Today’s article on Customer Service Trends That Will Dominate In 2019 is brought to you by Jared Corell – a customer-support specialist and a marketing evangelist at Proprofs Chat.
Let’s welcome Jared in our blog, and learn from his invaluable experience!
Global market trends tend to change really fast. And, organizations aim to stay updated with them all. After all, customer satisfaction is what helps them stay relevant in the market. No wonder, the increased interest in the improvement of customer experience marked the year behind us. And it’s logical for organizations to continue improving in this field in 2019 if they wish to stay relevant and competitive.
This ambiance is precisely what builds up the cornerstone of all customer service trends that we’ll be witnessing this year. In this article, we’re showing you how customers’ expectations and companies’ possibilities will shape the customer service in the months to come.
What can companies do to make customers stay loyal to them? How far will customers go in their demands from a brand? Read on and find out!
What Should we Expect From 2019 in Terms of Customer Service?
#1 Both operators and chatbots will be engaged to provide a good customer service experience
Having in mind that 42% of customers prefer online chat customer service compared to the other types of support, it’s not strange that companies will keep investing in live chat support. More precisely, in 2019, it will be necessary for businesses to not only provide highly professional live chat agents but also manage their customers’ data efficiently. And how is this possible?
In the last couple of years, data collection efficiency increased thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques. In other words, what improved the way the companies process the customer information are:
- The appearance of chatbots
- The increased use of e-commerce customer service software
- An increasing number of innovative types of CRM software
But how do these changes affect customer service?
Well, it’s quite simple. Chatbots have started to overtake the responsibility for:
- The collection of basic data
- The initial interaction with customers
- Dealing with minor and generic issues that customers may have
In these conditions, on the one hand, thanks to chatbots, live chat operators have more time to deal with more complex customers’ issues. On the other hand, the use of CRM software can organize customers’ data into databases, facilitating different tasks of chat operators.
So, it’s not a surprise that 80% of businesses either already use chatbots or they’ll implement them by 2020. It’s more than likely that the chatbots will dominate the market this year and become an essential part of a good customer service experience. Not to mention that they may be a great way of driving conversions.
#2 Mobile payment will increase its share
Even in 2018, the lack of mobile payment options made customers give up on their purchases. Moreover, about 440 million users around the globe used different mobile payment options to make their purchases during the last year. So, it’s more than likely this trend will only become more and more popular as we sail through 2019.
In accordance, if your e-commerce business still doesn’t accept any of the popular mobile payment options, make sure to change this as soon as possible. There are a large number of options that you may implement so you can choose from:
- QR code payment
- Cloud-based mobile payment
- Direct mobile billing
- Audio signal mobile payment (NSDT)
- Contactless payment systems like Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay
- A mobile app that will let customers buy your products exclusively using credit or debit cards, and many other systems
Having in mind that this feature has become a must among serious e-commerce businesses, no matter what type of instant payment you choose, it will help you keep (or even improve) your market position. Not only will it positively impact your brand reputation but will also take your customer service to a higher level: Mobile payment is convenient both in terms of customers’ safety and the simplification of the purchase process.
#3 Social media will remain the most effective way to get closer to your customers
By the end of 2018, the number of social media users got to more than 2.5 billion, so there’s no wonder why social media will remain one of the most reliable ways to feel the customers’ pulse. All of the leading brands take their social media reputation pretty seriously. The more platforms a brand actively uses, the bigger its chances are to actually connect with the target audience. Not to mention that 67% of customers ask for help using social media rather than calling support hotlines.
Even though social media platforms will remain a valuable means of interaction for brands this year, how they keep track of their customers’ activities may change a bit. As we’re witnessing a constantly growing number of social media users, we’re aware that it’s becoming more and more difficult for companies to keep track of all the posts, comments, reactions, and messages directed to them. And that’s why we may expect further development of some trends that appeared in the last couple of years.
Have you already heard of sentiment analysis?
One of the most interesting innovative trends that can be helpful to the business managers in 2019 is the sentiment analysis. This automated process is based on the use of AI, and it’s supposed to interpret the true meaning of a text sent to a company. Sentiment analysis can be of great help in the process of business development as it helps you collect negative impressions and attribute them to the sources of customers’ dissatisfaction, sentiment analysis may be a great help in the process of business improvement.
In accordance, artificial intelligence is expected to significantly impact the social media strategies and interaction with customers. Chances are AI will become one of the essential tools for communicating with customers on social media and processing their requests.
#4 Online chat customer service may become faster than ever
You’re probably already aware of how important it is to send fast replies to customers’ requests. Although the feedback quality has remained the crucial aspect of a good customer service experience, nowadays it’s just not enough. To keep the customers happy, you should be processing their requests in less than one hour.
