As you could guess, such a market disposition makes companies seek modern and effective tools and tactics to improve customer service and, what’s more vital, meet customer expectations and needs to become more competitive and profitable. Some of them are successful on this path, while others still can’t find the right strategy and model for their customer service.
Thus, the main thing to understand is what the customer service trends in 2022 look like. To be honest, every great idea that could be implemented is already implemented by someone, so the best idea is to track how industry leaders improve their customer service strategies and see how those who create customer service trends in 2022 get advantages and benefits from their inventions.
When we talk about customer service trends, let’s keep in mind that it is not only about customers - this industry faces also great challenges in retaining customer service reps, tackling the huge attrition rates, and dealing with workforce management challenges created by the pandemic in the far away 2020. Therefore, the question of what the customer service trends in 2022 are is more complicated than it could seem to be - but it is essential to be answered at the same time.
So, let’s go deeper into the topic and find out what customer service trends are at the top this year and whether are they long-term or short, and, what’s also significant, what awaits us in the future.
A long story short, let’s don’t spend our costly time dealing with such things as customer service trends definition or other theories, let’s start reviewing trends from the early beginning of the article. So, here we go.
Customer service drives the business forward
When companies start to arrange customer service as their priority and invest in it more, they grow their revenues. It can sound surprising but there are much more stats that show how customer service influences business revenue and growth - this fact is recognized and understood by business owners and experts too.
How does it work? Customer service is the thing that builds customer loyalty and brand advocacy, and what follows from this fact is that your customers will come back and bring you more money, as well as they will advertise your brand to their acquaintances, relatives, and friends.
Great customer service also increases customer lifetime value and here we get pure math - if you have 20 loyal and trustworthy customers with a customer lifetime value of X dollars. You start to invest in customer service, so you get the same 20 clients, but with customer lifetime value around 2X.
Personalization is no more a trend, it becomes a law
It will never become irrelevant to repeat that customer service personalization is the best practice if you want to achieve high conversion rates and better customer satisfaction, and, what’s also important is it also reduces customer effort. Want to get some proven data? Here we go - in B2C over 63% of customers expect a business to provide a personalized experience, while for B2B this rate is over 75%. Trustpilot study shows that conversion rates are boosted up to 8%(have you expected two-digit numbers in case of conversion rates?), even though this is about online sales only it works the same with other sales channels. 79% of customers are ready to provide you with their personal data - in exchange for personalized service, actually.
Isn’t this enough to sit down and start writing your customer service personalization strategy (if you don’t have it though)? This may sound shocking, but there are numerous businesses that still can’t collect and gather info about their customers’ names! Unfortunately, personalization of customer service has gone much further from the times when knowing a customer’s name has been enough to call it a personalized service.
Personalization is also vital because it makes sales easier for your customers and yourself. People love effortless service, and when it comes to sales, especially impulse buys, personalization is your ace up the sleeve.
Customer experience is the main goal
Before we will move to stats, let’s refresh the memory and understand what the customer experience is. Customer experience is the metric that shows how customers evaluate their relationship with the brand during the whole lifecycle of those relationships. Customer experience is tracked by operating a few metrics, such as customer effort score, customer satisfaction rate, first call resolution rate, and net promoter score. Customer experience is also about customer lifetime value and customer retention. Thus, almost 9 of 10 customers are ready to make another purchase from the company that offers a great customer experience. Almost 7 of 10 customers are ready to pay more for their purchases if the brand is known for proposing perfect customer experiences. Add here the fact that customer acquisition is in some cases up to 25 times more expensive than customer retention and ask yourself - does it worth the trouble?
Moreover, customer experience is mostly dependent on customer service, as up to 70% of the customer journey is filled by customer service experiences, not by purchase experiences or something like that. Thus, investing in customer experience is investing in customer service improvement - software, tools, data gathering, and employee training. By the way, we can state that such terms as customer service trends and customer experience trends in 2022 are quite similar.
Automation conquers the world
Even the simplest tasks are going to be automated - this is a great trend in the customer service industry as it has a challenging goal to cover all processes and operations in the nearest future - let us at least hope that communication with customers will be performed by live people.
Such easy actions, such as follow-up emails, call transfers, customer survey sending, outbound dialing, and so on are already automated. Thus, we get two main benefits: human agents can perform more important and complicated tasks instead of dealing with routine, and the overall speed of service has also grown. Actually, is there anyone who believes that manual dialing can compete with a Predictive Dialer, or maybe giving a desk phone from agent to agent is more efficient than an immediate transfer of phone calls?
And we still haven’t mentioned some more intelligent algorithms, such as speech recognition, text-to-speech, Automatic Call Distribution, automated calling with the IVR system, and so on.
Self-service is a preferred service
People sometimes don’t like to seek help from other people, and it’s normal. Customers are more willing to search for solutions on their own, and this tendency grows from year to year. Almost 70% of clients try to resolve their issues on their own before contacting the customer support team, but on the other hand, only 30% of firms offer self-service solutions.
