5 Key Customer Support Trends for 2020 and Beyond
It seems like the whole world has been temporarily “put on hold” since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Even so, business owners and executives are keeping an eye on the future of customer support solutions.
Mankind’s collective experience during the COVID-19 pandemic will no doubt play a large role in what consumers expect from support departments, and how companies meet or exceed those expectations.
What are some important changes in the customer support industry that you should pay attention to? We will discuss 5 key customer support trends that are sure to increase in popularity for the rest of 2020 — and for years to come.
#1. Less Phone Time, More Live Chat
In response to COVID-19’s effect on the market, many companies are already transitioning away from customer support over the telephone. For example, Netflix has decided to exclusively provide live chat and online support for its customers instead of more traditional call center services. Other corporations are following suit by moving support volume away from voice to chat.
There are good reasons for these changes. Many companies don’t have the infrastructure to support a fully remote call center workforce. In addition, live chat agents are in a much better position to field a higher volume of incoming customer inquiries than voice agents are. However, perhaps the most compelling long-term reason for organizations to consider the switch is the fact that customers like live chat. In fact, one study found that 79% of consumers prefer live chat over other forms of communication because of the almost instantaneous response time it offers.
In other words, even if you’re primarily switching over to live chat as a reaction to COVID-19, you should consider moving forward with this strategy after the crisis has passed.
#2. More Face-to-Face Interactions
It’s no secret that the vast majority of customers seeking help from a company appreciate it when there’s a “personal touch” to the interaction. One of the best ways to provide that human element is to assist the customer in a face-to-face setting.
While the realities of modern customer support (as well as social distancing guidelines) obviously rule out in-person interactions, there are now several tools available to facilitate face-to-face customer support over the Internet. Zoom and Skype are just two examples of video conferencing platforms that have exploded in popularity because of the pandemic. In fact, Zoom’s daily active user count in March skyrocketed by 378% compared to where it was at the same time last year.
The fact is, more and more consumers are becoming familiar with video conferencing technology — and sooner or later they’ll expect companies to offer face-to-face chat as a support option. Why not stay ahead of the curve, and begin incorporating this feature into your business model now?
#3. More Advanced Self-Service Options
Independently-minded consumers, and consumers that for one reason or another don’t want to interact with a support agent, love self-service options. Already an estimated 85% of customer interactions can be managed without human assistance. For example, think of automated bill pay services that enable customers to make payments quickly and conveniently without having to talk to a company representative.
Moreover, from a purely financial perspective self-service is also an extremely cost-effective support solution. In most cases, the customer won’t have to reach out to a live agent at all, which frees the agent up to handle another, less routine issue.
What can you do to build self-service components into your customer support strategy? One key factor to investigate is the creation of a “self-help database” — in other words, a library of articles and/or videos designed to clearly explain and resolve common customer issues. After the upfront investment of building the library, and apart from some occasional tweaks and updates, you won’t have to worry about diverting crucial resources to this self-service channel. Your incoming call and chat volume will decrease, and your support agents will be able to focus on solving your customers’ most complex and critical problems.
#4. Increased Emphasis on Social Media
Social media platforms are where dissatisfied customers vent about a company to friends, family members, and casual acquaintances… and anyone else reading their post. With 83% of consumers partially or completely trusting the recommendations of friends and family, it’s vital that you stamp out as many fires on social media as you can – and what better way to do so than to establish a robust customer support infrastructure on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn?
Expect to see more and more companies make social media interactions a key part of their customer support strategy moving forward. When agents are vigilant about responding to complaints and issues, and “put their best foot forward” in offering assistance and advice, then your brand’s reputation is sure to benefit.
#5. More Assistance from Bots
The average customer support agent may spend up to 90% of his time repeating answers to the same old questions, and resolving the same old issues for customers. That’s no fun for the agent, and it’s no fun for the customers waiting in queue to speak to someone.
This is where a chatbot can be a huge difference-maker. Most bots can be programmed to handle basic customer support inquiries, and even routine transactions. As these bots take away some of the burden of high inquiry volume from live agents, those agents have more time to interact with consumers that actually need escalation to the next level. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!
Partnering with the Customer Support Experts
You can expect to see the 5 customer support trends discussed above grow in popularity over the next several years. Of course, each support solution requires that a number of key components work together in order to achieve success. If you need assistance to develop and implement a best-in-class customer support program, reach out to our friendly team of experts at GlowTouch today to schedule a free consultation. We’d be happy to help you leverage key customer support trends to grow your business.