As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect upon this year’s Customer Care industry highlights, and to think about what’s expected to happen next year. To help you plan for 2019, we report on six major trends that are set to shake up the industry.
1. New messaging channels
In 2019 we expect the use of messaging to increase even further. The growing number of customers using messenger platforms (1.5 billion on WhatsApp and 1.3 billion on Messenger) and the rollout of business apps, will encourage companies to adopt this means of communication.
One of the key announcements made this year was the launch of Apple Business Chat. With its focus on privacy and integration into Apple’s ecosystem, this new feature empowers companies to connect with customers on a much more personal level.
Another expected 2018 launch was WhatsApp for Businesses. This year WhatsApp rolled out its dedicated version for SMBs, allowing companies to manage customer interactions on a smaller scale. The next step will be the launch of its Enterprise API, allowing large companies to manage much larger volumes of interactions.
2. Growth of Voice Messaging
In the world of messaging, some Asian territories are a few years ahead of the world: significant trend identified is the use of voice within messaging apps.
Over 200 million voice messages are sent every day on WhatsApp and we can expect this number to increase even further.
As this usage is growing in personal communications, companies should anticipate the impact of their interactions with customers.
3. Cloud strategy
To adapt to the growth of messaging as well as other digital channels, SaaS solutions in the Cloud have become essential for managing customer services.
77% of enterprises have at least one application, or a significant portion of their enterprise computing infrastructure based in the cloud. Among the benefits perceived, a greater flexibility to react to changing market conditions, and more speed for IT service delivery.
Companies are becoming aware that SaaS is an essential part of their digital transformation. The issues isn’t whether to adopt SaaS, but when to do so.
4. Digital Transformation
We’ve all been hearing about digital transformation for a fair few years now, but this strategic challenge is still an ongoing directive for many organisations. 89% of enterprises have plans to adopt, or have already adopted a digital-first business strategy.
To be successful, digital transformation has to be present in every department of the company. The Customer Care department is the frontline of companies and arguably the most visible part of digital transformation.
Digital channels have demonstrated incredible growth in the Customer Service industry. From a customer perspective, this evolution has many benefits: customers aren’t as dependent on office opening hours, and get quicker answers. For companies, this transition also has a number of benefits including easier management of activity and peaks and the ability to build more personal relationships.
5. Chatbots: the year of maturity
We predict that 2019 will be the year of maturity for chatbots. Experts and vendors from across the chatbots industry agree on the technology’s limitations, and that it cannot fully replace a human being.
Experience shows that the keys to success are to dedicate chatbots to simple and specific requests. A seamless handover to human agents is essential to ensure that customers can always have an answer to their specific questions. With this approach, customer service representatives can reduce their workload and dedicate more time to added value tasks.
6. The integration of UCaaS and CCaaS systems
UCaaS (Unified Communication as a Service) is a cloud-based business communications system, deployed across multiple channels and devices. It combines telephone services, video conferencing, team messaging, SMS and other communication tools, on a single integrated cloud platform.
CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) is also a cloud-based solution, enabling companies to centralise the management of all their customer service channels: phone calls, advanced interactive voice response (IVR), email, messaging, chat and social media.
UCaaS is used for internal communications, and CCaaS is dedicated to customer interactions. Historically, both standalone legacy systems used to be premises-based, with each operating in distinct silos, making it impossible to integrate them.
Now that these two systems have moved to the cloud, their integration now becomes possible, thereby helping to significantly enhance customer communications.
Alexa & Google Home
These voice technologies have been a major trend over the last few years. It’s reported that by 2021 1.8 billion people will be using digital assistants such as Alexa and Google Home.
In the coming months, we’ll hear a lot about these new technologies. By being present in smartphones and smart home devices, their use will grow significantly in consumers’ lives, but it is still early to see any application for customer care.
By exploring and integrating these trends, such as a 360 digital channel strategy, organisations can expect to enjoy increased customer satisfaction and retention figures.