There is no doubt the customer support space has changed over the last decade. With advancements in mobile technology, communicating with customers is easier than ever before. For B2B customer support teams, the amount of communication has led to more and more data, helping support teams create personalized experiences at every touchpoint. With the 2010’s coming to a close, it’s time now to look ahead and see what trends we expect to take place in 2020 that will impact us over the next decade.
In 2020 companies will continue to realize relationships matter with their customers. Gone are the days where customer support can simply be transactional and ignore the broader relationships and issues with their customer base. Especially in the B2B world, having the insight and tools to understand and react to the broader issues customers have will become increasingly important and pay long term dividends.
B2B support conversations will happen more often where professionals want to communicate
While the move to “omnichannel” support isn’t new, the number of channels is expanding. We will begin to see a shift in the channels that customers prefer with a strong move into conversational mediums. Traditional chat will continue to expand, but there will also be more adoption of additional conversational channels such as SMS, FB Messenger, WhatsApp and others. By taking this approach, both the agent and customer have a convenient way to communicate, providing the feeling that everyone is on the same team. Leading support software solutions will have integrations into conversational platforms allowing information to be shared between the systems and searchable by your greater support team to resolve other issues.
Personal contact data will supplement company data to inform support decisions
The B2B support mentality is changing to better figure out who the customer is. Whether it’s the company as a whole or one key decision maker, figuring out how to satisfy the customer is a critical business question being reconsidered in the B2B industry. Utilizing real-time information, like LinkedIn information directly within support software, will better inform support conversations for individual contacts within a larger company. This information will help support professionals provide tailored solutions based on the contact’s preferences, such as a video tutorial over a step-by-step text document.
Showing how is more important than telling how
“Live” support interactions are becoming less popular in favor of on-demand solutions, which makes sense considering the public trend away from live TV to streaming options. Support experts are already following suit, creating tutorials and video recordings showing how to solve a problem, then uploading them to a searchable video portal for customers. This individualized “streaming service” will give customers any time access and largely eliminate the need for support professionals to talk through every fix over the phone.
Support conversations will be converted to searchable text with minimal effort
Great support conversations happen between a customer and an agent every day. Unfortunately, most of the information provided by the customer doesn’t live on forever, providing limited value to the customer support team over time. For this reason, companies will start to invest in real-time speech to text technology and ensure this information never leaves their support software system.
B2B customers demand support beyond the product exchange
B2B customers expect more than just a product exchange from vendors. Instead, they demand great self-service options and rapid responses without losing the option of engaging with a human being. The idea of a B2B support agent acting solely as a troubleshooter is fading and will be entirely outdated in the coming years. Ultimately, businesses want a partner that will help them accomplish their goals through enhanced professional service offerings, of which traditional support is just a piece. In 2020, we’ll see businesses take more immediate action to build their support teams in a way that nurtures the entire customer experience.
While we saw a lot of great changes in the 2010s that continue to impact our day-to-day tasks in customer support, I look forward to what lies ahead in the 2020s and the new technologies and strategies that will help customer agents work more efficiently and effectively, forming lasting customer relationships.