What follows from this fact? The actuality and popularity of self-service options are clear and it’s proven by many studies, but the market is still not ready to cover this customer need in a full range of solutions. Most companies don’t offer the needed range of tools for self-service, so we have a situation where you can use a poorly designed IVR system, but such tools as chatbots or knowledge bases are unavailable. This is not a micro-trend in customer service, so customer service prospects seem to be positive only with a multistage use of self-service tools and opportunities across communication channels.
Texting service channels are becoming the most adored ones
When we are talking about messaging tools for service, we mean messengers and chatbots at the first place, but a live chat is also included in this list. Regarding chatbots, we have to say that this service digital channel is adored because of its speed of answering - in a few seconds that is almost impossible for an agent. 71% of customers would like to use a digital channel that is operated by a bot if it can offer an advanced customer experience, and the same number of clients are awaiting messaging contact channels to be maintained by the businesses.
If we move to messengers, let’s keep in mind that most people spend hours on their smartphones, and most of this time is spent in messengers or social media(in some cases it means the same), so communication via a channel that is always at hand and which allows sending media and other files using the comfortable interface(instead of email) makes customer service easier and faster, and that’s what customers really want.
Proactive customer service
One of the best trends for customer experience boosts is implementing proactive customer service. What is it and how does it work? Firstly, proactive customer service means that you as a service provider independently identify and resolve customer issues before they are recognized and detected by the clients. Secondly, that means that you must take more responsibility for customer service as it is no more dependent on customer requests or questions. Thus, proactive service is much more effortful than reactive service, and it absolutely relies on data analysis. On the other hand, it is more effective and can reduce the workload of your customer support and improve customer satisfaction.
Do you remember what we said about the importance of customer service personalization? Both personalized and proactive services require tonnes of customer personal data, and this data has to be secured. People are ready to share their personal information, but they aren’t ready to put it at risk. Thus, your goal is not only to secure the info but to make people stay sure that nothing will happen to their information.
Most work processes are digital, so data security is about digital security. Successful businesses invest more and more in this field, but they get great outcomes - for instance, 9 of 10 clients trust companies that have privacy policies more than those that don’t have such policies.
More value to social media
Social media plays a great role as a communication tool for businesses, and instead of email or messengers, you get an opportunity to build a real community of customers on some social media platforms. They are also a powerful tool to get feedback from clients and process this feedback in the shortest possible time. But, regarding customer service, social media is also a communication channel to resolve customer issues.
First of all, you have to implement an omnichannel customer service approach to have access across digital channels without long-time delays and without a chance to lose requests or progress while switching between different contact channels. Secondly, you have to invest in advertising your social networks to make customers or prospects join them - for further use of this platform as a platform for sales or traffic to your websites.
Almost all customers in age between 18 years and 35 would like to join the social accounts of the brands they are buying from and follow these accounts to get news or support. We bet that you are not on the list of businesses that sell only to audiences 65+, so social media is a must-have channel.
Shorter response times
9 of 10 customers think that immediate response to their customer support request is essential if it comes to customer service quality. 60% of customers under “immediate response” mean less than ten minutes. 71% of younger customers think that immediate response to customer service requests is crucial for customer experience. 9 of 10 clients think that issue solutions are the most important thing in customer support.
As you can see, customers want shorter average response times and better issue resolution. This goal can be reached by implementing smart routing systems, self-service options, agent training, omnichannel service, and a proactive service model.
Even the implementation of such a tool as a chatbot can improve response time a few times, as it is much faster than any agent, even the most skillful. People love chatbots, and your task is to provide them with them. What sweetens the deal is the fact that chatbot is only the one trick to reduce response time, and you can easily overplay competitors if you focus on this objective.
Another great challenge is the 24/7 service that is available mostly because of the implementation of outsourcing support teams. Thus, you have to make difficult decisions - whether you need a 24/7 service for a great cost or not.
Staff flexibility and remote scheduling challenges
There isn’t a call center agent’s degree, so the kinds of people who can be employed in this position are very varied. So, some of these people aren’t ready for precise working hours in the office as most managers want them to be. Add here huge attrition and turnover rates, and you will understand why most call center managers do their best to save current staff. And this approach requires you to make concessions, and scheduling is one such concession.
Some customer service agents may ask for a hybrid or remote schedule, and it is your choice and responsibility for it to decide whether to allow them to get this schedule or not. It also creates risks and challenges, such as complex problems of onboarding issues or training challenges. Though, it can boost agent performance and help you to build trustful and warm relationships inside the team.
Additionally, customer service professionals have to be trained to work remotely - we don’t know what challenges await us in the future, and at least a business continuity plan has to cover an opportunity to switch to a remote mode in the shortest possible time.