The past several years have seen massive shifts in customer expectations, and the customer experience is more critical than ever. Recent reports underscore this fact, as three-quarters of customers list stellar service as a key factor in securing their loyalty. However, providing superior service in 2021 differs vastly from previous years.
Customer service expectations are always evolving, and companies need to know what their customers care about most. Here are the customer service trends defining 2021:
- Customer service is synonymous with the brand. In the wake of the pandemic, customers interact less with businesses in person. Most of their communication occurs online or over the phone, and call center agents are experiencing a massive uptick in support tickets. Online shopping is also driving this trend. Without face-to-face interactions, customers engage with a brand almost exclusively through its customer service representatives.
- Customers are reexamining companies’ values. The pandemic forced people indoors and gave them ample time to reflect on what matters most to them. Customers are extending this thought process to businesses and are taking a hard look at company values. Customers want to buy from companies that prioritize social responsibility, diversity, and empathy. It’s no longer enough to provide the fastest service or the greatest convenience. Companies need to prioritize these values to earn a customer’s business and loyalty.
- Transparency and data security. Half of a brand’s customers will leave after a bad experience, but it’s not always an unhelpful agent or issues with an order that drives them away. How a company collects customer data and what they do with it matters more to customers across the board. One survey found that 71% of customers would drop a brand if it disclosed their data to other entities with express permission. Companies must perform the sensitive balancing act of personalizing the customer experience without encroaching on their privacy. Transparency about data collection, use, and distribution is critical to earning a customer’s trust.
- A demand for messaging. Many customers contacted a business via message for the first time as the pandemic forced them indoors. Most of those individuals plan to continue messaging businesses. However, messaging is a broad term that encompasses many platforms, and customers want to engage on their preferred communication channel. Tickets across all messaging channels leaped in 2020, including text, live chat, social media, online forms, and email.
Companies need to engage with customers where they are, and this means adopting omnichannel communications. Your business risks losing its customer base if you’re lacking messaging channels like chat and live text. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about our messaging solutions.