It’s that time of the year again! Nope, not that one, but the time when you write down round-ups of the past 12 months and try and foresee what’s going to happen in the next 12 ones.
We believe Customer Service will be one of the hotter topics this year, and we got ready to face the challenges 2019 is going to bring to us and to our clients.
There are many trends arising in that area, yet some of them seem to be unavoidable. Following are the 5 main Customer Service trends we believe will be really dominating 2019.
1. Chatbots and Virtual Assistants
In 2018 it was all about chatbots. In 2019 it is going to be… all about chatbots! While most experts are predicting the ultimate establishment of voice assistants in 2019, chatbots are still evolving and may see their actual rise this year. On top of the obvious few huge players, many smaller brands are yet to introduce bots and machine learning in their processes and to start using AI to find more practical solutions for data management, insights management and process streamlining.
2. The value of privacy will lead to a new Golden Age of Mobile apps
In the post-GDPR world and after Cambridge Analytica, privacy has become more valuable than ever. In 2018 “social media detox” has started to become more and more common among millennials and Gen Z, while app downloads topped 194 billion. Is there a link between those facts? We believe so. People are getting tired of social media – to some extent – and many are moving toward premises where they have more control over their personal data. That’s not the only reason for the app download increase nor for the tiredness over social, of course, but privacy plays a huge role in this trends anyways. Users need to be reassured their data are not shared with third parties. A company app allows users to easily check, modify and update their preferences, also making sure data won’t be shared with others unless users themselves agree to do so.
3. Custom-built, seamless customer experience
If it’s true that Customer Service is the new marketing, then it’s true it is going to become more and more digitalized and omni-channel, offering a personalised support across all key touchpoints.
Be aware that cross-channel doesn’t mean seamless by itself, though. How thrilled would you be to start a conversation via a live chat, start it over to explain your issue via telephone and maybe get a final reply via email? Meh. That’s exactly what currently happens with quite a lot of brands.
So, next goals are looking for technologies that allow a real continuity in the customer experience and using channels where you can actually shape a tailor-made, seamless experience – all of that, while gathering data about the clients.
4. From emails to other messaging systems
Customer Service has heavily relied on email during the past few years – as it represents about 20% of overall contact volumes. Email can still be a valid channel, but not necessarily the best one. Not all customer needs are “created equal” and nowadays people are getting used to other asynchronous yet quicker ways to interact. The rise of instant messaging proves that right. On the one hand, asynchronism make processes more effective for operators as they can better manage cues and tickets; on the other hand, it facilitates communication between brands and users by granting a less expensive and less time-consuming interaction. We discussed Instant Messaging and the benefit of asynchronous communication long-time ago here in the blog.
5. Video and Content Sharing
Potential for video and content sharing grows year after year. 2019 will be no exception. Not only marketing can use it to build an emotional bond with clients. Customer service scenarios can largely benefit from this trend, too. Sharing videos, co-browsing, images and files sharing (both through asynchronous and synchronous channels) are important resources to help resolving support issues more easily. In addition to that, they can accelerate business processes, reduce recall rate and minimize handling time.
Scared enough about the idea of handling these many things? Don’t be. Futuristic as it may seem, we think addressing these 5 trends can be easier than expected if you choose the right tools. Own Instant Messaging apps can, for example, face most of those needs. Think about it: having a conversational self-care app or simply introducing Instant Messaging as a channel in your existing app would allows you to have chatbots, share video and files, gather data about a client, reduce recall rates and manage cues efficiently. And, of course, let users control their privacy settings.
What do you think of the trends we focused on? Do you agree or do you want to suggest different trends? Let us know in the comments.