Want to deliver outstanding customer service in 2023? You may have to refresh your approach.
As recessionary clouds gather, customer mindsets are changing. Their budgets are tightening, they’re getting a bit more particular about where they spend their money – and their expectations are at all-time highs. Companies resting on their laurels are about to collide with a hard truth: You can’t head into a different market environment with the same ol’ customer service approach and expect it to work as effectively.
So, let’s dig into some of the most prominent customer service trends heading in 2023, and how you can harness them to keep your customer service in peak shape.
#1. A greater focus on customer retention as budgets tighten
You’ve likely heard the adage: “It’s cheaper to retain a customer than convert a new one.”
It’s repeated so often because it’s true – and as we move into 2023, it’s only going to become more so.
With budgets tightening, businesses are going to be under pressure to do more with less. Instead of focusing on competing for a dwindling number of spend-ready customers, they’ll need to find ways to increase their existing customer lifetime value (CLV) without breaking the bank.
And that’s where customer retention comes in.
This means a greater focus on customer retention strategies, such as loyalty programs and customer feedback. It also means increased expectations around how customer service contributes to business goals.
If this causes you to clench your toes – don’t! This is precisely where those customer relationships you’ve worked so hard to build will make a difference. If you can be so attentive, so proactive, so customer-first, you’ll go beyond just retaining customers – you’ll win them over to the point where they advocate for your brand.
#2. The rise of hyper-personalization
The race to personalization has been underway for a while now. But as we enter an era of heightened customer expectations, there’s now a need to get personalization right.
Customers have made it clear that they demand personalized experiences. According to a McKinsey study, 71% of customers expect personalization – and 76% of customers will get frustrated when their brand experience feels irrelevant to them.
So what does this mean for customer service teams?
Well, first of all, it means that customer service needs to have a personalization strategy in place – one that outlines how each service encounter will feel tailored to the specific customer. It’ll also ideally include a plan for measuring the effectiveness of your personalization strategy.
One great way to start is by mining customer interaction data to craft better experiences.
For example, your team might provide long-time customers with offers and recommendations that they’ve shown interest in in the past.
Or you might tailor the support experience for newbie customers by providing them with some basic get-started information they may have missed.
Finally, nothing is more personalized than a genuine human interaction. This is where hands-on visual engagement tools (like Glance!) can make a customer support moment feel like something more. It’s a million miles away from a canned support chatbot.
In the end: If you want to keep your customers, you need to give them experiences that are as unique as they are. And speaking of unique experiences …
3. Differentiation will be harder (and ever more important).
We’re in the age of Infinite Choice. Want a new set of headphones? You’ve got about 23,000 different options available to you at a click.
Today, standing out as a company is hard. The mind-blowing customer experiences of 5 years ago are now commonplace. So for customer service teams, this means that the basics of customer service are more important than ever. If you don’t have your core offering down, you’re not going to be able to differentiate yourself.
That said, the great news is that your customer service is uniquely positioned to connect with people in a way that actually creates differentiating moments. These aren’t best-practice-led, optimized or created to scale. They’re empathetic sighs. Genuine chuckles. Moments where it feels like the barriers between “customer” and “business” are gone and it’s just one human helping another.
And not to harp on it, but part of the reason we’re so into our Guided CX solutions is because they help to create memorable moments exactly like that. For customers, actually seeing the face of a service agent and having them guide you hands-on through whatever issue you may be having feels as differentiating as anything.
Of course, you can’t forget about the home team half of the equation …
4. A new emphasis on the employee experience
Customer service managers are being put in an increasingly tricky position.
More pressure is falling on the customer service team to upsell, generate value and keep retention sky-high. But if your employees are feeling pressured and unhappy, it’s going to show in the quality of your customer service.
So how can you create a great employee experience that excels in terms of business contributions, team morale and customer satisfaction?
For starters – your people entered the customer service business because they enjoy helping people. And it turns out that every effort you put towards equipping them to do just that helps your team succeed on all fronts.
That means empowering them: giving them more authority (and more information) to make decisions on-the-fly. Making sure that they have the right data at their fingertips. The right soft skills training. And ultimately, a way to connect to customers more wholly.
Asking your people to do more is one thing. But it’s easier to trust them to do more once you’ve given them the ability to do so.
The bottom line is that customer service is changing – and to deliver amazing experiences, customer service managers need to change with it.
We’d love to show you how Glance’s Guided CX solutions helps you equip your team to do great things. Book a quick demo here!