It’s not just the clothing industry or the car industry or the tech industry. Trends happen in pretty much every industry out there–although, some industries definitely have faster-moving trends than others.
As 2017 fast approaches the mid-year mark, several customer service trends have started to stand out. Here are a few of them:
1. Millennials are here to stay.
Millennials now make up about a quarter of the population. This is serious buying power. Their wishes and desires can no longer be ignored. The frustration of many businesses is that the millennials have a different customer service expectation than the generations before them:
- They don’t tolerate slow response time.
- They prefer using technology whenever possible.
- They want to have deeper engagement with the companies they buy from.
Ignore these differences and you shut out a significant chunk of your consumer base.
2. Customers just want to be appreciated.
Customers want to know they are valued. They want to know that they matter and that their experience is important to the businesses that they purchase from.
What this means for the trend aspect is that businesses need to go above and beyond to make their customers feel appreciated.
This isn’t really a trend, so much as a constant rule that continues to gain more importance. Extra little things matter whether dramatic or subtle, and they do not go unnoticed.
3. Value + Customer Service = Happy Customer.
Everyone wants the best deal. As consumers, we want our money to go as far as possible.
But consumers are also happy to pay more if they feel they are getting value from their investment. So if you have a higher priced item, make sure it has the value behind it to back it up. Give genuine care and attention or tailor your services to your clients’ specific needs and they will be happier paying a premium for the privilege.
A good customer experience is one of the biggest competitive differentiations you can have.
4. Social media customer service…it used to be a thing.
For the past few years, there has been a growing hype around the use of social media for customer service. This is due to the fact that so many consumers are expressing their concerns and comments, positive and negative, on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Yelp. However, all of this is changing.
The realisation is that social media is not efficient enough to address large numbers of consumers in a timely fashion–plus it’s just not a feasible way to handle more complex issues. And to put even more reasoning behind this decline is the fact that consumers just don’t care for it.
So while it is good to respond to consumers, so they know they are being heard and keep a general eye on social media interactions, it should not be seen as a major customer service outlet.
5. It can be empowering to enable customers to help themselves.
Self-help, user-enabled tools are powerful. Some people might be hesitant about self-help options because it removes the personal touch. However, for the simple things, users want the efficiency and speed of finding answers online or quickly over the phone–no need for pleasantries, being put on hold or repeating a question to multiple people. And remember the millennials? They love to just the answers they want when they want them.
At the moment, the power of automation includes everything from online self-diagnostic tools to more dynamic forms that can provide suggestions. For now, though, real people are indispensable. They’re able to answer complex questions, respond with empathy to customers and create better relationships.
6. Omni-channel is king.
The buzzword used to be multi-channel. Consumers could connect with the businesses they use through their phone, online chat, email, social media, and in-person. The only limiting factor was the low connectivity between these platforms. Now that’s been solved with the advent of omni-channel.
Omni-channel is the seamless customer experience across all channels. An example is the “click to collect” function many retail stores have. You can buy online and then collect in store. Looking for ways to make your customers experience and as natural as possible across all channels (social media, mobile, web and in “real life”) is the way forward.
7. Hand over the hard stuff, or the time-wasting stuff, to the professionals.
Outsourcing: The answer to many of your problems, stress and headaches. Customer service is a skill. Some people have it and some people don’t. However, because it isn’t necessarily a job position that requires a degree, diploma or certificate, people often wander into this job without experience or training. For many businesses, it can be difficult to identify the potential candidates who would have the most success in a customer service position. Unfortunately, this can lead to hiring someone who isn’t a people-person or hiring someone who struggles to respond to angry customers. This can all be avoided by outsourcing.
Speaking of handing over, eSense has been hired by dozens of clients and we’ve helped them up their customer satisfaction scores. Contact us today to schedule your initial risk-free consultation.