The Small Business Times

Customer Service Trends For Businesses In 2024 And Beyond

While often ignored, customer service is integral to business success.

However, modern-day customer service can’t be compared to how businesses approached it years ago.

Customers now place more importance on interactions with products and the businesses’ designated support team.

Unlike before, it is more important for businesses to improve customer service now than ever.

With 2024 approaching, below are customer service trends businesses should explore to stay ahead of the curve.

1. Increasing Adoption Of Artificial Intelligence

The adoption of artificial intelligence is, without doubt, the most impactful trend in customer service.

Artificial intelligence has made customer service easier than before for businesses and consumers alike.

As technology evolves, artificial intelligence will improve customer service in the following ways:

Improve Agent Productivity And Efficiency

Artificial intelligence is the technology behind various tools that automate and simplify workflows.

AI technologies such as chatbots effortlessly handle simple customer requests, while automation eliminates repetitive tasks.

This significantly reduces workload and frees customer service agents to handle other complex and high-value tasks.

AI technology can also analyze customer interaction and customer intents.

This makes it easier for bots to group positive, neutral, and negative language and ticket them to customer service agents if human intervention is necessary.

Provide 24/7 Service To Customers

The adoption of AI-powered chatbots enables businesses to provide 24/7 services to their clients.

This allows customers to connect and make inquiries from your business day and night, even with your customer service agents offline.

Chatbots, which work around the clock, can answer customer queries and direct prospects to self-service resources.

24/7 support is especially vital for businesses expanding to global markets.

Gather Customer Insights

Customer service teams can also gather beneficial consumer insights using AI-powered tools.

Support agents use these tools to learn customer intent, sentiment, and language in advance, allowing them to find the best approach to customer interactions.

Offer Multilingual Support

Most businesses, especially those expanding beyond borders, often struggle to handle a new audience that speaks a different language.

However, natural language understanding technology used by conversational AI tools automatically detects and translates the conversation to the customer’s native language.

2. Personalized Customer Experience

Exceptional customer service isn’t a luxury anymore.

As such, businesses should ensure they provide unique and memorable customer experiences to attract loyal customers and increase chances of long-term success.

Personalizing customer experience is crucial to delivering such customer service and gives your business a competitive edge in the currently crowded marketplace.

A recent study found that 77% of customers chose, recommended, or paid more for brands that provide personalized customer service.

Related:  How To Manage Your Brand’s Online Reputation + Top Online Reputation Management Tools

This is especially specific to millennials, as they are passionate about businesses that deliver stellar customer service.

This demographic is also willing to spend 21% more on brands that personalize their customer service than on other businesses. Businesses can deliver personalized customer service in the following simple ways:

Address Customers By Their Name

Scientific studies concluded that the human brain reacts differently when a person is called by their name.

This probably explains why customers feel more valued and prefer interacting with brands that refer to them by their names.

Businesses can achieve this by ensuring their customer service software has recognition capabilities that allow agents to know who they are speaking to.

Recognizing And Rewarding Loyalty

Rewarding your loyal customers is another simple way of personalizing customer experience.

Simple actions, such as sending a handwritten thank you note or offering discounts, make the customer feel appreciated.

Similarly, if you know your customer’s birthday or anniversary, giving them a discount on such special occasions is a thoughtful way of acknowledging them on a personal level.

Empower Agents To Give Recommendations

Allowing agents to suggest recommendations to customers also personalizes their experience.

This gives them the freedom to navigate client interactions without fully sticking to the official script.

This freedom allows for a natural, human interaction between agents and customers. Customer service agents can also use this opportunity to upsell.

3. The Rise In Messaging Apps

Another notable trend in customer service is the increasing adoption of messaging apps.

Businesses and customers generally prefer these apps because they are familiar with, convenient, and easy to use.

They also enable customer service agents to communicate with customers in real time, without waiting on hold or having to switch communication channels.

That aside, messaging apps can easily integrate into other platforms like chatbots, analytics, and CRM, allowing businesses to optimize customer service processes.

Messaging apps also enable businesses to send infographics and media, such as documents, images, and videos.

Your business’s customer service can benefit from messaging apps only if you choose the right messaging app.

Businesses should consider several factors when selecting messaging apps for their customer service activities.

One crucial factor is the popularity and reach of the app, especially among the target audience.

Cost, complexity of integrating, functionality, and industry regulations are other important factors.

You should weigh between various messaging apps, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Telegram, for business communications.

Evaluate the benefits, key features, and limitations of each app. You should also pick a messaging app that aligns with your business goals and customer preferences. 

Related:  When Does Costco Restock?

4. Proactive Customer Support

As the name suggests, proactive customer support primarily anticipates and offers solutions to customer issues beforehand.

This significantly differs from the traditional reactive approach, where businesses had to wait for customers to make an inquiry or report a complaint to address it.

You can leverage proactive customer support in your business in the following ways:

  • Introduce customers to new products or improved versions of products and services they’ve purchased initially.
  • Inform clients of possible delays in deliveries and allow them to reschedule.
  • Provide educational resources like tutorials, user guides, and FAQs to customers to help them better understand your products and services.
  • Reach out to previous customers who haven’t engaged with your business in a while.

These simple and rather obvious tactics are effective in boosting customer experience.

An estimated 87% of participants in a study said they were happy when businesses proactively contacted them.

5. Preference For Using Social Media Platforms For Customer Support

The adoption of social media is a business trend in all aspects.

Prospects and customers spend more time on social media platforms, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This makes these platforms a convenient place for customer service teams to provide support and resolve inquiries.

Interestingly, 20% of customers who answered a study expect immediate responses from businesses on social media.

Unlike other customer support channels, social media has the power to make customer service interactions public.

This visibility often forces businesses to respond promptly and effectively to customer concerns, as it can affect their brand image.

On the other hand, resolving customer concerns successfully demonstrates to prospects and customers that the company values customer issues and handles concerns well.

These platforms are also social, making it easier for customers to share their shopping experience publicly. Satisfied customers easily become advocates of your business.

6. Video Support Is Picking

There is also an increasing adoption of video technology by customer support teams.

Video technology has changed how customers reach out to businesses.

Modern customers don’t limit themselves to emails, chats, and phone calls.

Instead, they are looking forward to a wholesome customer service experience.

This is beneficial to businesses as videos are more impactful than text or images.

Endnote

Customer service is an ever-evolving landscape that businesses should pursue continuously.

Understanding customer journeys and keeping tabs on the latest customer service trends is crucial for business success.

Excellent customer service helps businesses understand the changing customer demands and address their needs promptly to stay ahead.