Customer support is evolving at a rapid rate, and many brands are reimagining the impact that a retailer’s support team can have on their customer’s experience and their overall business. However, while there's plenty of change happening today, it’s critical for brands to always keep an eye on the trends impacting tomorrow.
Here's a look at some of the most impactful trends shaping customer support and what it means for retailers:
Messaging Overtakes Voice
We’ve seen more and more customers shifting their preference to messaging platforms (e.g., SMS, chat) when needing to contact support. Whether customers are shopping online or in-store, SMS and chat have become key support channels.
While there will always be a need for voice support, especially for critical issues, messaging will begin to overtake voice as the channel of choice for shoppers. Customers communicate with each other both both verbally and visually, and are beginning to expect the same experience they have when interacting with the brands they love.
Multichannel Embraces Multimedia
Customers today not only expect to be able to connect with support across multiple channels, such as voice, messaging, mobile, social, and in-app, they also expect to be able to maneuver between them without compromising their experience.
The next step of this multichannel experience is to infuse each channel with multimedia capabilities. Expect to see customers regularly sharing photos, videos and screenshots, and support teams securely accessing customer information, including product preferences, support history, device diagnostics and more. The addition of multimedia capabilities will not only provide a more personalized experience for customers, but will also arm support agents with the contextual information they need in order to resolve issues faster.
Support Data Impacts the Enterprise
With more and more retailers embracing customer-first mentalities, having a well-rounded, 360-degree view of who their customers are and what makes them tick becomes essential for all aspects of their business. With arguably no one in an organization interacting with customers more than support agents, customer support teams play an integral part in capturing and sharing the voice of the customer.
Expect to see support data such as customer sentiment, feedback, profile data and more safely shared amongst the greater organization in order to help other teams make more strategic business decisions in real time. This data can help designers and product teams shape their product lines and road maps, marketing teams can have better context on what messages are resonating, and sales teams can identify better ways to connect with customers and prospects.
AI and the Employee Experience
With tools such as chatbots and the ability to automatically surface FAQs and other self-service options, artificial intelligence (AI) has already had a substantial impact on the customer experience. While AI will continue shaping the support experience for customers, it will also begin playing a larger role when it comes to the employee experience and how support leaders manage their contact center and their teams.
AI can help customer support agents better understand the customer they're interacting with, the situation they're facing, and how to deliver the best possible experience in a personalized and timely manner. All of this can be done behind the scenes with AI to automatically and instantly surface relevant information and present it to the agent in real time. AI can also help support teams generate customized reports and analytics which not only make employees’ jobs easier, but can also have a direct impact on creating a better experience for customers.
Becoming a Market Leader Starts With Customer Support
Competition is fierce for retailers of all sizes and industries; customers have more options than ever before. At the same time, the value of customer experience has never been higher. Consumers are making their purchasing decisions based on their interactions with brands and the experience they have with them.
Staying ahead of key customer support trends not only allow retailers to become more efficient operationally, but also to provide a one-of-a-kind customer experience that will help them become the market leaders of tomorrow.
As founder and CEO of UJET, Anand Janefalkar is focused on leading the company into its next stage of growth by providing the tools and technology businesses need to create an immersive, engaging, and one-of-a-kind customer experience.
Anand Janefalkar is founder and CEO of UJET, Inc., a real-time customer communications provider that makes it simple for any company to provide intuitive, modern-day support.
As Founder and CEO of UJET, Inc., Anand Janefalkar has 15 years of experience in the technology industry and has served as a technical advisor for various startups in the Bay Area. Before founding UJET, he served as Senior Engineering Manager at Jawbone, and also previously contributed to multiple high-profile projects at Motorola.