Over the course of this blog series, we have discussed in depth how businesses can improve their customer service offering to meet the rising needs of consumers.
Now, we’re taking a look at our crystal ball and predicting what the future holds for customer experience.
1. Caring will be key
Businesses must demonstrate empathy and emotional intelligence. Over a quarter of consumers predict this will become a more important factor.
All team members should be able to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and relate to their problem. “Listening” seems like a simple skill but actually trying to understand the customer and responding to their needs will help to win over a customer. Businesses should ensure staff are trained with basic empathy skills, which should be implemented constantly.
2. Businesses will prioritise staff training
Over 20% of business professionals think positivity and enthusiasm of sales and customer service staff will become more important. It’s therefore imperative for businesses to train their staff to deal with customers in a friendly, professional and empathetic manner. Staff members must know how to deal with difficult or upset customers. They should have a thorough understanding of the business, too, to be able to help with a range of enquiries.
Businesses will also focus on making the workplace a happier place to be. From employee wellness programmes through to flexible working initiatives and bonuses, it’s important to nurture a healthy and happy workforce. This positive attitude will reflect on each member of staff’s work, meaning customers receive the very best standard of service. Various studies show a strong correlation between workplace satisfaction and customer satisfaction.
3. Automation will become more prominent
When it comes to digitalisation, many businesses are already far along this process. But AI is still growing and more businesses will continue to adapt automation.
Transactional enquiries such as ‘where is my order’ and ‘make a payment’ are likely to be answered by automated customer service – whether via live chat or over the phone. This will leave more staff available to answer complex queries quickly, a win-win all round.
Businesses should continue to provide a wide range of communication options for customers. Not everyone will want to have a telephone call on the train or embark on a live chat conversation if they’re multitasking online. Customers still want choice and flexibility, with seamless omnichannel communication being a main priority for many.
4. Instant gratification will continue to be important
Currently 29% of business professionals believe availability of information is critical to stand out service, and this is set to stay an important factor in the future too. We live in an age where everything is available at the click of a button. Consumers have an “I want it all, and I want it now” attitude, and it’s up to businesses to keep up with this expectation.
Studies show callers hang up after 30 seconds on average, a huge difference compared with 130 seconds two years ago! Customers don’t have the patience to wait for a business – they’ll simply go elsewhere. Businesses must respond by making sure that information and communication is available 24/7. A mixture between responsive, well-trained staff and automated service will be a winning combination.
5. Businesses will care more about customer retention
It can cost 10 times more to acquire a customer than to keep one, so it makes good sense to focus on keeping customers loyal. It’s all very well looking after new customers, but providing exceptional customer service to existing customers should also be a priority. Staff should focus on making sure their experience with the brand continues to be a positive one.
Businesses should listen to feedback from customers, take into account reviews and conduct regular surveys to make sure the business is keeping up with its current customer’s expectations. The service customers receive will need to evolve and improve to encourage them to stay loyal brand advocates.
Make sure your business is prepared for the future by reading up on all the latest customer service stats.