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9 Latest Customer Support Trends & Predictions for 2022

A new version of this article, featuring the latest data and statistics is available. Check out our report on Customer Support Software Trends for 2022/2023.

You need to up your customer support game and you need to do it now. With the COVID-19 crisis, consumers’ expectations of customer service have reached new heights. This resulted in organizations either heeding the call and keeping up with customer support trends or facing business failure.

As we all know, customer service has become a major consideration when choosing a brand. Companies have been turning to top customer support programs to improve customer service. This is evident in the current customer support trends.

If you are a customer support executive planning your next move and wondering how you can adapt to the disruptions caused by the pandemic, these trends and customer service statistics can be an excellent resource. Companies must focus on factors like technology and agent skills if they are to improve customer service. Let’s take a look at some of the most important trends shaping customer support in the time of COVID-19. 

customer-support-trends

Customer service has become a focal point for many companies. This reflects the emergence of a new breed of consumers. These days, people tend to be more demanding when it comes to customer service, especially since the pandemic has forced many consumers to go online. In fact, many consumers are now willing to pay more for good customer service. The aspects of which include fast issue resolution, being able to talk to knowledgeable agents, and not having to repeat certain information to customer service agents.

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The Most Important Aspect of Customer Service According to Customers

The Most Important Aspect of Customer Service According to Customers
Resolving the issue in a single transaction: 35

Resolving the issue in a single transaction

%
The Most Important Aspect of Customer Service According to Customers
Knowledgeable agent: 31

Knowledgeable agent

%
The Most Important Aspect of Customer Service According to Customers
Not repeating information: 20

Not repeating information

%
The Most Important Aspect of Customer Service According to Customers
Finding information myself: 11

Finding information myself

%

Source: Microsoft (2019)

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Companies have recognized the demand for better customer support. As a result, many businesses have been stepping up to meet the challenge. Eighty-one percent of consumers in the US see companies as either meeting or exceeding customer service expectations. But customers’ impatience with poor customer service makes customer service improvement hard.

More challenges ahead

And then there are the consequences of rendering poor customer service. Increased connectivity also poses a threat to businesses. A report said that 40% of consumers will tell others to not support a company with poor customer service. More trends highlight the need for greater customer support as you’ll find out below.

There is no denying the increased importance of customer support among today’s organizations. It has come to a point where customer service will define a company’s future. Also, new technology has been reshaping the face of customer service. New tech has imbued customer support with the gift of automation. The most common examples of customer service tech are top customer support tools. You’ll find that more customer service trends are on the horizon. These developments may very well end up becoming the new acid test for corporate success.

Businesses Will Invest More in Automation

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to reassess their technology needs in order to accommodate inquiries and requests from customers flocking online. This is where automation comes in (Econsultancy, 2020).

In the midst of the pandemic, 71% of companies agreed that automation helped their business remain agile, and 64% of IT-decision makers expect their organization to put more investments in automation technology (Inference Solutions, 2020).

Chatbots are one of the most popular and effective solutions when it comes to automation. Businesses have been using chatbots in customer service in a variety of ways even before the pandemic. You can program chatbots to provide swift answers to simple queries by referencing from your organization’s knowledge base. Also, with advancements in AI and machine learning, you can expect chatbots to become even better at providing timely and accurate customer support.

Key Takeaways

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to reassess their technology capabilities
  • More businesses will invest in automation to provide timely customer support.
  • Chatbots are one of the most popular and effective solutions when it comes to automation.

Omnichannel Support

A vast majority of today’s consumers make purchases and inquiries using different devices and communication channels like email, social media, and instant messaging. For example, a customer might make the first contact via instant messaging then make a call or send an email later on.

As such, relying on a single-channel or multi-channel support system may no longer be as effective as they were back then. The former will limit your ability to cater to the different communication preferences of your customers. Meanwhile, the latter, when siloed, will prevent you from tracking a customer’s journey across channels.

Only by offering omnichannel support will your team be able to provide service that’s timely and in the right context. Omnichannel support eliminates the need to ask for the customer’s data again. This will in turn improve the overall customer experience.

Key takeaways

  • Consumers contact customer support from different devices and communication channels.
  • Omnichannel support helps your team provide timely service in the right context.
  • Omnichannel support eliminates the need for customers to refurnish agents with their data.

