Top Trends in the Customer Service Industry This 2020
Customers won’t tolerate poor service. While that is a constant, there are still many customer service trends that pop up daily. Keeping note of the biggest ones will ensure that you can provide the best service to your customers.
Let’s take a look at the most important trends going into 2020.
The Year of The AI
One of the more bold projections for 2020 involves artificial intelligence. Both Gartner and Digital Market Moguls predicted that 85% of customer service interactions will be non-human by 2020.
And they are probably not wrong.
While it’s only March, we already saw the seeds of this starting even half a decade ago. Chat bots started to handle the more routine inquiries in many major companies back in 2015. Technology and AI have only advanced since then.
Today, a lot of that involves proactive, automated notifications and alerts from your CRM system, engaging customers before they even know they need to talk to you. Other self-service technologies on the website will also replace talking with live agents, as today’s customers are increasingly more fond of self-service over calling or interacting with agents.
Self-service channels already reached 76% usage back in 2014 and 75% of millennials prefer solving issues on their own. 40% of millennials and gen Xers actually prefer getting help from an AI over a live person.
A lot of this self-service will be driven by natural language AIs which can decipher questions a user asks just by talking naturally or typing naturally in chat. The algorithms are smart enough to parse and decipher the question and reply with meaningful information that can help the customer with their inquiry.
There is a major shift that’s been going on for the past decade as an entire generation of users have come of age. Businesses that don’t keep up with this new customer market will soon become irrelevant.
It’s Time for S&M
Two of the most important things in this new decade are social media and mobile.
Today, 90% of customers have used social media to interact with a brand. Further, 34.5% prefer this form of interaction with companies over other channels. A strong social media presence is essential to any customer experience in 2020 and the good news is you don’t have to do it on Facebook. Companies who have a strong social media community on their own website or platform have a 19% increase in revenue over companies that don’t. That’s more than enough incentive for any company to build a strong social media presence.
Meanwhile, mobile usage has skyrocketed to the point where 5.1 billion people are on mobile today. That is a penetration of 66%. Mobile is already a separate marketplace of its own, with 80% of shoppers using mobile phones to make purchases, shop for deals or check product reviews. And yes, 45% of the world population at 3.4 billion people are mobile social media users.
It’s more important than ever to pay attention to your mobile and social media channels when engaging customers. If you had to use the Pareto Rule, you can bet that this is where you want to concentrate your efforts.
Co-Browsing is King
Co-browsing refers to a customer sharing part of their screen with the agent, allowing a more hands-on kind of assistance in real-time. This is very popular in tech support and is a technique utilized by Microsoft and many other tech companies when providing support for software products and services. And it’s not just limited to the tech industry.
In other industries such as retail or finance, there are forms to be filled and products to be demonstrated. Co-browsing is there to help customers through the process and develop a more emotional connection with the company. There is nothing like receiving assistance hands-on to create a positive experience. Data from Forbes shows that customer interactions with co-browsing result in better customer satisfaction rates.
Co-browsing isn’t the same as screen sharing. Screen sharing has been around since the 90’s but had some caveats like user privacy. Co-browsing was developed as an alternative, which gives the user more control over the process. The entire screen isn’t shared, so private information like credit card information on the desktop and other windows isn’t shared. Only the browser or parts of it can be sent to the customer service side for assistance.
There’s No Place Like Home
One of the most interesting workforce trends in the past decade is the growth of the gig economy. This is a part of the workforce that works freelance from home or some other place of their choosing instead of holding jobs in a traditional office. Customer service jobs in particular are easily performed from home. Modern contact center customer service is basically a remote agent talking with a customer over long distances. It easily translates to the agent working from home rather than in the office.
In 2020, we can expect a huge increase in customer service agents looking to do work from home rather than in the office. In the US alone, it’s estimated that there are around 7.6 million people working the gig economy. While this system has its own unique set of challenges to consider, it is not without huge benefits. Setting up an office in a posh office in New York City or some other prime real estate location can get expensive very quickly.
Work from home takes care of that problem and greatly widens your talent pool. It’s easy to tap out all the talent in one area, and in fact, that is already a problem in many areas where traditional contact centers are trying to find good employees.
By shifting to a remote office paradigm, your talent pool suddenly becomes a lot bigger and you can get the best employees from around the nation, or even around the world. It all comes down to offering the best work environment and compensation, but you can be sure that you can get the best talent if your company is a great place to work at.
These trends are not likely to go away. If anything, they will continue to deepen as we move into the new decade. Becoming aware of them means you can make the adjustments needed to your business so that you aren’t left behind by rivals who understand the market and are already making adjustments to their operations.
We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in 2020. By 2025, can you imagine what percent of interactions will be non-human or how many customers are using social media and mobile? It's time to make adjustments to your business now. With fortune and effort, you’ll be well prepared to move into the next decade with confidence.