Last year, we highlighted some of the key customer service trends to watch in 2018 and many of them came to fruition. The shift in perception of AI and automation was arguably the most significant. Once a thought of the distant future, many companies began adding these concepts to their workflows and roadmaps.
Once again, for the third year in a row, here are 7 customer service trends to watch in 2019…
1) B2B self-service will become more interactive – Thanks to an increase in on-demand video content in their personal lives, customers are more frequently asking for the same in the business world. As a result, more companies are doing less telling through text and more showing through interactive guides and customer service video content to get messages across.
2) Basic live chat isn’t good enough anymore – Having only basic chat on your website was becoming outdated last year and moving into 2019 it’s even worse. Customers increasingly expect chat solutions to be extremely fluid, switching between mediums (text, video, screen sharing) as needed on the fly without being forced to change applications or start over.
3) Companies are becoming truly proactive – The days of sitting around waiting for customers to contact you are in the past. Instead, it’s becoming the full responsibility of the company to let their customers know about the problems they have before they even notice. Companies can do this by monitoring the interactions every customer has and assessing/analyzing the sentiment behind them. Often referred to as “customer health monitoring” or a similar term, this proactive approach is the difference between good and great customer service.
4) AI will become less artificial and more a part of “real” customer service teams – Modern service software now leverages the true power of AI and not gimmicks like simplistic chat bots to lure in customers. These solutions are incorporating AI from the ground up not to stand on its own as a replacement for human agents, but to aid them in working smarter and more efficiently. Examples include sentiment analysis, predictive chat, and distress scoring.
5) Deflecting tickets will continue to increase in priority – Customer service teams are trying new ticket deflection solutions to reduce the amount of routine interactions they process. By implementing real-time solutions such as suggested links in live chat based on the written description of the problem (think Google instant search results), customers are increasingly able to answer their own issues without needing to submit a ticket.
6) Personalization not only at the contact but the company level – Too often, customer service teams have taken the B2C approach of focusing on personalizing interactions at the contact level. In the B2B industry, customer personalization is also being applied at the entire company level. Customer service teams now have direct visibility into company accounts and can add information including customer size, languages spoken, hours and holidays, preferred service method, and much more for all agents to see.
7) The rise of “customer success” – More companies are beginning to understand that customer service is more than just reading scripted responses and working on a ticket queue. It’s about doing anything and everything possible so your customers are successful with your business. This mentality is leading to a rise in “customer success” within companies that dedicate the time and resources necessary to keep customers happy. The new emphasis on the customer has also led to reduced churn and more positive third-party feedback.
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We hope you found these trends valuable! The common over-arching theme with the trends this year relates to using technology to communicate better than ever before with your customers. This means conversing directly and indirectly across different mediums while creating conversations with a high amount of customer knowledge in your hands. By optimizing when and how you speak to your customers to meet their wants and needs, you’re bound to have a successful year!