As customer expectations and customer service trends continue to evolve, customer service teams need to keep up with changes and adapt accordingly. If your company isn’t meeting expectations, you can guarantee that one of your competitors will.
To help you deliver a great customer service experience that will empower better customer relationships and keep your customers coming back for more, we’ll take a look at the top eight customer service trends for 2022.
Note: We’ve drawn these findings and data points from our list of must-know customer service statistics. You can continue reading there for more industry insights.
Here are the customer service trends that should be on your radar for next year.
8 Customer service trends for 2023
- Social media as a primary customer service channel
- Abundant self-service options for customers
- Increased communication and workflow automation
- Shorter response times and 24/7 support access
- Centralized hubs to manage customer service questions and tickets
- Utilization of customer service software integrations
- Better, data-driven customers service strategies
- Growth of personalization in support interactions
1. Social media as a primary customer service channel
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have become vital elements of the customer journey. A 2019 survey revealed that 85% of contact center leaders say that social media is the simplest way to support customers.
Customers are increasingly discovering brands, browsing products, and making buying decisions on social media. As a result, they expect to be able to ask questions and get help on these same channels.
However, in 2021 only 14% of consumers strongly agreed that companies are effectively combining newer channels (social, digital, and mobile) and traditional ones (email, phone, paper mail, etc) to provide a positive customer experience.
Companies may be struggling to bring the same standard of service to yet another channel. But as we’ve mentioned, social media represents one of the most effective channels to provide your customers with timely and easily accessible support. In 2022, it’s worth prioritizing social media as part of your omnichannel service strategy.
2. Abundant self-service options for customers
An excellent customer service interaction may not be a direct representative-to-customer interaction at all. Customer self-service is one of the most important trends to watch heading into 2022.
Harvard Business Review found that a whopping 88% of U.S. customers expect organizations to offer a self-service support portal. That might include elements such as an FAQ page, chatbots, or a comprehensive knowledge base. In addition to meeting these customer expectations, providing robust self-service tools reduces the burden on your customer support team. (Check out our list of FAQ examples for inspiration.)
With the right resources, customers are empowered to successfully solve their inquiries, often in less time than a service rep can. This frees up your customer service team to focus on more complex, hands-on tickets.
Recommended reading: 22 Live Chat Statistics You Need to Know in 2022
3. Increased communication and workflow automation
According to Salesforce, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. And two-thirds of customers say they’re willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
One way to deliver on this expectation is to use customer service automation. Automated customer service tools, powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, are excellent for improving the speed and effectiveness of your customer service team.
Autoresponder emails, for example, allow you to offer a better first response time to customer queries and assure them you’re working on their issue. Chatbots are another example of automation that leverages artificial intelligence to walk customers through solving common issues without the help of live customer service reps. Chatbots can provide blog links, drop-in prewritten answers to FAQs, or connect customers with a rep if necessary.
In addition to assisting customers in a hands-free manner, automation tools can be used to:
- Help your customer service team collect and analyze customer data
- Segment and prioritize tickets based on your criteria
- Effortlessly assign representatives to tickets
Together, this can streamline and improve your entire customer service workflow.
Recommended reading: 60+ Customer Service Statistics You Need to Know
4. Shorter response times and 24/7 support access
Customers are looking for lightning-fast response times now more than ever. Although survey results have varied, they all point to a need to respond quickly and effectively. Here are a few statistics that demonstrate this:
- 90% of U.S. customers rate an immediate customer service response as "important" or "very important.” 60% of people who needed support defined "immediate" as 10 minutes or less.
- 71% of customers expect companies to communicate with them in real-time.
- 31.2% of customers want a response to their email in one hour or less.
Customer service software has made it possible for more and more companies to offer 24/7, real-time support across a variety of channels. And as these real-time interactions become common, more customers have developed an expectation for them.
Once again, automation can go a long way toward helping your company reduce its response times and provide all-hours support without the need to hire more service reps. They can also reduce the number of angry customer emails you receive. From live chat tools to automated emails to chatbots, there are plenty of tools available today that can help your company meet these rising expectations.
Recommended reading: 15 Ecommerce Customer Service Best Practices to Help You Level Up
5. Centralized hubs to manage customer service questions and tickets
The ability to see and manage customer service tasks in a single place is one of the biggest benefits of using CS software. It’s even more important as customers start to demand smooth multichannel support. In 2022, companies should consider a centralized hub as a necessity for their customer service teams.
Without a centralized customer service hub, organizing and responding to customer service tickets can quickly become a messy and overwhelming process. It creates room for human error at a time when your team needs to offer faster, more consistent service. For mid-sized and larger companies, there’s also a risk of creating siloed, ineffective departments.
If you’re looking for more ways to make the job of your customer service team easier and improve their productivity, then integrating software is also a must.
6. More utilization of customer service software integrations
As you can see from trend #3, customer service is becoming an increasingly technology-driven process, with companies utilizing software for a wide range of tasks.
There’s a growing number of customer service software solutions on the market, all suited to different industries and business sizes.
Good service tools allow teams to streamline their workflow, tap into data insights, and manage and respond to tickets across channels. But the best helpdesks integrate with other crucial ecommerce software, such as CRM, online payment, email marketing, and text messaging platforms. Gorgias customers, for instance, are taking advantage of top ecommerce integrations like the following:
- Gorgias Chat
By making use of customer support software solutions, you enable your service team to deliver more convenient, timely, and effective help to your customer base.
7. Better, data-driven customer service strategies
We’re also seeing an increased emphasis on collecting and utilizing data to inform the decisions made by customer service teams. Many companies haven’t put the same focus on data for CS teams as they have for their sales and marketing teams.
This is changing in 2022. With more powerful service software and ecommerce data available, companies will be optimizing KPIs like first response time, average response time, and Net Promoter Scores. These customer service metrics are a direct reflection of a support team's efficiency and can be easily compared to industry benchmarks to set healthy, achievable goals.
In addition, customer data can be used to identify the most common queries and tag support tickets, and develop macros to respond to them. This further improves the efficiency of your support reps.
8. Growth of personalization in support interactions
While automated customer service tools and self-service options have replaced some live interactions, customers still expect their communication with brands to feel human and personal.
According to a Forrester survey, companies that emphasized personalized customer interactions reported a 33% increase in both customer loyalty and customer engagement. This might be using customers’ names in messages or suggesting products based on purchase history.
As you can see, a personalized, customer-centric approach to customer service is a vital goal for any company. This is true whether you rely on chatbot automation, email templates, phone scripts, or a combination of tools.
Companies will also take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning databases to facilitate a more personalized experience in 2022.
Recommended reading: Ecommerce Customer Service Best Practices
Keep your ecommerce customer service ahead of the trends with Gorgias
At Gorgias, we’ve seen firsthand just how impactful exceptional customer support can be for ecommerce companies. If you’re ready to improve your response times, provide customers with high-quality omnichannel support, and boost the productivity of your support team, Gorgias can help.
Through our customer service helpdesk solutions for Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce, your ecommerce store can leverage the latest advances in customer service automation, personalization, and data analysis for outstanding results.
To see our industry-leading ecommerce customer support solutions in action, book a demo today.