6 Customer Service Trends to Watch in 2013


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“I like stepping into the future. Therefore, I look for doorknobs.”

As we look ahead to what will affect and change our customer service priorities in the year ahead, it’s interesting to note the strange tug-of-war going on between digital mastery and the human element. As consumers increasingly spend more of their lives online, businesses and organizations are competing to become a part of it.

Like the customers they serve, brands will begin to be on Facebook and Twitter and available via smartphone at all hours rather than just business hours, and they’ll look to connect as a friend rather than a company, using the information you provide as their ticket in, and technology as their means to continue and evolve the relationship. Here are six customer service trends to watch that merge technology with the timeless need for human interaction:

1. Impact of Connectivity – Even as the population exponentially grows, we continue to see through the eyes of social media, that it really is a small world after all. As we become more and more connected by family, friends, professions, common interests, and even the products and services we use and love, we will continue to see the growing impact of connectivity.

The quality and care of customer service representatives will become increasingly important as people look to make a human connection in the digital world, even with those things un-human.

2. Rise of Home Agents/CSRs – If customers can connect from anywhere, CSRs can now do the same. Don’t be surprised if the customer support agent you’re talking to is replying to your request for service from their smartphone while sitting on their back patio sipping iced tea. The upside? Happier customer service reps.

3. More Converging ChannelsMobile, social, SoMoLo, social TV, multi-device, click-to-call… as more and more channels begin to mix and meld, it will become even harder to offer service on one but not the other.

From phones to tablets to laptops and TVs, Ericsson predicts that more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the web by 2020. The number of mobile social network users in the U.S. will grow from 58.5% in 2012 to 79.1% by 2015. Nearly 70 million people will access Facebook from their phones each month this year, equaling 85.4% of the overall mobile social networking population. That share will rise to 87.4% by 2014, according to eMarketer.

4. Personalization to the Point of Being Scary – The savviest brands will be combing and combining customer data from your accounts, purchases and social media to create a customer experience so personalized, you’ll think they’ve been tailing you for weeks. The crazy part is, most people won’t mind. Personalized service and interaction from brands are now becoming more of a desire than a fear.

A recent Edelman study notes that almost 60% of millennials say that they are willing to share more personal information than they already do with the brands they trust. By 2020, there will be 5,200 GB of data for every person on Earth, according to a Digital Universe study. Oh the possibilities….

5. Power Shift from the Company to the Customer – Through the power of search, social media influence and the increased use of crowdsourcing and customer reviews, the customer’s knowledge, opinion, words and voice will determine how the masses perceive each brand. Even the most polished messaging will not be accepted unless the consumer whole-heartedly believes it true and compelling enough to share with their connections.

The shift from CRM to VRM (where customers will choose and maintain their relationships with vendors on their own terms) will continue, as consumers and customers determine if, when and where they engage with brands, and those companies that have the capabilities to monitor and view the customers’ social influence will be even more quick to answer when the individual with 50,000 Twitter followers tweets or posts a question.

Through the incredible amount of product and service data and reviews available through search engines, many consumers will now come to the customer service and support table armed with more knowledge than the CSRs, so companies will need to give their agents the same or better real-time access to information through well-maintained company and public-facing knowledgebases.

6. Increased Use of Telepresence – Watch for the increased use of video and video interaction between customers, brands and customer service agents, as 4G networks and greater bandwidth will make this possible. According to Cisco forecasting, the average mobile connection speed will surpass 1 Mbps in 2014 and will increase nine-fold by 2016. Cisco also predicts that mobile video will account for over 70 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of 2016. As brands strive to be more “human,” video customer service interactions will become a growing complement to the current multi-channel customer service offering.

What customer service trends are you watching for 2013? We welcome your additions; please leave a comment below.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tricia Morris
Tricia Morris is a product marketing director at 8x8 with more than 20 years of experience at technology companies including Microsoft and MicroStrategy. Her focus is on customer experience, customer service, employee experience and digital transformation. Tricia has been recognized as an ICMI Top 50 Thought Leader, among the 20 Best Customer Experience Blogs You Must Follow, and among the 20 Customer Service Influencers You Must Follow.


  1. We already knew that customers want to be treated well. As a matter of fact, they tend to spend more money to find a company where they think they can have great customer service. So, it is advisable that every business or company must implement great service to customers.


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