Businesses will shift to proactive customer service

Competition is getting tougher and tougher by the day, and if companies want to have an edge, increase loyalty, and retain customers, they will need to take a proactive approach to customer service. They need to be the first to reach out to consumers to resolve issues that customers may not even be aware of.
In one study, 85% of consumers surveyed said that they were happy to be contacted by companies to resolve issues, while 75% said that their perception of a company changed to a positive one after a positive experience with an incoming call (InContact). A more recent survey showed that 27% of consumers now expect proactive service from the brands they do business with (Netomi, 2020).
It comes as no surprise then that 3 in 10 customers have stopped purchasing from a brand due to bad customer service. As such, proactive customer service is bound to become the new norm. Organizations’ move from providing good to excellent customer support software will drive proactive support.

proactive customer service

Key takeaways

  • Proactive customer service can help improve customer retention.
  • Companies are seeking to resolve problems that customers have yet to be aware of.
  • Businesses are responsible for informing customers of problems.

Most Popular Customer Support Software

  1. Vision Helpdesk. A customer support solution that enables businesses to conveniently handle all support transactions in a single place. Read more about it in our Vision Helpdesk review.
  2. JitBit HelpDesk. Offers an efficient system for tracking and handling customer support tickets. For more details, read this JitBit HelpDesk review.
  3. Qualtrics CX. A robust customer support platform for helping businesses provide seamless customer experience. Discover how in this Qualtrics CX review.
  4. TeamSupport. A comprehensive customer support solution that streamlines business-client communication and collaboration. For more information, check out our TeamSupport review.
  5. Zoho Desk. Helps businesses consistently provide quality customer support. Find out how it helps agent productivity and its other great features in this Zoho Desk review.

Companies will focus on customer success

There is more to customer service than just processing tickets and providing canned responses. 80% of customers say that the experience a company offers is just as critical as the quality of the products they sell (Salesforce, 2019). In fact, studies show that organizations that focused on customer experience were able to improve customer retention by 33% and boost upselling by up to 42% (SuperOffice, 2021).

That said, good customer service should be built around the notion of achieving success for every customer and ensuring their satisfaction. By customer success, we mean the achievement of successful outcomes from the customer-vendor relationship.

Customer success can be realized by using all resources available to ensure that customers remain happy. More and more companies are focusing on customer success, which has led to the reduction of customer churn and increased feedback from third parties.

Key takeaways

  • Good customer service should be aimed at customer success.
  • Customer success is built around successful customer-vendor relationship outcomes.
  • Focus on customer success helps cut customer churn.

Consumers will continue using social media for customer support

Social media has emerged as a valuable business tool, finding its way into companies’ bag of marketing tricks. But as the social media pendulum swings both ways, these platforms are also seen to be effective in customer support. The only difference is this time, customers will be the ones to contact businesses through social media. This is but one of the most notable social customer care trends.

Studies conducted by ValueWalk have reported that 63% of customers expect businesses to offer support via social media (ValueWalk). Furthermore, a recent study says that consumers 25 years old and below say that these platforms are their primary choice when it comes to contacting brands (Consumer Reports, 2019). This number is expected to further increase as social media use continues to burgeon. This is why you need to integrate your customer service with social media platforms so that your customers will be able to reach you at their convenience.

customers expect companies to offer support via social media

Key takeaways

  • Customers are seen to contact support through social media, particularly customers aged 25 years and below.
  • 63% of customers expect companies to offer support through social media.
  • Businesses should integrate support with social media platforms.

Agents working from home will be the new normal

Even though vaccines for COVID-19 have started to roll out, there won’t be a sudden rush back to the office for customer support agents. Work-from-home setups will still persist. In fact, 35% of contact center managers and leaders say their contact centers will mainly adopt a WFH setup (CustomerThink, 2021).

Moreover, companies will be enlisting the services of freelancers as many customer service jobs can be accomplished virtually anywhere.  In the United States, the prospect of relocating entire families as part of the recruitment process can greatly impact companies’ coffers. So, upon realizing the savings that a remote workforce can provide, we can expect more companies to allow remote work for their customer support agents.

Key takeaways

  • Allowing agents to work from home will likely become a permanent strategy even after the pandemic.
  • Companies are realizing the savings they can get from a remote workforce.
  • More agents will be freelancers.

More companies will rely on remote support technology

Connected to the rise of remote agents is the increased demand for remote support technology. Examples of these include VoIP systems, live chat software, video consultation, SMS messaging, and asynchronous messaging.

As COVID-19 pushes face-to-face customer support into a decline, companies will need to invest in secure, reliable, and scalable remote support technologies so that their agents can continue providing quality support without increasing their risk of exposure to the virus. Additionally, remote technologies are also beneficial to managers and team leaders in monitoring their agents’ performance even as they work from home. Tools like sentiment analysis can monitor an agent’s morale the same way it keeps track of customer mood.

