Dhruv Mehta is a Digital Marketing Professional at Acquire, a customer engagement platform that focuses on conversational CX. He writes about using technology to meet the evolving needs of customers and preparing for future disruptions. The changing conditions in 2020 redefined how we lived and worked. As businesses struggled with frequent disruptions, customer service teams […]
Dhruv Mehta is a Digital Marketing Professional at Acquire, a customer engagement platform that focuses on conversational CX. He writes about using technology to meet the evolving needs of customers and preparing for future disruptions.
The changing conditions in 2020 redefined how we lived and worked. As businesses struggled with frequent disruptions, customer service teams grappled with increasing call volumes from distressed customers, establishing the importance of empathic customer service for business continuity as well as growth.
Today, as organizations reel out of the effects of the pandemic, they are increasingly returning the focus on customer service to meet the evolving needs of their customers and also prepare for future disruptions.
Modern customers want real-time interactions that are personalized and consistent. To meet their demands, we expect to see more technology in customer support in 2021, as well as a growth in omnichannel support strategies. Here are five customer service trends to watch out for in 2021:
Forbes had predicted that AI would take over 85% of customer service by 2020. Unfortunately, many organizations had to reduce or postpone their AI investments due to the pandemic in 2020. However, the focus will return to AI in customer service in 2021 to introduce automation and reduce the cost of operations for businesses.
Until now, AI has proven quite useful in support, especially in the form of chatbots that can answer a large number of straightforward queries without human intervention. Additionally, the new era of chatbots based on sophisticated natural language programming will make it possible to automate time-consuming tasks like tagging and assigning customer support tickets to relevant teams. This will save copious amounts of time for support agents, leaving them free to focus on high-value tasks.
NLP advancements will also lead to self-improving chatbots that can handle more complex conversations without sounding mechanical. One such example is Dr. A.I.?, a healthcare bot developed by HealthTap, that uses a database of answers written by verified doctors to help patients with the next steps, like seeking urgent care or scheduling a virtual appointment.
Live chat will remain an important customer support tool and expand its reach to social media, enabling real-time connections with customers on their preferred hangouts. Besides offering timely support, brands will use live chat for marketing and improving customer experience through value-added services like appointment booking, reminders, delivery notifications, etc.
For instance, Betterment, an online investment advisor, uses proactive chat invitations to provide personalized financial services to new clients, helping them invest with confidence.
Another interesting example is the live chat format used by Lightroom – an Adobe product used for managing photographs. The live chat system makes onboarding seamless by creating separate tabs for various user queries. This helps in automatically tagging queries while also making it easier for customers to voice their concerns.
Customers feel most frustrated when they have to repeat their queries to agents multiple times. That’s why it’s essential to create a unified personalized customer service plan that delivers a consistent experience across all your customer touchpoints. One idea is to integrate your live chat software with your CRM so that you can save chat transcripts that can be referred to during future conversations. Advanced live chat software also offers multiple functionalities like audio and video calling, co-browsing, screen sharing, etc. Thus, implementing a single software can give you a 360-degree view of all your customer service operations.
In 2021, you can gain an edge over the competition by introducing predictive analytics to analyze the user experience and close the customer feedback loop.
According to McKinsey, a travel company built a capability to score every customer’s experience by using location and transactional data and subsequently used machine learning to predict customer satisfaction based on individual experience. Based on the results, the company could dramatically improve customer follow-ups after poor service experience, leading to an 800% increase in customer satisfaction and a 59% reduction in churn intent.
You can even employ analytics to predict customer expectations and plan your conversations accordingly. For example, you can use predictive analytics to define the best times for engaging customers and, accordingly, send them prompts with offers or targeted content.
In the world of omnichannel experiences, sales and customer service teams must work together to create more user-friendly experiences. Typically, sales teams help customers find suitable products and services, while customer service ensures positive brand interactions and, as result, positive product reviews.
But did you know that both these teams can add immense value to each other by sharing information? For example, if the sales team faced any resistance during the course of a sale, the information can be passed on to the support team to handle the user accordingly. Similarly, support can give salespersons thorough visibility into ongoing customer interactions to help them figure out opportune times for contacting customers and also identify any upsell and cross-sell opportunities. In the same manner, there can be various areas where both teams can collaborate and work together to give users the best shopping experience possible.
Customer is king – that’s the truth. Not surprisingly, the way you treat them, whether, during the research phase, sale, onboarding, or later has a huge impact on your brand’s reputation and customer loyalty. As a result, organizations focusing on fast and reliable customer service tend to retain a larger share of the market and enjoy a loyal customer base.
If you have growth on your mind in 2021, start by upgrading your customer service to reap instant results. Furthermore, remember that change is the only constant when it comes to customer experience. Therefore, it is vital to adopt advanced technologies and build agility into your system to handle future disruptions confidently.
Dhruv Mehta loves to write about tech, marketing, and providing solutions for customers in the digital era. You can connect with him on Linkedin.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
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