Customer experience trends of the decade 2000-2010 are slowly changing and customers have taken back their power. These customers are no longer only interested in lower prices or better products. They want to be understood and understood, with a particular desire to be supported by the brand if they have a problem. Customer service has become an increasingly essential factor for lead conversion and customer loyalty, and it will only continue down that path. Customers want to trust brands and know they will be supported should they ever have a problem. And how does this affect customer service and contact centers? How will these customer experience trends be a source of challenges for contact centers over the next two years?
Emotion at the heart of customer loyalty
The first step in ensuring maximum customer satisfaction is understanding how they feel. Empathy plays a very important role in establishing an emotional connection with the customers. For example, if a customer calls an agent to tell them about a frustrating problem, the agent’s ability to show compassion for the customer is critical to solving the problem and making the customer happy. Ultimately, this empathy will earn us the trust and loyalty of customers. According to data from a Dynata survey, 70% of consumers say they only shop from brands that understand them and their needs. Understanding the feelings, needs and preferences of each customer allows the agent to address each customer appropriately and use the right channel and engage in productive dialogue. When a customer realizes that a brand knows how, when and even how to communicate with them, the natural choice is to remain loyal to that brand.
The growing importance of customer service
Customer service plays an increasingly important role in a company’s organization. The Covid crisis made customer service a priority in the case of many companies due to the sharp increase in the demand for customer service. On the one hand, customers could not make their purchases in stores during various restrictions, and on the other, companies need to offer their products and services without interruption, so customer service is an essential part of helping companies overcome the crisis. became a factor. , keeping customers happy. It’s undeniable, the Covid crisis made it clear that customer service will always be a key element in earning customer loyalty. According to Microsoft data, 96% of customers say that customer service is important when considering brand loyalty. HubSpot further reports that 83% of companies that value customer happiness are also increasing revenue. Ultimately, customers choose the brands they value most, and companies are aware of this, as PR Newswire points out, 81% of companies view customer experience as a competitive differentiator.
Increasing number of communication channels
Today, customers have more choices than ever before in terms of communication channels as well. While phone and email remain important channels for customer service, other channels such as social media, instant messaging and SMS have grown in popularity and importance. However, this ubiquitous growth is happening across all channels, not just digital. For example, CDiscount has once again offered customer service via email to offer more channels for its customers to choose from. Instead of offering new channels that only some customers want, companies should diversify to reach more customers on the channel of their choice. But companies have to ensure that each channel has the required staff. If there aren’t enough agents working each channel, customers will quickly become frustrated. UC Today says 90% of customers want an all-encompassing experience with seamless service across communication channels.
Some channels, such as instant messaging and social media, change at a faster rate and require faster service. Let’s take the example of WhatsApp. In one year, their usage grew by 370% (Zendesk). Customer service agents should be ready to answer questions promptly. It is projected that by 2025, 70% of customers will prefer to engage through social media channels. Therefore, companies must be prepared to communicate with their customers through these channels, and they must also know how to adapt language and conversational style to fit the communication channel.
Technology as a source of help to people
There are many new technologies that are revolutionizing customer service. For example, artificial intelligence and virtual assistants help agents handle simple customer requests, leaving them more time to handle more complex tasks. Other times, these tools may handle the initiation of communication with the customer, before the agent takes over. Hence automation brings added value to agents, who can deliver enriched customer experience with the help of technology.
Chatbots, in particular, are redefining customer experience and helping agents provide better service. When chatbots handle simple requests that don’t require an agent’s intervention, the customer is satisfied with the quick response in self-service, while agents have the time to handle complex tasks and are more confident in their work. Let’s feel There is no doubt that the demand for chatbots is huge. According to Verint study data, 48% of customers are already comfortable interacting with chatbots, while 71% say they would be happy to use a chatbot if they wanted a better customer experience. Instant messaging is also something that customers increasingly expect, with 71% of survey respondents saying they expect brands to support them through messaging channels.
Artificial intelligence will continue to be a priority for businesses, with Gartner predicting that by 2023 automation with AI will reduce agent interactions by 1%, and by 2026, AI will drive 10% of contact center changes. Companies will continue to invest heavily in AI technologies with the twin goals of improving contact center efficiency and providing a better customer experience. However, adopting AI isn’t always easy. According to Gartner, some barriers to AI adoption, such as the complexity of personalization, will limit interactions, offloading less than 10% of their total interactions to agents by 2025. Therefore, while many companies recognize that AI technology is essential to customer experience, its implementation can be quite challenging.
Well being of agents
A major challenge facing contact centers is agent welfare. Their work can be very stressful at times, and many contact centers have high turnover rates because agents get tired and frustrated. With the advent of new technologies and new channels, customer service centers have undergone tremendous transformation, with agents assuming greater responsibility and increasing their value as brand ambassadors. For this reason, the role of the agent should be reconsidered and taken seriously, their well-being is vital to their performance and the overall customer experience that a brand provides. Agents benefit from being equipped with the right tools: According to a Harvard study, 72% of respondents said frontline customer service teams felt their productivity increased when they were empowered with data access technology that enabled them to Can help in analysis and decision making. The same study showed that 69% of these agents feel more engaged and satisfied when equipped with the right technology for their jobs. However, choosing a more comprehensive solution comes with a cost: The average CCaaS price for an agent will increase from $140 to $148 per user per month from 2021 to 2026, as companies increasingly purchase advanced service offerings. (Gartner)
Cloud adoption is growing in importance for reasons ranging from flexibility to cost-effectiveness and reliability. According to Gartner, by 2024, the number of contact center agents in the cloud will outnumber those on-premises. This is the trend we are seeing at Vocalcom; However, customers with many agent seats (between 50,000 and 100,000) prefer an on-premises solution at this time.
Cloud adoption also varies greatly by geography. According to Gartner, remote working and more mature offerings will accelerate CCaaS adoption in mature regions, with a CAGR of 17.9% through 2016. Additionally, hybrid functions will help and accelerate the adoption of remote cloud contact center solutions, helping drive global CCaaS end-to-end operations. User spending represents 17.9% of the CAGR as of 2016. In less mature regions, companies will upgrade 40-60% of contact centers with on-premises solutions by 2024, rather than looking to the cloud. Gartner further states that emerging market regions will retain on-premises infrastructure for several years longer than mature markets. Therefore, the adoption of cloud technology is always slower than we expect. As noted by Gartner, by 2026, CCaaS licenses will represent 49% of total installed, despite a 17.6% CAGR.
While customer experience trends change, others are only accelerating. What will remain constant for years to come is the importance of listening carefully to customer needs and wants and creating customer-centric experiences to build long-term customer loyalty.