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Want to grow your business in 2019?

One of the areas to pay attention to is customer service. Providing quality service to customers is vital for generating return business and getting referrals. Customer experience is one of the most important indicators of your brand’s success. If you work carefully to provide a superior experience, not only will your existing customers become loyal to your brand, but you will organically gain new leads through word of mouth and positive reviews.

But trends in customer service keep evolving, and it is important that you keep up with these trends for continued business growth. Based on current developments and the anticipation of their near-future effects, we have compiled the most probable short-term trends in the client service world.

Check out these top 10 customer service trends for 2019.

1. Social Media Customer Service Will Increase

Social media isn’t just a platform to connect with friends and family. It is a place where people go to seek out help when they have questions, issues or concerns about brands. One of the biggest advantages of offering customer service via social media platforms is that you can respond to your audience’s questions and critiques in real-time. You can also provide tailored solutions based on their social media profile. Consumers today like when brands genuinely interact with them and are interested in their needs, desires, and suggestions. A brand that not only engages but also listens and takes action is likely to experience a growth in customer acquisition numbers and, consequently, sales.

With the number of people on social media worldwide expected to reach roughly 2.8 billion in 2019, having a strong presence on social media will be vital for business growth.

2. More Focus on Real-Time Customer Support

One of the significant downsides of traditional email support is that it takes time for the customer support team to respond to customers’ questions, issues, and concerns. With live chat support, people can reach out to brands and get the answers they seek immediately. But this doesn’t mean that email support should be ditched.

Email makes it easy to transmit many different kinds of attachments and more detailed information. Plus, it has been around long enough to gain the trust of users throughout the world. But, even if a lot of your customers prefer contacting your client service reps via email, it is crucial for them to know that you are reachable through other channels as well if the necessity arises. Making yourself available through various channels shows a genuine interest for your customers.

3. Increased Use of Remote Customer Service Reps

Many of today’s customers go online to find solutions to their problems. This has reduced the need for face-to-face interactions between customers and the support team. In addition to that, working from home is a continuously emerging trend on the human resources market, and customer service may be offered by specialists who are working from home, even freelancers.

In 2019 and beyond, expect to see a rise in the number of customer service reps working from home or anywhere aside from the company offices.

4. Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Increase

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) as a self-service tool will continue into 2019. Several companies are already using it to improve the efficiency of their customer service operations.

But the functionality of AI remains limited, and the technology hasn’t reached a level where it can be used as a replacement for human agents. Many customers still prefer talking to a real person. All easy customer queries and interactions will be handled via AI. But agents will still be required to deal with more complex issues that need a human diagnosis. For AI to work better, businesses have to focus on giving it a more human touch.

5. Use of Tutorial Videos Will Increase

As trends in customer service continue to change in 2019, businesses will need to provide ongoing training to their customer support staff. Video tutorials give your service the power to be impactful and to engage customers at a high level. It is also a great way of showing that you invest a lot of time and effort into solving your customers’ issues and meeting their needs.

With the increasing popularity of open and distance learning, more businesses will use tutorial videos to teach their remote customer service reps about emerging customer service trends. Video tutorials will also be used for routine customer service inquiries that customers have and will be offered to them directly.

6. Live Chat Customer Service Will Be Enriched Through Multimedia

Live chat is gaining popularity at a fast pace. And, it’s easy to understand why: it offers instant and easy access to human operated communication and a quick solution to pressing problems. At the moment, most live chat solutions involve writing to a client service representative, but customers are starting to demand more ways to communicate exactly what’s wrong.

Some customer service chat apps allow users to attach an image, an option that can drastically shorten the conversation. Introducing video or audio files as means of communication can speed up the process even more.

Another popular option in client service and help desk services is the possibility of sharing your screen and giving remote access to the CS specialist. Picture this: someone is having a difficult time installing a new game that they just bought. They’ve read the instructions carefully, but they keep getting an error. A customer service rep could access their screen and help the customer identify and fix the problem without them having to watch several video tutorials to figure out what’s wrong.

Whether it’s writing, audio or video is not that important to the customers. What matters is that they get enriched live chat. So, put that on the list of customer service trends.

7. Users Will Become Increasingly Capable of Dealing With Problems Themselves

Categorizing complaint tickets is an important part of client service logistics. Knowing the nature of the complaint from the very beginning helps prepare a quick and adequate response. Moreover, it makes the client service specialist confident in their ability to solve the problem effectively and it helps prioritize critical issues over less pressing ones.

More so, this approach allows customers to solve certain problems by themselves if the system identifies a common issue that is easy to tackle through a standard operation. If you think about the live chat tool, for example, you can easily use it to facilitate access to your guidance literature.

Introduce helpful tips and routine advice in your live chat and show your customers that you know what you are offering and you care about their time and experience.

8. Customer Service Practices Applied to Employees Will Indirectly Make Companies Better for Their Clients

An exciting direction in customer service is applying it internally to keep the employees satisfied and connected to the brand they work for. Surveying your employees to find out how they would improve their work is not new, but treating them like a type of customer is part of our modern focus on user experience.

What changed in the last years is that talent on the workforce became scarce, as unemployment rates are at a historical low. That is why it’s so important for companies to make efforts to keep their employees happy and prevent them from migrating to their competitors.

9. Instant Messaging Apps Will Be Increasingly Used as a Platform for CS

Back in the old days, client service was offered through telephone and email. Contacting a company’s CS was sometimes a lengthy process, especially if their dedicated department was busy, overworked and overwhelmed by requests. We all know how waiting for a resolution can aggravate an already upset customer, and a lot of the times it is entirely justified.

The need for immediate service is to be expected, so companies embraced other platforms naturally. Although seen as informal and personal, instant messaging apps are being used more and more often for client service purposes. That is a brilliant solution because that’s where the customers will be found the easiest.

10. CS for Mobile Apps Will Become a Standard Instead of an Exception

Don’t you love the fact that how today everything has a mobile app? Your electricity provider, your bank, restaurants, newspapers, public institutions, even your local supermarket. Since you are using your smartphone daily, it’s natural to prefer it for less pleasant actions like contacting the customer service of a company.

The great advantage of mobile apps is that they are collecting the individual user’s data and information about how they use your product or service, giving you the opportunity to deliver highly personalized and effective client service.

Grow Your Business With These Customer Service Trends for 2019

As you can see, the 2019 customer service trends we are following are all about offering an even more personalized experience for the customer, integrating the newest technologies and spreading the reach and speed of our customer services.

Following all these customer service trends for 2019 is a high starting point. But remember,  you also need to keep an eye out for other new things during the year!

For more information on customer service trends and tips, check out our blog.

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AnswerFirst Communications, Inc. has provided quality answering services since 1985. We currently provide answering services, virtual receptionist solutions and customer service solutions to thousand of clients around the globe.