On the one hand, according to My Customer, 89% of customers expect resourceful feedback within the first 60 minutes. On the other hand, while 62% of companies ignore customer emails, the ones who do reply need about 12 hours on average. And this time gap represents an amazing source of competitive advantage for businesses to improve their market positions this year.
But how to make use of this information if you don’t have a big customer support team? Several ways can be of great help in this process:
- Implement the online chat customer service and combine it with chatbots. This way you can get additional information regarding the issue as soon as it appears.
- To address requests received via email, introduce automatic replies that can lead the customers to a public knowledge base. This way, they can try to find the answer on their own as they wait for your actual feedback. Besides, they will focus on the research of the content for a while, rather than on time it took for you to come back to them.
- Ask your customers if everything is okay even before they explicitly reach out to you to make a complaint. It’s something you can do in no time, using the support channel you prefer. And the best part is that this process can be automated so you won’t have to send individual messages. You can reach out to your customers using email, social media, or live chat software if they’re navigating through your website. It will take you just a couple of minutes to send this message but you’ll show your customers that you are genuinely interested in their experience with your brand.
#5 Meaningful use of Customer Relationship Management software will become a must
We can’t deny the fact that a large number of companies have started to implement diverse CRM solutions into their business practice lately. Moreover, according to Exactlly, CRM has had a pretty consistent and impressive growth in the last decade, which tells a lot about its utility and how it shapes the future trends. However, 22% of salespeople have no idea what a CRM is, while another 40% still save customer data using informal spreadsheets and email programs even though they have access to CRM.
Accordingly, the introduction of CRM software doesn’t necessarily bring great results itself. The competitive advantage is not brought by the implementation of software but by its practical use. As stated by Sales-i, an impersonal approach based on entirely automated CRM solution won’t get you anywhere. Moreover, your customers may become pretty frustrated.
What you should keep in mind in 2019 is that a quality CRM is supposed to let you make a stronger connection with your customers, by respecting their individuality and building your unique brand personality. And you can’t succeed in this if you don’t implement a flexible, customizable and intuitive CRM software that you can shape the way you want.
Precisely the mentioned aspects of CRM implementation will be some of the major topics for companies that want to improve their customer service. Therefore, the primary challenge for numerous businesses will be to find a balance between automatized processes and personalized approach. Accordingly, we may expect the increase in the average adoption of CRM, which is currently about 47%.
We may get to see some simplified CRM solutions, as well…
Once under the control of Microsoft, Adobe, and Salesforce, CRM market has now become a more open arena. There are some great new CRM providers in the market offering a variety of products and services that can simplify your work tasks and significantly improve customer service. Hopefully, the competitive spirit of CRM suppliers will provide us with some easy to use, intuitive software solutions. These simplifications would positively impact the staff structure since companies would not need numerous technical experts to use the software efficiently.
Let’s Not Forget About Employees
Speaking of customer service trends, somehow we all focus on providing the best experience for customers. And even though the ultimate goal of every business should be customers’ happiness, we definitely should not forget the employees’ needs, since the employees’ experience may dramatically impact their performance.
Accordingly, to provide an exquisite customer support service, companies should start from the internal organizational structure, providing exquisite work conditions for the employees, in the first place.
Provided that the business world has already become aware of this correlation, increased investments in employee motivation and education will be another significant trend in 2019 that will make a substantial impact on customer service.
Summing Up: The Future Of Customer Service In 2019
During the last several years, we’ve witnessed a constantly increasing interest in customer experience and support. These have been crucial aspects for companies that wanted to keep their market positions and stand out from the competition. In 2019, we can expect that companies can go even further to please their customers and increase individual customer lifetime value.
Main assets that will be used in this process are the ones that companies have already experimented with in the last couple of years. However, this time, they’ll be more likely to take the game to a higher level and improve the existing systems to get the most of them. Accordingly, the improvements in customer service will rely on the efforts of motivated employees supported with:
- Artificial intelligence
- High-quality CRM software
- Various mobile payment options
As you can see, the artificial intelligence still won’t overmatch human resources in 2019. Or at least not when it comes to customer service. It is more likely that it will transform from an insufficiently used trophy that’s difficult to understand into a great help to the human work, which will still be pretty dominant. So, on the one hand, seems like in 2019 it won’t be enough to have an implemented CRM solution and brag about it. On the other hand, releasing its full potential may bring incredible results, especially if you combine them with a well-developed social media strategy and appropriate reactions to customers’ concerns.
We feel honored to have Jared’s insights featured in our blog, and we are incredibly thankful for the knowledge he has shared with us.
Jared Cornell is a customer-support specialist, a marketing evangelist and a book lover, associated with ProProfs Chat. Jared is passionate about customer support and loves to solve customers’ queries. He is always keen to develop new strategies to help customers seeking live chat assistance for a delightful experience. Connect with Jared on Twitter.