It’s the unspoken standard by which every business is judged, the telling first sign most consumers turn to when deciding to work with a company, the first impression tone-setter that (deep down) matters to all buyers – it’s customer support, and it’s more important than ever.
With every new year comes new trends that sweep every industry. No matter what line of work you’re in, it’s inevitable – change is coming that will rock your industry. Wise companies and businesses will put their ears to the ground and remain on high-alert to keep a lookout for the whirlwind of transformative changes.
This year, it’s the era of industry-altering customer support trends.
With 2019 in our line of vision, it’s time to take a look at the new, technologically-driven trends that are undoubtedly coming for the customer support sector of every business.
Check out the top 9 trends we’re looking at for this year that we think will effectively change the way your company handles customer support.
The Top 9 Customer Support Trends You Need to Implement this Year
Before we dive into our favorite 9 trends that are set to hit customer support strategies in 2019, we want to take a moment to answer the questions that are undoubtedly rattling around your brain like, “why should we pay attention to customer support, anyway?” Or, “what kind of challenges do customer service programs face?”
For starters, with the emphasis being put on customer service programs in modern-day companies, the influx of customer service requests is consistently increasing. Further, with a constant piling up of complaints, comments, questions, and compliments, it can be nearly impossible to prioritize those customer service requests. More than that, customer service reps are dealing with new forms of technology, new media platforms that require social listening, and even marketing challenges.
How can the new wave of customer service trends change all of that?
We’ve got that all figured out for you. Check out these transformative changes and trends set to hit customer care services in the coming year.
1. The Rise of the Bot Continues
We all know about chatbots, the helpful, automated bots that are popping up on sites everywhere that allow companies the opportunity to offer ‘round-the-clock services to customers who long on to their pages well after the office lights have gone out.
This year, the bot trend will continue to rise.
We’re not trying to say bots will absorb customer service jobs, just that they’ll continue to be steadily implemented to help customer service programs handle massive influx of requests. While chatbots weren’t exactly the revolutionary customer service solution that 2018 thought they might be, they’re going to continue to be on the rise as a customer service trend.
Don’t believe us? Ask CBNC – they’re reporting that chatbots are destined to continue growing and cut business costs by an estimated $8 billion come 2022.
2. Solid Customer Service Program is the New Way to Market
You know how it goes – good customer service is praised and bad customer service typically goes straight to the web for a viral punishment. For 2019, we expect a trend where great customer service going viral to increase, too.
The best part about this? It’s a great marketing tool.
We don’t think you should fire your marketing team, but we do think it’s a savvy move to recognize that over-the-top customer service can get you a fair amount of recognition.
Consider all those memes and gifs about Chic-Fil-A’s absolutely perfect and nearly-too-good customer service – that’s a marketing strategy all on its own! Definitely count on this trend continuing throughout 2019 and try to capitalize on it!
3. DMs over PSAs
While it might not seem like a hugely influential trend, it’s definitely an important one to recognize. Companies are now taking the direct message route instead of posting or emailing enormous public announcements.
Why, you ask?
Consumers love the idea of brands reaching out to them, chatting with them privately, and showing that they care about what they have to say. In fact, according to data from Sprinklr, about 54 percent of customers want to hear from brands over social messaging channels.
4. Social Media Strategies Rule the Day
Here’s a fact you’re going to want to hold on to for 2019 – about 80 percent of consumers are using social media platforms to engage with brands. Translation? That’s a lot of consumers turning to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and more to receive customer care services from their favorite brands. Are you on these platforms? Have you implemented social strategies? This will only continue to be the standard as 2019 races by us – you need to make sure your customer care strategy includes social media blueprints.
5. Things are Floating Up The Cloud
This is a strategy that has less to do with dealing with consumers directly and more to do with how companies are handling the new digital customer care trends – the cloud.
In order to better store and analyze data (which we’ll get to in a moment), manage the growth of messaging, and better adjust to for the digital channels they acquire, many companies are taking to the cloud. According to Forbes, about 77 percent of enterprises have at least one application (or a significant portion of their enterprise) hanging out in the cloud – it should be unsurprising that a good chunk of that is due to changes in customer service support.
6. New Messaging Channels Are Popping Up
There are endless and infinite platforms to communicate with customers — and that unattainable number only continues to grow. Come 2019, the use of messaging will likely increase even more. With consistent rollouts of business apps, messenger platforms (think Slack, think WhatsApp, think Facebook Messenger). Even further? Apple Business Chat is coming our way this year, a giant representation of the importance of understanding and adopting new messaging channels.
7. Digital First Adaptation
It goes without saying that digital transformation (and digital-first strategies) are obviously an enormous part of the 2019 trends for customer care services. In fact, about 89 percent of enterprises said that they have already adopted or plan to adopt a digital-first business strategy. You can continue to anticipate this as a trend for 2019 in the customer care realm. How does this help customer care? Not only does it foster easier management techniques during high peaks of activity, but it also frees up customer service representatives to host personal relationships and build brand loyalty.
8. Voice Messaging is Here to Stay
According to data from The Verge, voice messaging is becoming a hugely popular trend and is only expected to continue as 2019 marches on. The trend is significant (proving an important part of customer care in Asian territories) and companies should be ready to handle it within their customer service realms this year.
9. Data-Driven Research = Better Customer Service
This isn’t a new trend, necessarily, but it’s one that’s quickly gaining recognition as a savvy business move.
As 2019 zips by us, the trend of social data digging to support better customer service will only continue to increase. Think about it, for a long time now, marketing departments and PR specialists have been turning to data to figure out what drives consumers and makes campaigns successful – it only makes sense that customer service specialists would start doing the same.
It’s easier than it’s ever been to track, analyze, record, and understand data about consumers and what they want from a customer service company – this strategy is set to take over in 2018.