Customer service remains the number one differentiator for any brand. Consumers today care more about the experience businesses can offer than their products, services, features, or even prices.
The good news is that companies recognise the need for exceptional service, with 65% of brands saying they plan to increase their investment in customer experience solutions during 2023.
The bad news is that many companies still don’t know where to get started with their strategies to boost client satisfaction. As the landscape we know continues to change at a phenomenal rate and customer expectations evolve, it’s challenging to determine where organisations should be focusing the majority of their efforts. Fortunately, if we look at the current patterns in the customer service landscape and the statistics surrounding CX, we can see some emerging trends.
Here are 5 of the key customer service trends businesses will need to prepare for in 2023:
- Customer Service Channels Continue to Evolve
First, companies need to be prepared for the channels they use to interact with customers to change more aggressively in the years ahead. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a range of new platforms for customer communications emerging around the world.
Consumers have started connecting with brands on social media, interacting via video, and even using instant messaging tools like What’s App. Going forward, experts predict the lines between the digital and physical world will become increasingly blurred, thanks to the emergence of the “metaverse” and XR technology. “Phygital” experiences, which blur the line between physical and digital with AR-enhanced apps, and QR codes, are likely to increase in the years ahead.
We’ll also see a larger number of companies investing in extended reality to meet their customers in the digital world. Brands like Nike, Wendy’s and Gucci have already started expanding into these areas.
2. Hyper-Personalisation Becomes Crucial
Consumers are becoming increasingly less enamoured by their favourite brands. Customer satisfaction levels have dropped to their lowest point in 17 years, and clients are becoming increasingly frustrated by one-size-fits-all experiences. Analysts like Gartner believe the companies who will succeed in the years ahead are those who focus more aggressively on “hyper-personalisation”.
Companies will need to think more carefully about how they can transform customer service experiences to suit the individual needs of each user. This will mean not only giving customers more say over how they interact with a brand (in person or on digital channels) but also providing each customer with unique offers, guidance, and support during their purchasing journey.
Going into 2023, we can expect to see more companies exploring ways to help customers have more of a say in the services, support, and offers they get.
3. Companies will Leverage AI for Proactive Service
Demand for artificial intelligence in the customer service landscape has been increasing rapidly in the last few years. Brands have begun to learn that leveraging AI allows them to provide more personalised and unique experiences to their users across virtually every channel. Already, we’re seeing companies utilise intelligent tools to automate customer service requests, route conversations to the right agents, and analyse sentiment during conversations.
As customer expectations continue to evolve, one key area where business leaders are likely to increase their investment in AI is to develop proactive services. Artificial Intelligence can use historical information to pinpoint trends and patterns and provide business leaders with insights into how they can solve customer issues before they even begin.
Moving forward, we’re likely to see more companies looking for ways to get one step ahead of their customer needs with proactive support, assistance, and sales.
4. Automation Will Continue To Increase
As staffing concerns and shortages continue to wage war on company productivity levels, countless businesses have begun turning to automation to reduce the pressure on their teams. Intelligent chatbots and conversational AI tools have emerged as valuable resources for businesses looking to reduce the number of support and service requests actually requiring human interaction.
At the same time, businesses are also leveraging automated systems to help reduce the number of repetitive tasks their team needs to complete daily. The right systems can automatically store information, record conversations, and even follow up with customers without the need for human input. This gives team members more time to focus on the conversations that really matter.
In 2023, these intelligent automation tools will likely become indispensable tools for companies that need help making the most of their human resources. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to address the staffing shortage alone, which leads us to our final trend prediction.
5. Service Teams Will Invest Substantially in Outsourcing
While automation and AI will go some way towards empowering companies to accomplish more with fewer employees, they won’t eliminate the need for informed, educated, and empathetic human interactions entirely. As consumers continue to demand more hyper-personalised and engaging interactions across every channel, companies will still need to ensure they have access to the right human resources.
Since cost constraints and severe skill/people shortages will make it difficult for business leaders to hire full-time employees to fill the gaps, many will begin looking into outsourcing strategies to augment and supplement the workforce.
For those who are looking to engage with outsourcing for the first time, those returning to the solution, or those looking for a hybrid approach, DDC OS can support you from a range of global locations to suit your requirements.