As we look forward into the next decade, let's first reflect back to the previous one and the impact it had on customer support. The 2010's was a decade driven by the emergence and evolution of mobile technology, making it easier to communicate than ever before. It also launched "big data" into the mainstream, and support teams had more information about their customers than ever before. We've looked at annual customer service trends in the past, but now it's time to look even further down the road.
So what's in store for the next decade? Here are 8 B2B customer support breakthroughs to prepare for in the next decade.
1) Large companies will hire customer support professionals that rarely, if ever, directly interact with customers
Can you truly tell how a customer feels about your business? There are many different tactics that attempt to acquire this information, such as customer reviews and NPS (net promoter score), which may or may not provide an accurate assessment of overall satisfaction. Did you catch them on a bad day when they left an NPS rating? Did they write an odd review as someone was looking over their shoulder?
For support agents, ending the conversation with a customer can be a mixed bag. With some customers, the conversation just flows naturally, and a clear end happens organically. Other times, acquiring and sharing information can be a painful process. You’re never quite sure if the customer is ready to end the conversation and you’re saying too much, or if you haven’t said enough and the customer will be unhappy.
There’s no way around it – in the modern business world, companies need data from all areas of their business to keep up. One industry that hasn’t typically been at the forefront of the data revolution is customer support. However, with many businesses now realizing that support isn’t always a cost center (and can sometimes even pay for itself) the demand for actionable data has been on the rise.
Seeing a business grow in front of your eyes is exciting. You’ve got a product or service people love, and you’re getting new customers all the time. However, with this excitement often comes growing pains. Five customer support agents may no longer be enough, and it’s time to expand the team to double digits to meet the demand of tickets and phone calls.
B2B (business-to-business) customers are becoming more demanding. After experiencing some of the more modern support methods in their everyday B2C (business-to-consumer) lives, they are increasingly expecting B2B companies to keep up.
Please hold. There are 12 callers ahead of you. Your business is important to us.
This scenario is still far too common in customer support, even in the B2B (business-to-business) industry where the average customer value is higher and business relationships matter more. Sometimes waiting on hold for a half hour may be because of understaffing. But, other times it’s simply due to an inefficient customer service team.
Simply put, there are many ways a team can become inefficient at service – poor channel management, bad technology, inept team members – but let’s focus on the positives instead. Businesses want to hire skilled people. They want the best technology. But, with budget and time constraints, they need to prioritize exactly what is important to their bottom line.
Many businesses are looking for new ways to improve and strengthen their own customer relationships. They’ve hired a great team of account managers, have incredibly knowledgeable support agents, and have provided them with the technology needed to succeed.
In the business world, knowledge is power. A team of bad ass, knowledgeable employees will impress even the most difficult customers. However, finding the right people to build a team like this isn’t easy and can take a lot of time.
Landing new customers is a hell of a lot of work for B2B (business-to-business) software companies. Even the easy deals require extensive brand awareness efforts, targeted marketing, testimonials, sales conversations, proposals, and so much more.
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