Customer care is always evolving, and today’s customer service trends are tomorrow’s “must haves.”
Good customer service is a whole-company effort: It calls on teams to understand how buyers come to decisions, deepen their brand connections, and relate to your products.
All along, however, customer service reps and their leaders stand at the forefront of the effort.
Let’s look into the crystal ball and see the six customer service trends that matter most in 2019.
1. Social Media Customer Care is Expanding
As social media customer care becomes routine, people are changing the way they relate to brands on social media. While there’ll always be vocal people who want to air their displeasure publicly, many of the most serious customers are moving to direct messages.
Bottom line: Brands need to know how to work with people who slide into their DMs. This is an opportunity to build a relationship. Have clear standards for your team to use and think about what tone best conveys your values to the online public.
2. It’s Past Time to “Mobilize” Your Website
Is your site fully mobile-friendly yet? I mean ... really mobile-friendly?
If not, you’re missing out on one of the biggest customer service trends.
The genie is out of the bottle on mobile. For most companies, more searches and email opens will originate from mobile than desktop. And, yes, people will try to get their customer service to-do list finished from their smartphone.
That might seem counterintuitive, but it’s still up to you to provide an amazing user interface optimized for mobile. Your web team should deploy a responsive makeover for your site and test out any format changes using mobile displays: Smartphone, tablet, and laptop.
3. Convenience is the King for Customers...
One of the customer service trends that will never die is convenience.
The trick is in how you provide it.
In today’s fast-moving mobile era, the word “omnichannel” about sums it up.
Omnichannel customer service refers to the ability of customers to get in touch with your team however they want and whenever they want. A modern customer service mix should include chat, email, telephone, social media, and – where appropriate – in-person options.
Though that about covers it for most firms, only data on your own customers will point the way to your own truth.
For example, although Twitter is very popular as a customer service platform, your customers may prefer LinkedIn or even Facebook. Some customers, especially in technical fields, enjoy forums where they can discuss problems and hash out solutions with other users.
4. ...and Self-Service is a Bigger Part of That
Not everyone wants to deal with humans. Your brand should recognize that, too.
In a world of endless attention-getting and ever-proliferating phone spam, the ability to take care of a problem in solitude can be a tremendous relief. And it dovetails with other major trends in how customers want to be treated: Content marketing is basically “self-serve” product research.
Yes, there should be simple ways for customers to connect with real people however they want. But many of them won’t want and will consider the need to go through customer service rigmarole as a failure of your system. Give customers all the DIY resources they could ever need.
5. Customer Relationship Management is Key...
Personalization has been among the top customer service trends for a long time now.
Digital marketing tools provide plenty of personalization, but a truly customized experience is often down to the quick thinking of your customer service reps. To make customers feel valued, reps need total visibility into each caller’s whole history.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software gives them that power.
It’s vital to ensure every rep has the opportunity to sort out how your CRM works and the best way to use it. Picking a system with a sleek, sophisticated user interface will equip you to give customers concierge service on the fly. Hat tip: The HubSpot CRM.
6. ...but Privacy and Personalization Will Collide
So, customer experience personalization will continue to become more sophisticated and seamless.
However, it’s about to collide with a separate idea many people find just as important: Privacy.
With 2020’s arrival of the California Consumer Privacy Act, U.S. businesses will be facing European-style data collection restrictions for the first time. Although CCPA applies only to users in California, many enterprises will update their privacy regime for end-to-end compliance.
Now’s as good a time as any to really look at what you do for personalization. Are you falling into the uncanny valley – making it look like your brand is stalking people across the web? Or are you using personalization in ways that lead to a truly value-added message?
What customer service trends are you looking forward to in 2019? Tell our team in a comment!