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…
1) Innovative technology will empower service teams (not replace them)
It seems like more companies think that their B2B (business-to-business) customers want a streamlined and automated customer service experience. While this is true, it’s important to understand that they don’t want their favorite service rep to be replaced by a bot or machine. Instead, businesses will look to empower their current service team by providing them with the technology they need to work more efficiency. From customer service technology that automatically determines message sentiment to detailed product tracking and analysis, innovative technology will assist in streamlining operations to make teams more efficient.
2) Customer service will be more than just reactive conversations
For a long time, customer service leaders focused only on the conversation. They recorded calls between a rep and their customer, and this was the primary driver for improving their operations. Now, customer service has evolved so the conversation is just one small component of a broader customer experience. Businesses now look at why a customer even contacts the service team in the first place (i.e. did they use the self-service portal but couldn’t they find an answer there) so they can improve the efficiency and value of the conversations that actually happen. In addition, customer service teams aren’t always sitting around waiting for the phone to ring anymore. Instead, they are reaching out through predictive service tactics, such as letting a customer know when a bug in a software product they use has been fixed, to improve satisfaction and the overall customer experience.
For many years, customer service was viewed as only a cost center. They were put in the back corner of the office and viewed as a necessary expense for a business. Now, more businesses are realizing the unique situation a service team is in and how they can relate to customers. Not only do great service relationships build trust with a customer, but they also create new opportunities for both upselling and retention. Especially in the B2B industry, customer relationships matter across the entire organization and the positive impact of excellent customer service is felt in sales and customer success efforts.
4) A major increase in data-driven customer service decisions will happen
Acting on a hunch with key business and customer service decisions doesn’t make sense anymore. It’s 2020, and great service teams have more than enough information at their fingertips to make all sorts of informed decisions about their customers by taking a data-driven approach. A team with a robust customer service software solution knows when the best time of day is to respond to a ticket for each specific customer they have, who is the best contact at each company for dealing with certain issues, and so much more. By making decisions driven by data instead of arbitrary “rules” created years ago, it not only makes customer communication more sophisticated, but it also improves the confidence service reps and employees have when speaking with customers. It’s always easier to make a point when you’ve got data at your back.
In short, customer service teams in 2020 should focus on leveraging technology and data to stay informed and meet customers where they are. Don’t sit around and wait for phone calls, instead keep active dialogues going with customers as needed and when relevant. When you do speak with customers, make the interactions count by taking a data-driven approach to the conversation. These tactics will help to create a competitive difference for your business both right now and in the years to come.