Customer service trends you should be paying attention to

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We may be entering the last quarter of 2016, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to start paying attention to this year’s customer service trends. It wouldn’t be such a lost cause either – some of these trends might carry over to next year.

From omnichannel to outsourcing conversational commerce, here are some key trends your business should be paying attention to:

Omnichannel is still a buzz word

Omnichannel, or customer support delivered to multiple channels, is still gaining ground. It’s not enough to stick to just phone or email – there’s live chat, mobile, and dozens of social media platforms customers use to reach out to companies.

But more than that, you have to be able to provide a seamless experience across these channels. Some customers simply find it convenient to switch from one channel to another while discussing the same issue – and it’s you’re job to keep up.

Mobile rules

Speaking of omnichannel, mobile is one channel you shouldn’t neglect. Customers are spending increasingly more time on smartphones and tablets, and so it makes sense for you to know how to best engage them through this channel.

Get into conversational commerce

B2C communication typically takes place via phone or email, with live chat as a secondary support channel. But expect more and more customers who prefer to talk over instant messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Facebook has also announced “Messenger for Business”, which allows live chat providers like Userlike connect to this particular platform.

The instantaneous nature of live chat appeals to customers, and they appreciate the fact that it goes away with the usual steps that come with voice services. Most importantly, the live chat apps let them know if their messages have been read – something that gives them some relief and eases their frustration, even if they don’t get a response right away.

Customer service is the new battleground

Looking into 2016 customer service trends, Gartner found that 89 percent of companies expected to compete with others on the basis of customer experience. Business has become less about product superiority, unique selling propositions, or clear and clever messaging – granted all three are important to any company – yet poor customer service can easily discredit you.

In fact, Market Watch found that companies have begun offering shorter waiting periods and 24-hour access, among other privileges, to customers who are willing to pay for it.

Customers are more discriminating than ever

With so much access to information than ever before, customers have become more discriminating of businesses and the customer service it provide. They now have a means of comparing their experiences, not just with each other, but with their own stacked encounters with your business.

They also won’t hesitate to cancel a transaction if they find your service lacking, much less approach your competitors if they feel that they can do better.

How have these customer service trends shaped your business practices so far?

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