As we enter a new era, there are numerous new technologies, approaches and trends that are taking the Customer Support industry by storm. While companies across the entire spectrum of B2B initiatives have put a strong focus on how best to treat their customers and clients, we’re definitely entering a period of transition in 2020. What was once considered “good enough” is now just the bare minimum of what a company must do in order to stand out and truly shine when it comes to handling customer satisfaction. Here are six key trends that will determine the success of countless support teams in 2020 and beyond.
1. Invest in relationship driven customer success
The term customer success has arrived and with it, the overall understanding that your customers are expecting more than just basic service, but rather a sense of success and achievement as well. Whereas it was once industry standard for support agents to diligently work through online support tickets and respond according to the strict guidelines that their company had written out for them, we find ourselves in a much more customer-centric climate these days. The term success can be taken quite literally and your users truly expect nothing less.
This new approach towards service is to go above and beyond the call of duty to delight your customers. The customer success mentality is leading to the rise of proactive support teams whose primary agenda is to keep customers happy and excited about your company’s product no matter what difficulty might arise.
2. Support your customers where they are (social media)
Social media has been steadily gaining more and more traction among some of the largest companies in the world when it comes to customer communication. In 2020, it will be absolutely essential to offer your clients the ability to connect with your agents via platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn. On a practical level, your customers are learning about your business or product online, so it’s only sensible and beneficial to your success to use social media as an effective tool for communicating with your valuable customers.
Companies who orient their support teams around social media will create a customer experience that is bound to see positive ripple effects across the board such as greater customer satisfaction, positive word of mouth, and increased retention. As tech savvy youth grow into your ideal target market, the prominence of social media as a tool to share information and converse with customers will become more and more impactful on the success of your business model.
3. Use knowledge bases to deflect customer tickets
One of the newer trends that companies are applying more often these days is a sophisticated knowledge base to help deflect repeat queries, while also offering both basic and niche information to help customers utilize their particular service. These help centers include comprehensive articles, how-to posts and even video tutorials which help elucidate some of the finer points of their services in order to allow the prospective or current customer to figure out how to solve a specific problem through their own research.
With a robust KB, customer support agents will no longer need to constantly answer the same tickets day in and out. This proactive approach to customer support will certainly grow in popularity during the next decade. As companies establish strong KB’s, customer satisfaction will organically rise as knowledge is publicly shared about how to best use their platform without having to ask an agent “how.” Self-service is fundamental to the future of every company's support strategy.
4. Offer real-time support through live chat and chatbots
Over the last several years, there has been a strong push in many industries to employ live chats on company sites to allow for instant communication between service agents and their customers. This flexible approach to customer service is appreciated by users and helps companies build trust and genuine customer loyalty due to their support teams commitment to being available when needed most.
While it goes without saying that chatbots are an effective and useful tool to keep your customers happy and “in the know,” it is only the tip of the iceberg of what it takes to achieve truly outstanding customer service. An Important aspect of how to use a live chat to improve your support strategy is that it offers managers the ability to sift through chat history and decipher common customer pain points your users have been experiencing. This useful data can then be analyzed internally and configured into useful insights about how to handle your customers’ various pain points.
A comprehensive, real-time approach towards interacting with your customers will be necessary in 2020 to stay on top of the curve when it comes to satisfying your users. Clients will expect a fluid approach to messaging– meaning your company should be equipped to respond swiftly to customers via video, screen sharing tech and especially text or SMS as we enter this new decade.
5. Deliver personalized customer experiences
One of the most popular phrases regarding customer service in this day and age is to “personalize the customers’ journey.” This methodology is particularly effective when dealing with unhappy or frustrated clients and should be employed methodically throughout the customer journey to achieve its maximum effect. It’s important to understand that when your company is operating on the B2B level, personalization can be accomplished in a multi-tiered fashion across the board.
Whether that means offering multilingual support options or a seamless online experience on a desktop, mobile or application level– your customer should feel as though their journey has been created for their needs. This means there should be as few obstacles as possible affecting their experience no matter the circumstance. All of this benefits the customer as they feel valued and appreciated, which in turn benefits the company as a whole in many ways. Common results of successfully implementing an understanding and empathetic approach towards your clients include increased retention, conversions and authentic customer loyalty.
Personalization includes employing all of the different trends we’ve discussed above as well that all important human-centric touch of empathy. Offering your clients the chance to communicate with your company on their terms and in their preferred method will result in high grade customer satisfaction and should in turn produce the results your company is looking for this 2020.
6. Foster a remote work relationship with your agents
The remote work phenomenon is becoming a norm across industries all around the world with the support sector in specific leading the charge. It’s important to keep in mind that there are benefits which come with working remotely, but that you must work doubly as hard to ensure you have the correct technology, tools and metrics in place to keep everything running smoothly.
A robust cloud-based customer support software can help your agents remain aligned at home and increase productivity across the board. Ensuring efficiency is a major concern when your employees aren’t in the same physical location as their managers, so putting in the time and effort to build out effective self-service solutions can go a long way to helping your agents work effectively. Don’t underestimate the power of a good communication tool like slack or a daily video sync to keep everyone on the same page when working remotely.
Lastly, measuring key KPI’s in one unified dashboard can improve your manager's ability to keep track of both the larger support picture as well as the minute details. Focusing on analytics such as ticket insights, call-center metrics and team performance can all help keep your agents on track and offer transparent data that everyone can use to improve their support service. Measuring all of these interactions can prove invaluable to optimizing agent execution and help you understand as well as run your team more effectively.
These trends will help you stay one step ahead of the competition in 2020. There are numerous possibilities available for companies to improve their customer engagement methods and it’s important for both large enterprises as well as newly launched startups to take notice of these trends and employ them successfully. Adopting new approaches towards using technology and innovative strategies such as adding a live chat option to your site or upgrading your company’s tech stack to be able to support a multi-channel support experience will be appreciated by your customers. No matter what type of entity you are overseeing, we hope you take advantage of these tips and use them to boost your customer support in every way possible.