The market volatility of the last three years transformed customer service and support into a crucial aspect of businesses. People lean heavily on companies to receive support, and businesses depend on their audience’s loyalty to remain competitive in the market. In 2023 customer service remains a priority among companies because both individuals and organisations have to deal with supply chain problems, global conflict, inflation, and other similar threats.
Customers have had higher expectations regarding access to services, personalisation, and control of their own narratives over the last few years. If you’re running a customer-facing brand, it’s crucial to make customer experience a top priority because your public most likely has higher expectations of your business than it had three years ago. They want customer service to be available 24/7, available on their preferred channel and meet their particular needs.
Customer service experts predict that the trends for 2023 will focus on the growing role of service in business strategies. Service is considered a growth driver, so companies need to design new approaches and adopt innovative technology to meet their clients’ needs.
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Buyers want to control their own narrative
Unfortunately, often people feel like society is cornering them into making particular decisions, and they feel frustrated and powerless. For example, when someone calls customer support to get help for an issue they experience with a product or service, they’re usually forced to use an Interactive Voice Response system. It feels like it takes forever to reach a live agent willing to help them. Some better alternatives for customers who don’t want to engage with a tedious system are to provide them with access to a knowledge base, an AI-driven agent, a FAQ page on the website, or the option to speak directly with a service agent. Regardless of the way they use to contact customer service, they want to control their own narrative, and if a brand offers this opportunity, it’ll engage their customer experience and boost their loyalty.
Customers these days want the businesses they purchase from to offer several solutions to a problem and allow them to pick the one that best appeals to them.
Some resources will shift away from online channels
Now that the pandemic is slowly taking a step back and physical facilities reopened, some of the resources that flowed into digital products will shift back. This might mean that some businesses will switch back to offering over-the-phone and in-person customer service as alternatives to online support. Efficiency will become paramount over the following months, and companies are expected to welcome their agents back to the offices to offer over-the-phone customer service. These brands take advantage of phone on hold music to improve their clients’ experience while waiting to get in touch with a live agent.
Customer support agents also must identify the obstacles and situations that slow them down in offering effective services. Finding ways to improve the customer service team’s efficiency is crucial because it allows companies to save money.
Omnichannel takes centre stage
People want to interact with their favourite businesses on multiple channels, including phones, websites, brick-and-mortar storefronts, emails, and mobile apps. They want to benefit from a frictionless and consistent experience across diverse channels and ask companies to customise their interactions. The omnichannel customer experience implies meeting all customers’ touch points across several channels. The omnichannel promotes the idea of connecting all channels to allow the clients to move from one to another without difficulty.
Omnichannel isn’t a new concept in customer service, it turns 20 years old in 2023, but it’s expected for companies to boost their investments in its capabilities in the following months. Now that the digital is the foundational pillar of customer service, improving the omnichannel experience is crucial.
The human connection becomes more important
The interactions people have with companies have become more digital since the pandemic’s beginning, so the need to establish a strong human connection has increased. The pandemic made customers recognise the importance of a human connection, as they missed it more than ever, and now they’re searching for every opportunity to establish it. Customer service experts believe that 2023 will bring an increasing focus on the customer experience and cultivate human connection in all settings (online and offline). Now brands can adopt technology that personalises customer experience and enables them to put their clients first. The companies willing to invest in establishing strong human connections with their public have greater chances to break through the noise in the market and reach their target audiences in ways they want to be reached.
Increasing growth in proactive customer service
Brands should go one step further into offering quality customer service and adopt a proactive approach. Proactive service relies on customer data and technology to identify the times when extra assistance and information are needed to provide the public with improved services. One way to embrace a proactive approach is to use a tool like in-app messaging to connect with the client before they even ask their question.
Brands must analyse customer journey data to find the spots that frustrate them, where they get stuck, and where they drop the conversation entirely. It’s crucial to come to their help in the areas they find challenging, and some proactive help can make a huge impact.
Customisation remains crucial, but is no longer granular
Customisation remains important for clients, but their expectations have changed drastically over the last three years. Research shows that 80% of buyers are more likely to make a purchase when businesses offer personalised experiences. Statista reports that over 60% of buyers won’t purchase twice for a company that fails to deliver personalised content.
Unfortunately, many companies don’t deliver the customisation their clients expect from them. In fact, some statistics show that many companies have gone backwards in the last few months in regard to customisation. The number of businesses with a granular approach with one-to-few is small, around 12%, and tiny, of those with a one-to-one approach, around 6%.
We won’t deny that customer expectations are reaching new heights in 2023, so companies must continue to put effort into improving their CX.