4 Top Upcoming Trends in Customer Service

Like many professionals the start of the New Year symbolises more to me than parties, resolutions and celebrations, it’s the time of year when the research begins and I dedicate time to discovering what the top upcoming trends in customer service are going to be for the year ahead. Being aware of Customer Service trends before they happen gives me the opportunity to understand the predicted path for customers moving forward and ensure my department is aligned to them.

As customer’s expectations are continuously growing, the huge advances in technology are enabling them to become more demanding – expecting quicker resolutions, more informed answers and a better unity across all the customer touch points. It’s no longer about meeting expectations – it’s about exceeding them.

After researching some of our key clients, I’ve identified the the top customer service trends of 2017 to help save managers and decision-makers hours of searching the web. Here are the top four upcoming trends to look out for in 2017.

Decentralisation of Social Teams

Leaders in Customer Service, especially those with time-sensitive operations like Train Providers or Airports, have already began growing their social teams dramatically – and throughout 2017 we are expecting to see this continue. With the demand for fast and informed social customer service continuously growing, more organisations will be needing to build out their teams by identifying advocates within other departments, who handle the more niche incoming queries. The consumer’s demand for a “Social Customer Service Team” will make this multi-department approach essential and over the next twelve months, regardless of sector and size.

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Empower Self-Service

With costs for traditional customer service methods continuously growing, more organisations are looking for ways to reduce their overheads, while also offering out-of-hours options. By encouraging customers to self-serve, organisations will be able to offer a solution to common queries, therefore reducing friction on their customer service. Whether your self-service strategy consists of a FAQs page, a chat bot or a monitored peer-to-peer forum hosted on your site, it’s important to have the right option for your audience. At SocialSignIn we use Zendesk to help resolve questions outside of our support hours by providing our clients with a library of resources to explain common questions.

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Be Proactive in your Engagement

Social listening has already been proven as a very effective way to collaborate with influencers, engage with important conversations and respond to indirect complaints and queries. In 2017 this will become common-place, with many companies using digital channels, such as social media, to manage their brand online and discover new customers. Unactioned negative comments, bad reviews and feedback can can damage your brand and even deter potential future customers. By being proactive with your customer service and actively seeking conversations you need to be part of, or even indirect complaints, you will be able to protect your brand, while building more meaningful relationships with your current customers.

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Better Integration throughout your Organisation

The term “omni-channel” has been floating around for a while now, but this year organisations will be looking to really define and implement their own omni-channel strategies. Within our client list I have already began to see social media being integrated into phones systems for incoming inquiries and this will become a common practice throughout 2017. In order to ensure that you have full visibility of customers journeys, you need to be aware of all previous “touches” with your brand, and what the resolution was. By doing this you are able to interact with them on a more personal and informed level, enabling you to build strong, longstanding relationship with the customer by knowing their previous interactions.

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Over recent years, social media has transformed from being a side channel in your customer service offering, to now a major cornerstone of it. With its importance continuously growing, it’s essential that this is the year that your organisation implements a structured social customer service strategy, one that inspires loyalty, exceeds expectations and breeds strong brand advocates. In order to do this it’s essential that you invest in the social media management tools that can deliver your vision. Social Customer Service has proven itself to be far from a passing fad; it’s here to stay so it’s time to embrace this channel and lead the way within your sector.

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About the Writer:james-hayward

James Hayward, Client Success Manager at SocialSignIn has a wealth of experience in managing customer service teams, improving companies’ relationships with their service users and using his creative, analytical skills to determine key areas for growth. He has helped to maintain an industry leading satisfaction rating of 99% for support queries. In his spare time James is currently studying Japanese and enjoys discovering more about their history and culture.

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn click here or follow him on Twitter @JamesHay_SSI