According to a Gartner report, 89 percent of surveyed companies plan to compete among their peers by boosting their customer service in 2016, a dramatic increase from 58 percent in 2015. This just confirms how important customer experience is to any business and if they want to climb their way or stay on top, businesses need to focus on providing exceptional customer experience.
Extraordinary customer service is the hottest trend in business today – take a look at what trends will help shape it in 2016.
5 Customer Service Trends in 2016
1. Omni-channel presence, all the time
Omni-channel retailing is the future of e-commerce according to Deloitte’s Point of View. This comes as no surprise as 95 percent of customers use more than one channel to communicate with companies. As businesses make their presence known across multiple channels (voice, chat, web, social media, etc.), they need to integrate (combining and aligning) these channels to create a congruent customer experience – 87 percent of customers see the need to provide a seamless experience. Businesses need to be consistent and offer continuity across contact points to make it easy for customers to switch channels with whatever is convenient for them. Aberdeen says that companies with a strong and integrated omnichannel presence have 89 percent customer engagement compared to 33 percent for companies with weak omnichannel integration.
2. Mobile-first customer experience
This trend has been going around for years but companies have been slow to adapt it to their customer service delivery channels. This has got to change as ComScore recently revealed that mobile users have now outnumbered desktop users and by next year, mobile searches will generate 27.8 billion more queries than those done through desktops.
This means companies should focus on mobile customer experience, developing or enhancing their mobile apps to improve customer interactions.
3. Self-service tools will be a priority
Gartner lists self-service as one of the top three planned customer experience projects by companies surveyed this year. Fifty percent of customers believe it’s important that they can solve product issues themselves, and 70 percent expect a company’s website to have a self-service application. The aim of strengthening self-service options is to empower consumers and boost shoppers’ confidence, directly increasing sales.
4. Call-back option will be priority for voice channels
Did you know that a third of customers believe that companies should never put people on hold? In fact, 60 percent of customers will abandon a call after just a minute of waiting on hold. Hold times mean lost productivity and companies lose $900 per employee from this alone. If customers have a choice, 64 percent of them would gladly text with customer service agents instead and 61 percent of them prefer the call-back option.
By doing call-backs, companies help make customers feel respected, important and happy. As voice continues to be the preferred customer service channel consumers use on a regular basis, agents should be trained to do call-back options and companies should invest on equipment that allows agents to trace call-back requests, record them and integrate them into their CRM tools.
5. Predictive analytics will help shape customer experience delivery
More companies will know how to use, not just collect data. According to a recent Gartner survey, companies who implemented customer experience projects first focused on the improvement of their customer feedback data collection and analysis. Predictive analytics will be used improve customer conservation guides in real-time, allowing for more personalized customer experiences.
Customer Service Requires Investment
Businesses need to realize that in order to gain customer loyalty they need to invest in customer experience. Your relationship with your customers is the key to your future success.
Investing on customer service means three things: investing in the right technology, listening to the voice of the customer and having engaged employees/customer service agents. Sixty-two percent of companies view customer experience provided through call centers as a competitive differentiator according to Deloitte.
Utilizing the right technology helps you listen to your customers more effectively and empowering employees helps them deliver better service to your customers.