents to provide better support.

Here are five effective customer service strategies every business should be using:

1. Self-service

Often the fastest and easiest way for customers to resolve a technical or support issue is just to do it themselves.

Providing online troubleshooting resources enables your clients to fix problems without reaching out to support. Videos can be useful in creating self-service content that demonstrates features and guides them through processes.

A self-service solution is invaluable for reducing the amount of incoming tickets. Best off all, self-service doesn’t hurt satisfaction rates either, as 73% of customers prefers to solve a problem themselves.

With all of this said, self-service isn’t a complete replacement for live support as not all customers are able to troubleshoot their own issues. Instead, use self-service to assist your agents by reducing ticket volume and as a supplementary resource.

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2. Customer Expectation Management

Many potential frustrations can be avoided simply by setting clear expectations at the beginning of your relationship with a customer and sticking to them when an issue occurs. Explain how you handle problems in your onboarding process, rather than leaving this conversation in the fine print.

Having customers learn this information the hard way can cause frustration as they may have unrealistic expectations.

In addition, when working with customers it’s better to be honest instead of overly optimistic. Making promises you can’t keep when resolving issues will frustrate them in the long run and hurts your business relationship.

3. Take a Multi-channel Approach

Every customer support method has pros and cons, so providing a range of contact methods ensures customers have a preferred way to reach you for every situation.

While phone calls are a direct way to provide customer support, they aren't always convenient. Even if you provide phone support around the clock, your customers still need to dedicate time to calling and sometimes waiting on hold. Phone support agents are also only able to assist one customer at a time.

Email gets around these issues by allowing customers to respond on their time, while live chat lets you have interactions with customers in more of a real-time environment. Email and live chat can be ideal contact methods for busy customers and when visual aids such as screenshots or photos are required.

Customer support via text or live chat can be a useful tool to help customers when they are dealing with an issue while in the field. For example, a repair tech may prefer text or live chat support with photos instead of trying to explain a problem over the phone. Not only does this make the customer happier, but it also reduces the support volume on other channels.

Lastly, integrating visual support tools into how customers can contact you may be great addition to your communication methods, especially for B2B (business-to-business) companies. This method allows customers to share video content easily and enables agents to demonstrate features or steps clearly. It's a great way for customers show their problems instead of describing them so they can resolve their issues faster.

4. Clearly Defining When to Close Tickets

Clear rules on when to close support tickets are essential for improving your efficiency and accurately tracking your customer support performance.

Defining when to close tickets based on customer actions (such as. a customer telling you to) and when to automatically close tickets after inactivity is a good starting point. It’s also important to pair automated technology, such as real-time SLA violation reminders, to ensure tickets are responded to as needed.

Use a ticket management solution to automate these reminders and ditch the notebook. Your team will be more organized, and customers won’t worry as much about their issue slipping through the cracks.

5. Accurately Assess Your Performance Metrics

It's important to find the right balance of information to improve your support team while not changing so much that you’re creating confusion. For example, if ticket volume is up one week, it would make sense to try and drive people to self-service. It’s a strategy to deflect tickets while keeping people in their support roles where they thrive.

Another important factor, especially if you have a lot of customers needing support, is to track exactly how much each customer values certain components of support. One customer may want answers right away, even if they aren’t fully tested, so they can troubleshoot the issue themselves. Another customer may ask for the right answer every time, even if it takes several days to obtain. Remembering different customers want different things helps to frame your metrics and what actionable information comes from them.

Conclusion

Your customer service strategies should make contacting you and resolving problems as smooth and simple as possible. This involves setting clear expectations for customers and effective goals for your team. Enabling your customers to solve issues themselves and matching agents to their strengths will reduce new customer service tickets and the time needed to handle them.

 

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