Customer service trends your business needs to start in 2018

02/22/2018 - Jordi Ordoñez

Let’s review the customer service trends for 2018.It’s the beginning of the year and we’ve got time to look atwhat will make customers happy in the upcoming months. Don’t forget that a happy customer is synonymous with a store that works.

Customer service can be a frantic task, but occasionally you need to take a second to ask yourself where the sector is going. What does the customer expect from me? Am I going in the right direction and am I meeting the new standards?We’ll put our nose to the grindstone starting now.

#1– The customer is more capable than ever

Not only is this a technical issue, which of course it is, because we’ve never had such a technologically mature audience before. The customersin 2018 can interact without having any problems with the tools we’ve created for them. It’s also true that those same tools have been evolving with them.

I said that it goes beyond technical training, and by that I meant that the average customer is much more demanding, they know their rights and their strengths. We’ve said the customer is always right, but now they’re always right andhave an exponential reach through critiquing our store, reviews, marketplaces, specialized websites, social networks, etc.

This requires a lot from us, both at the service platform level and in agent training.

#2– Personalization is key

Surely thanks to the first point, we can see that users value personalized customer service more than ever.

This is one of the top customer service trends for 2018 and may be one of the main pending issues for many e-commerce stores. Technology has helped us be more productive in this area, but we shouldn’t let software blur customer service.

We live in a time where Big Data seems to be the solution for everything and I won’t be the one to doubt the possibilities it offers us at a marketing level, or in customer service, but in the endthe user has a special way of overgeneralizing and very specific issues.

If we can land at that level, knowing what it is you want, what you’ve been looking at, what you’ve bought before… in short, what you have in mind, we can offer you a completely customized solution that fits your needs exactly. Oct8ne’s passion for chatting using co-vision or looking at a customer’s history stems precisely from there.

#3– AI won’t replace the agents

This topic may be somewhat controversial. Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly more present; chat bots are used with some frequency by many online stores and there’s no doubt they’re productive. But does this mean that the trend in 2018 is to replace agents? The answer is no, plain and simple.

My argument is to make sure this refers directly to the last two points. Thecustomer is more demanding, which makes them a bit more unpredictable, and this means we can’t foresee all oftheir potential reactions.  Customers also value “the human touch”. Logically, personalization is also better when we start the game of dealing directly with people.

Using AI will simultaneously grow with the use of customer service agents. Actually, it will forma certain alliance of support among the personnel dedicated to these tasks; automations based on behaviors, and triggers that give us a foot in the door to put the agents in action, etc.  In short, collaboration between both parties.

#4– The importance of experience

Seeing that many online giants make the move towards retail, we always have the same question, “Why”?

Obviously “being tangible” is one of the most obvious answers. The user wants to touch the products, check out their quality, try them on, and get advice.  The last one is key.

For the client,many times advice and one-on-one attention is not directly reflected in an online shopping experience. Stores like Bonobos that used to only be online have been opening stores in the US for a long time; the added value is that a brand agent greets you at the store and personally makes suggestions until you’re 100% convinced.

The offline experience spilling over online is one of the most powerful customer service trends of 2018 and those who know how to take advantage of it have a leg up. 

#5– Sales are linked (even) more to the service

It looks like this year one aspect will stand out that we’ve always believed in at Oct8ne: a customer service agent with sales assistance.

Sometimes, in a situation where you opt to make the customer self-sufficient in terms of customer service, decreasing their interaction with FAQs and knowledge bases, the interested party is left to find their own solution to their problem. This means empathy and the commercial face of an expert in the subject is lost.

A well-formed team can guarantee that a shaky sale closes, and we can even go further to include sales techniques like up-selling and cross-selling where the key is always persuasion and empathy.

With increasing competition, it’s vital that we make all interaction with the client optimal and gain a commercial return from it.

These are the five customer service trends that I see clearly for 2018.  Do you agree?  Is there anything you’d like to add?

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