When taking a look at the Customer Service landscape for 2022 and beyond it’s important to pluck out what’s “Now Trending” to ensure your brand isn’t falling behind, or more importantly how it can stay on the EDGE.
In the past three years we’ve seen over 50% of customer experiences move to digital, meaning they occurred on a website, web, chat, email, text, or social media. This confirms that now, more than ever, brands need to get ensure they are solid with their digital customer service offerings. Additionally, we are still finding that over 30% of consumers are prepared to spend more for excellent customer service with a great customer experience! So, to help point you in the right direction we’ve identified what’s trending in CS for 2022 and we wanted to share that with you.
And away we go!
Let’s start with the bots & tech because tech is …. AWESOME.
1. AI Chatbots
Familiarity breeds comfort. Since the average consumer is becoming more and more familiar with chatbots, consequently, they are far more comfortable interacting with them. A good AI chatbot can use machine learning to understand the correct responses to specific inquiries and conduct its own search of your website to find the answer to questions not already in its database. They can also learn across platforms which allows for maximum learning and improved efficiencies across the board. Customers expect to be able to get the answer to their questions quickly and an AI chatbot can get up-to-speed with your business more quickly than a new agent and can also provide customizable out-of-hours support. In 2022, if you can’t give consumers the answer they need immediately, you can guarantee they’ll go elsewhere.
Now this is cool stuff. Voicebots combine the power of a chatbot with the familiarity of voice! Voicebots offer speed, real personalization and customer convenience. In addition, they can field simple inquiries before handing off to a live agent should things become more complex. As an example, voicebots can quickly triage incoming calls to ensure live agents are dealing with the most imperative and complex interactions in a hyper efficient manner, saving them the time and effort of dealing with a conversation that’s better suited to a voicebot.
3. Integrated Customer Service
Customer Service journeys can take place across multiple platforms and devices today. The more complex the issue, the more likely it is there’ll be multiple contact points with your customer service team and multiple platforms and devices involved. Being able to aggregate customer service conversations into a single dashboard is the key to providing a smooth, omnichannel customer service experience. Customers in 2022 demand seamless transitions, good follow up and thorough tracking of their issues. Not to mention the requirements for first call resolution continue to climb. Omni-channel is the only way to ensure that today’s customers are experiencing optimal interactions and results.
Along with tech comes talent. People are good to have but good people are hard to find.
4. Going Hybrid with Customer Service
Getting the right mix of technology and human interaction is an extremely delicate balancing act, but customers expect to be able to switch seamlessly between artificial and human interactions when required. With so many technology options available in 2022 to customer support teams, ensuring that you don’t go too far down the automation route at the expense of customer experience will be the difference between slaughtering it as a brand or committing BRANDSLAUGHTER™. Building out a staff efficient, effective, and excellent enough to support your customer’s needs while keeping costs in line isn’t easy in 2022. More and more organizations are choosing to outsource this part to trusted partners like Leading Edge Connections. Some are splitting traffic between internal and outsourced partners and others are outsourcing the entire thing. The key is to not sacrifice quality and your customer’s experience for a buck.
5. Work from home Customer Service
With the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic still riding high, customer support teams, just like many of the rest of us, aren’t relishing the idea of returning to the office. The myths have been proven true now that customer support can be delivered remotely. Some agents and companies will be hot to continue the trend. The real trick here will be the ability to monitor conversations effectively and respond across platform and device, and to manage inter-departmental and inter-agent conversations effectively. There are still enormous gaps for many brands in doing this. The same people and technology that worked great in the office may not in a remote environment. Don’t let that shy you away from remote. At LEC we moved, or should I say launched our company there 4 years ago before COVID. We can share without a doubt that when it’s supported correctly it’s the most effective way to operate the business and we love telling people about it! Virtual business is the way and it has the potential to revolutionize the experience of customer service agents. If you need assistance making this transition we are happy to help.
Okay, we are almost done here but the last two are extremely important. So don’t jump ship now.
6. 24/7 Real-time Support
Customer expectations seem to remain as sky high as Snoop Dogg at a Tampa Bay Bucs game. In the next 3 years they will continue to increase. As we mentioned earlier, customers want to deal with brands that are in the “NOW BUSINESS”. Being available quickly when your customer wants to talk to you is more important than ever. This means rolling in all the aforementioned items Chatbots, voicebots, omnichannel customer support, dazzling talent and a support model that understands efficiency is imperative for the customer and the company’s bottom line. Staffing for this type of support is a real artform and if it’s not something your team understands you may want to quickly consider finding a good contact center partner to take on some of this in off hours or entirely.
Last but not least……
7. Hyper-personalized customer support
Taking everything we’ve discussed into account, knowing who your customer is, their previous order history, and some of their personal details before they tell you makes customers feel valued. Dealing with your customers as individuals and delivering a leading-edge customer experience drastically increases the likelihood they will share their positive experience and become an advocate for your brand. In 2022, the excuses afforded by the early days of the pandemic won’t wash. This is the new world and it’s time to move your brand into the future.