Brace for Impact: How Customer Service Teams Should Prepare for the Future

The role of the modern customer service manager is multifaceted. In addition to diffusing difficult situations with customers and making complex decisions to maximize profitability, customer service leaders want to ensure their teams are enabled to succeed—both today and into the future.

We gathered a team of customer service experts to identify future trends that will impact customer service teams. From incorporating technological innovations to training omnichannel agents, the customer service industry is undergoing radical changes that pose significant challenges.

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There’s no doubt that technological innovation and shifts in consumer behavior will greatly impact the customer service industry. The question for customer service leaders is, “How can I prepare my team to adapt to these changes and provide stellar customer service?” Here are some thoughts from our team of seasoned industry veterans:

Self-service won’t replace human agents

The use of chatbots is rapidly growing in popularity. These tools make it easy for customers to receive quick answers to simple questions without interacting with an agent. However, when it comes to solving complex problems, customers still prefer to talk to a human agent.

“Agents will need more emotional intelligence and a higher skill level to handle more challenging interactions. It will also require a higher pay scale to recruit and retain such talented front-line staff.”—Mike Aoki, President, Reflective Keynotes

Authentic connections are key differentiators

Buyers in 2018 have plenty of options. If they have a bad experience with a brand, it’s easy to find a long list of competitors.  In fact, 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of bad service. To prevent customer churn, companies need to focus on differentiating themselves through superior service—across every aspect of the business.

“Companies that differentiate themselves through service will do three things: They’ll always make it easy for customers to receive service, they’ll provide better products that eliminate or reduce the need for support, and they’ll create positive service experiences with authentic and emotional connections.”—Jeff Toister, Author/Founder, Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.

Companies need to build trust

Companies that respond to customers promptly and accurately increase trust in their brand and boosts customer satisfaction. Customers are more likely to do business with organizations that embody a strong mission and set of values that consumers can connect with.

“Customers purchase from companies that they trust and value. To stay relevant to customers and the industry, companies must be sure they have strong values that they live out and put at the forefront of their interactions.—Brian Costanzo, CEO/President, SOCAP International

Great products and great service go hand in hand

It’s difficult to deliver increasingly fast and quality customer service while reducing costs. However, the most successful companies think intentionally about how they can drive value for both consumers and the company with product innovations.

“Customer service teams will need to think in terms of value instead of cost. There are tangible, revenue-based opportunities that will also deepen relationships with customers. The modern customer experience and expectation will focus on a harmony between product and customer service that benefits and brings value to everyone.”—Ben Collet, Director of Global Advocacy, Enterprise & Strategic Accounts, Zendesk

Operations must evolve

Customers are demanding more and changing faster than customer service teams can evolve. Forward-thinking customer service leaders must be willing to change to meet the needs and innovations of the market.

“Customer service and support have been run in much of the same way over the last 30 years. Look at how the typical organization approaches quality assurance and KPIs—that hasn’t changed despite evolving market conditions, consumers, and technology. Customer service leaders must rethink these operating models to find more business value for the organization.”—Hui Wu-Curtis, VP, Arizona Public Services

Leverage technology for greater customization

Emerging technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence makes it easier than ever to provide personalization. These tools enable teams to capture key pieces of business intelligence, measure it, and incorporate it into personal interactions—and deliver new value to customers.

“We’ll continue to see an expansion of user communities and crowd-sourcing support teams that augment support services for greater customization.” —Troy Mills, CEO & Founder, Customer Care Advisory

Explore the impact of oncoming trends

Customer service fuels great companies. Glean additional insights on upcoming trends and deliver out-of-this-world customer service with our newest ebook, The Future of Customer Service: Insights for the Best Customer Service Teams in the Galaxy. Download today.

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