All business owners know that customer service is vital to the organisation’s success. In 2021, consumer expectations are higher than ever, and companies that have invested in their customer service processes are the ones who have thrived. Those who are still relying on customer service techniques from years ago will need to act quickly to remain competitive, to keep up with customer expectations.
Staying up to date with the latest customer service trends can be the difference between a booming business and one that consumers will soon forget. Holistically, customer service is based on an innovative combination of systems, tools and processes which work to convert customer service into customer satisfaction.
With ever-changing technology at our fingertips and consumers being more demanding than ever, what do businesses need to know to stay ahead in 2021?
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Customer Experience (CX)
Recently we have seen a significant shift in customer priorities from competitive pricing to customer experience. Experts opinion on CX trends show that the relationship between businesses and customers has changed dramatically over the past year. Surveys have shown that more than half of consumers care more about customer experience in a post-COVID-19 world than they did before the pandemic.
This leaves very little room for error from brands, as even the smallest amount of friction on a customer journey could put them off and send them to a competitor. In 2021, every business will need to meet the demand for impeccable customer experience and ensure they are offering a seamless service for customers.
Omnichannel experiences aren’t just a nice feature anymore, but a necessity for brands. If your business doesn’t have a strong focus on omnichannel communication yet, then now is the time to prioritise it. When it comes to customer service, people expect to have a consistent and seamless experience across many communication channels. That means that the experience is the same whether they contact you on Facebook, live chat or through an app.
Today, it has gone further than consumers just desiring the ability to communicate with a brand in a way that works for them – customers expect and demand this level of communication from the brands they interact with.
Sales and service alignment
Customer service has previously been seen as a separate entity to sales within a business. Traditional customer service methods are only triggered if a customer makes a complaint, or something goes wrong. Businesses that still have this dated mindset could be missing out on opportunities for growth. Aligning customer service with sales can help to improve the overall customer experience, which in turn will result in better outcomes for the business. Major brands like Rolls Royce have been able to transform their business by aligning service and sales.
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Social media expansion
Social media needs to be at the forefront when it comes to a business’s omnichannel communication strategy. These channels are often the best way to connect with consumers and can give a brand a real personality and voice. A huge 63% of people expect to receive customer service support through social channels, and 35% say this is their preferred method of communication.
An increasing number of consumers are choosing to send a DM, tweet or comment instead of using traditional customer support channels or making phone calls. Using social media as a channel for customer service doesn’t just improve customer experience, but can enhance the likelihood of upselling and will encourage repeat purchases.
In 2021, the key trend is that customers care more than ever about the experience they have with your business. Excellent levels of customer service are no longer a benefit to a business, but a requirement. If your business isn’t up to scratch with communication channels, social media, sales alignment and overall customer experience, then it is likely to get left behind in this highly competitive year and beyond.