Key takeaways

  • Due to COVID-19, face-to-face customer support is declining.
  • Companies need to implement reliable and secure remote support technologies so agents can serve customers from a safe distance.
  • Remote technologies also help managers monitor an agent’s morale.

Going Real-Time

The pace of technological advancement over the years has contributed to the shift in customer expectations. With the rise of AI and IoT, many shoppers now look for real-time support from the brands they purchase from. This has led to the increased use of chatbots and messaging apps in customer service, which contributed to the growth of the chatbot market size to $17.17 billion in 2020 (Research and Markets, 2021).

These technologies provide businesses with the opportunity to offer support in real-time. Live chat, for example, effectively puts an agent on standby at all times. Customers, in turn, get the impression that your customer service is always available.

Real-time support has distinct advantages that other support types do not have, including increased conversions, reduced response time, and quick issue resolution. This type of support is one of the most highlighted b2b customer service trends. One good way to offer real-time support is by adopting ways to provide good online customer service.

Source: Salesforce Research

Key takeaways

  • Chatbots and messaging allow for the real-time provision of customer support.
  • Live chat puts agents on constant standby.
  • Real-time support results in more conversions and decreased response time.

Personalized Customer Experience

It would be great if all the information about your customers is stored in a single and accessible hub, wouldn’t it? Customer data are valuable tools when it comes to mapping the customer journey. The only problem is, customer information is usually stored in different silos, making customer experience management a bit difficult.

Customer service software such as Freshdesk can help boost customer experience through automation.

But despite the customer data clutter, many companies still manage to track the customer journey. Being able to do so gives them the opportunity to improve customer experience on a scale that’s previously unheard of.

In this day and age, attracting customers is one thing, but retaining them is another. It is only through a personalized customer experience that you’ll be able to build brand loyalty. In fact, 47% of customers have decided to switch brands because of poor customer service (Microsoft). What is more, customer experience was predicted to surpass price and product as key brand differentiators in 2020 (Walker, 2020).

Customer-experience

Key takeaways

  • Tracking the customer journey is easier when all customer data are in one place.
  • Businesses can use customer information to track the customer journey.
  • Customer journey tracking leads to a personalized customer experience.

What Can You Do With These Customer Support Trends?

Customer support has been greatly impacted by COVID-19 as we can see from the trends discussed above. Bear in mind though that these are the general scenarios happening in the field and that you should still make decisions for your customer support team based on what your customers need.

If you feel that many of your customers simply come and go, focus on boosting customer experience. Are you having problems with agent productivity? Maybe it’s time you let them work from home. And if some customer service requests are being left unaddressed, go for multichannel support. In this way, you have them all covered regardless of what communication channel they use to get in touch with you.

Today’s customers should be nurtured and nurtured well. Don’t get left behind in the customer support game. Consider these trends and learn from them. In this way, you can establish long-term relationships with your clients, who may also help expand your business by recommending your brand to others. Also, check out the latest customer support statistics to get a clearer picture of what’s happening on the ground.

 

References:

  1. Gilliland, N. (2020, September 18). How has COVID-19 accelerated trends in customer service? Econsultancy.
  2. Inference Solutions. (2020). COVID-19 intelligent automation report. Inference Solutions.
  3. InContact. (2013, September 9). US consumers want today’s companies to be proactive in customer service. PR Newswire.
  4. Netomi. (2020, March 19). The state of customer service – 2020 research report. Netomi.
  5. McGinnis, D. (2021, February 18). Customer service statistics and trends. Salesforce.
  6. Kulbyte, T. (2021, March 24). 37 powerful customer experience statistics to know in 2020. SuperOffice.
  7. ValueWalk. (2020, October 14). What are the five major platforms for social media customer care? ValueWalk.
  8. Doyle, K. (2019, December 2). Got bad customer service? How to complain well and get results. Consumer Reports.
  9. Abercrombie, R. (2020, December 17). Customer service trends in 2021: The post-COVID contact centre. CustomerThink.
  10. Research and Markets. (2021, January). Chatbot market – Growth, trends, COVID-19 impact, and forecasts (2021 – 2026). Research and Markets.
  11. Microsoft. (2021, January). 2017 state of global customer service report. Microsoft.
  12. Walker. (2020). Customers 2020: A progress report. Walker.
Astrid Eira

By Astrid Eira

Astrid Eira is a resident B2B expert of FinancesOnline, focusing on the SaaS niche. She specializes in accounting and human resource management software, writing honest and straightforward reviews of some of the most popular systems around. Being a small business owner herself, Astrid uses her expertise to help educate business owners and entrepreneurs on how new technology can help them run their operations. She's an avid fan of the outdoors, where you'll find her when she's not crunching numbers or testing out new software.

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