Each and every year comes with its own share of characteristic trends in wide-ranging areas of business. Customer service is one of the most pivotal components of any business. As we continue to see an unravelling of various socio-technological trends we’re also seeing the same in customer service. Understanding the dynamics of customer service is central to having a competitive advantage. That’s why it’s extremely important to be abreast with the current trends so that you stay relevant as a business. It’s with this background that it’s important I delve into the subject of customer service trends to look out for this year. We’re almost coming to the close of the first 6 months so it’s important that you’re aware of these trends.

Business Proactivity

Traditionally, customer care has been mainly based on businesses waiting for customers to initiate contact pertaining to issues they might be having. However, that’s something quite risky now in that customers can silently migrate to other competing brands without having highlighted any issues prior. So you find that most businesses have now made it their round-the-clock responsibility to study customer behaviours and note potential issues beforehand. Businesses now employ various ways to keep their customers engaged and in touch. If, as a business, you’re to remain competitive you can’t afford to wait for customers to contact you. Rather you must now be proactive than ever before to cultivate the much-needed brand loyalty through repeat purchases. Businesses that mostly stand out now are known for top-notch customer service that’s proactive.

AI Is Now Enhancing Human Input In Customer Service Provision

Due to the ascendance of Artificial Intelligence (AI), we saw the coming of chatbots in handling customer requests or queries. The initial thrust was to sort of replace the need for human involvement by leveraging on technology. Now we are seeing a different approach altogether in that AI is now being used to enhance human effort in handling customer queries. So, for instance, chatbots (this is the most used AI tech in customer care) now enables customer personnel to be more effective in discharging their duties. There’s now increased incorporation of predictive chat and sentiment analytics technologies. So let’s suppose you contact Steward Bank on Facebook via inbox, you’ll notice by the end of the chat that some responses are created in real-time whilst some are automated based on e.g. predictive analysis. This is now a huge trend which helps in making customers feel prioritized.

A Migration From Strictly Scripted Responses

For quite a long time the handling of customer queries has been largely scripted i.e. responding to customers based on pre-written responses. Now there’s has been a significant migration from that in that customer care agents are now trained to assist customers in any way possible that leads to their overall satisfaction. So the basic thrust now is to ensure customers stay content as much as possible. So it means whether a customer calls in or walks in it’s now important to converse with them passionately even about their personal lives if they let you in. It helps create rapport with them as you talk to them relating to their experiences that might be remotely or not related to the subject matter at all. Customer interactions shouldn’t be tightly scripted anymore but they should be made to feel like friends or loved ones conversing. If you incorporate this approach into your customer care framework you’ll be amazed at the results.

The Continued Ascendance Of Video Content

It’s now plain to see that digital marketing is a huge part of business operations these days. Video content has to definitely be a part of the latest customer service trends. Customers are now more drawn to go through video content as opposed to text-based content. So you find that most businesses now communicate to their customers by use of video-based content. Such videos are mostly made in such a way that’s short and precise without any grey areas being left unattended. Videos can span from product/service releases, how-tos to testimonials and reviews.

Omni-Channel Support

This is one of the biggest trends that every business must now embrace and invest in. Suppose someone sends a message (a query) to your business through your Facebook page, then a few days later they call in through your customer care line citing the same query. There shouldn’t be an indication that those channels are detached. What I mean is this: if I messaged you prior through Facebook by the time I call a few days later you must be able to give allusion to my prior communication. That’s what omi-channel support is all about and it’s now integral to customer satisfaction. Sadly you find that some businesses that even use one channel still respond as if you’re contacting them for the first time.

So these are just 5 of some of the top customer service trends for the year 2019. It’s important as a business to see how you’re currently faring in these regards. The adage ‘the customer is king’, still rules today and thus concerted efforts in fulfilling customer needs is still imperative.