6 Customer Service Trends Your Team Should Consider in 2021

Transitioning into a new year is an exciting time no matter who you are. Beyond the celebrations, there’s the prospect of leaving things behind, goal setting, and the tangible feeling of moving forward. People are thinking about what life will look like in the new year, and businesses are too. Now is the time to make sure 2021 goes smoothly. .

The need to plan is especially important because customers will expect companies to be able to manage the complexities of the pandemic and provide great customer experiences again. .When deciding which companies to buy from, 59% of people care more about the experience you provide than they did before the pandemic.

Set your targets on ways to create an excellent customer experience, and your 2021 will be as good as gold. Here are some ideas to get started:

Building relationships is key

It used to be that customer experience leaders were always looking for the next best metric to improve their team. It turns out that now when people are at their most isolated, the speed with which you resolve a ticket might not be as crucial as the humanity with which you do it.

Work to understand your customers and personalize your responses. The more human they can feel in the interaction, with both themselves and the person they are interacting with, the better. Take personalization to another level, using these strategies:

  • Aggregate good, clean data about your customers from various touchpoints. Then, make sure it’s readily available and easy to understand everywhere, especially for your customer support folks.
  • Use new, technology-driven tools to make your team’s jobs easier. AI, automation, and other new technologies make it easier for your team and your customers to get answers. It removes the technical processes and allows your team to focus on being human.
  • Segment your customers, and keep those segments up to date. Use them in most, if not all, of your communications. Only send things that are relevant and important and fit with your customer personas.

A lot of understanding your customers comes down to the data that you have on them. Your company probably already aggregates a ton of data—make use of it to do good!

Dive deeper into AI

AI has been on the top of lists to pay attention to for what feels like years now, and 2021 is no different. Artificial intelligence is a great way to boost your customer experience. If you aren’t already using it, implementing AI in your chat, email, or even phone triaging systems can level up how your customers feel about their customer service experience. It creates faster, more intuitive interactions; reduces pressure on your support staff so they can work on other things; and helps develop insight into customer behavior and feelings, especially when used to understand qualitative feedback data.

There’s a new bet for 2021, though: virtual assistants. More and more customers are using things like Google and Alexa to engage with companies. Create a methodology for your customers to do this, and you’ll be outrunning your competition by a mile.

Focus on Agent Experience

Everyone knows that it’s essential to serve your customers and give them the best experience possible, but did you know that you should do that for your agents, too? Over the past terrible year, it’s become increasingly important to have empowered and excited employees in your customer-facing roles.

Not only does it make your team members better at their jobs, but it also improves customer engagement. People want to do business with companies that they feel treat their people well. In 2021, we’ll see a boost in the importance that consumers place on the experiences employees have while serving them. People care about how employers treat their people.

Higher emphasis on security and privacy

Consumers are learning the value of their data. With massive hacks and legal cases abounding in 2020, it makes sense that consumers would be emphasizing the importance of this in 2021. Beyond that, your customers know how valuable their data is to you. While you hopefully aren’t selling it or using it nefariously, customer data helps you understand engagement with your product, what strategies work, and where you might be failing. 

Unfortunately, as data’s importance and usefulness have risen, consumers’ trust in how companies use it has fallen. Move forward into the new year by empowering your users to make choices about their data, being transparent about what you’re doing with it, and giving them more information about data privacy and preferences moving forward.

Real-time co-browsing

Zoom has become the darling of the tech world in 2020, so it’s time to figure out how to get more out of it in 2021. The answer is co-browsing. Co-browsing uses your chat dialogue with a customer so you can see what they’re doing in real-time. 

Using co-browsing or functionality like it is a game-changer for your customers. They no longer need to switch between multiple channels to get the help that they are craving. They don’t need to struggle to explain something with language that they might not have. Lastly, they get a response that is more rapid than what they would have otherwise. There are several excellent co-browsing softwares out there. Find one that works with your tool stack.

Going contactless is imperative

Many companies have already started to make strides here, out of the necessity of the pandemic. Following protocols for contactless delivery, quick package processing, and working around covid-related logistics will be even more critical in the coming year. That includes:

  • Creating a web presence if your company or product doesn’t already have one.
  • Ensuring that your mobile-first experience is excellent. Most people are browsing on their phones nowadays—you want to provide them with the best possible experience the first time they come to your site.
  • Embracing telehealth, video conferencing, and out-of-person experiences with your customers.
  • Timely shipping and receiving procedures.

Companies that don’t have these experiences locked down will lose customers to their competitors. Take time to invest in best practices for keeping both your customers and your employees safe. Otherwise, you won’t have a business for them to buy from!

Go deeper

Most of the best bets in 2021 have to do with new tools and technologies. As you move into the new year, take time to understand your customers and what they are keen on. If you’re currently using AI, now is the time to understand how it’s working for you and where your opportunities are. AI has tons of value, but most importantly, it helps you create a better experience for your customers. You can understand their concerns and needs more readily.

Of those concerns, security may be the highest. Your customers want to know what you’re doing with their data and know that it’s safe. Along with data safety, your customers care about physical security, both for themselves and for your employees. Increase your investment into contactless experiences for your customers and excellent agent experiences for your employees. Co-browsing does both: it allows your team members to see precisely what your customers see in real-time safely. This functionality takes out the necessary back and forth, typical to email support, and gives both parties distance.

2021 is a year of new things and new opportunities. Go forth and make great experiences!

Not quite sure where your customer experience stands? Maybe it’s time to do a customer experience audit.