9 Best Customer Service Trends For 2023 | Satisfy Your Customers
High performing businesses have excellent customer service. They are 7.6x more likely to agree that customer service is a primary revenue driver for their company.2 Without it, their growth is stunted. No amount of brilliant innovation will generate profits if your customers are laden with problems they can’t solve, so your customer service team must be exceptional, and to identify new opportunities and give your team an edge, it can help to stay on top of the latest customer service trends for 2023.
In this article, we explore nine customer service trends that we believe will become popular in 2023 and may help to improve your relationships with customers.
Table of contents
- Omnichannel support
- Value-driven customer service
- Video chat
- Data transparency
- Proactive support
- Working from home
1. More personalisation
When they meet the wants the needs of their customers, adverts and promotions are a potent form of personalisation
With so much personal data being collected by companies, it’s silly not to put it to use. In fact, after handing over their precious data, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions.5 This means giving them the support options that they are most comfortable with, personally addressing communications, and offering recommendations that hit the bullseye. It might also be celebrating their important milestones, sending them content that meets their needs at that particular time, and making your self-service portals easier and more satisfying to use.
There’s a huge variety of ways to personalise the customer’s experience, across every channel that your support team uses: help desk software, your website, social channels, and email marketing, to name a few. If you get personalisation right, you could find yourself with more long-lasting customer loyalty, and faster growth. This is one of the most important customer services trends of 2023.
2. Omnichannel support
The days of immediately calling a company when you have a problem are long gone. While picking up the phone is still an important option to have, many of us prefer solving our problems in other ways, like sending emails, firing off instant messages, or reading support documents. In 2023, people don’t just expect services for their specific support preferences, they expect them on the exact channels they use too. In a CX survey by Zendesk, WhatsApp customer support increased by 370% from 2020 to 20212, and support through social media by 32% for the same period.2
This is called omnichannel support, and to provide truly excellent customer service, a business must understand how their customers like to solve their issues, and then provide them with those services. It can be costly and difficult to manage, so you’ll need to keep the number of services as low as possible, picking those that give you the most bang for your buck. Your unique combination of customer service channels should be tailored to your particular customers, and might be a combination of methods like phone calls, emails, and even video calls. If you want to grow your business, it’s imperative to get this right—93% of people will spend more with companies who offer their preferred customer support options.2 If you’re failing to give them the customer support methods they want, they may become frustrated and start to neglect you.
3. Value-driven customer service
Our values define who we are, and influence our behaviours from day to day. If you’re a passionate environmentalist, you may have a good idea which companies use the least water to produce their clothing, which local farms are most sustainable, and which airlines are most committed to lowering their carbon footprint. And you’ll probably stick by those companies because they align with your most cherished values.
This observation is backed by data from market research firm Ipsos, which shows that people want to buy from companies with the same values as their own.1 If your company vocally endorses workplace diversity while having a customer service team that is 90% white and Australian, your hypocrisy may be obvious to your customers. Practising what you preach is not only honourable, it will attract the customers you want to attract, and keep them tied to your business. Whatever your company’s values, be sure to demonstrate them across every department of your company, including customer service. Certain social issues are incredibly important to people in 2023, and we expect this to intensify as the year progresses.
WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram are just a few platforms that some people expect to receive customer support
Australians spend an average of 35 minutes a day sending some form of text message.9 It’s become the primary way to communicate for many younger people, and has also become an expectation when dealing with businesses. From 2020 to 2021, chat support messages increased by 17%2, as more and more people choose to resolve their support issues through website chat features, or services like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
If this is how your customers like to communicate, you cannot afford not to be on these services. The digital world teems with instant gratification. People want fast access to support services, fast responses, and fast solutions to their problems. Waiting for minutes for someone to answer the phone is just too long for some people, and if your company forces them into this situation, they may start eyeing up your competitors.
5. Video chat
For those of us working from home in 2023, video chat has become a familiar affair. We are more comfortable with video calling people and having a face-to-face chat, which has made video support more appealing.
If it makes sense for your business, providing ad-hoc video support can be an effective way to solve customer problems, especially if your product or service is complex. Rather than typing out a long-winded solution for a problem, they can give the customer a video call, share their screen, and quickly walk them through it. It’s not suitable for every interaction, but can be extremely effective in particular situations, and can make the customer feel as though you truly care for them.
If you’re thinking of using this for support staff who work from home, you’ll need to ensure that they are well dressed and maintain a clean and presentable environment. You’ll also need to use a CRM that offers this feature, or find another affordable service. Few companies offer this kind of customer support, so it can really make your team stand out.
6. More automation
Staff are one of the highest costs to a company. If you can increase your revenue while keeping your customer support costs affordable, you will be able to scale the business much more easily, and automation can help.
Anyone who has worked in a support department knows that they get asked the same questions again and again, and when this is the case, it can usually be automated to save time. This could come in the form of a well-designed chatbot that guides the customer to their answer, a comprehensive, intuitive self-service portal filled with excellent documentation, email macros that allow you to send ultra-fast canned responses, or a triage system that automatically assigns support queries based on the customer’s keywords.
Customer support software continues to evolve, and as it does, there’s more and more opportunities for automation, which allows a customer service team to spend more time on challenging, rewarding problems. They will still be on the frontlines of the business, building relationships with customers over time, but they can do so without having to waste precious hours repeating resolutions that have been long solved.
With automation, it’s also important to send regular customer feedback surveys to ensure that they are happy with how things are going. These could be sent both periodically and on an ad hoc basis after they have interacted with a bot or some other kind of automated feature. The last thing you want is for your bots, workflows, and macros to be irritating people.
7. Data transparency
The more transparent your customer service team is about people’s data, the more they will trust you
Data has overtaken oil to become the most valuable commodity in the world. It allows tech companies like Google and Facebook to make billions through their advertising platforms, which use their immense personal data collections to precisely target people with ads. Sometimes, this personal data gets used in unethical ways, like when British firm Cambridge Analytica collected the data of millions of users without their consent, and used it to influence the Brexit referendum.
Understandably, data privacy has become an important topic for many people. In a 2019 study by Verizon, 61% of people said their awareness of data-privacy issues has increased in the past year. 69% of people would avoid a company that had suffered a data breach, even if it offered a better deal than competitors.3 In a separate poll by McKinsey & Company, 71% of customers said they would leave a company if it shared their data without permission4, which may help to explain the recent exodus from Facebook.
Many of us want companies to be clear about what they will do with our data, and this includes customer service. If your support agents are asking people for personal information like their home address, and it isn’t clear why they would need it, they should explain what it’s being used for. This goes for any piece of personal data that is being collected. The more transparent a business is about data, the less anxious customers will be, and the more they will trust them.
As discussed above in the personalisation trend, many people are happy to give over their data if it leads to better personalisation for the product or service. 45% of 18 to 24 year olds confirmed this in the Verizon study.3 So collecting personal data can be important for providing a better service. But it must always be justified, especially in 2023.
8. Proactive support
Proactive support has been pleasing customers for decades, and with automation on the rise, team members should have more time to proactively contact their customers and offer help, which is why we believe it will be a customer service trend for 2023.
In an American study by InContact, 87% of adults said they are happy to be contacted proactively by a business.6 It’s easy to see why—proactive support can help to prevent issues before they crop up, and tackle any festering problems that can intensify over time and end with an explosion of anger, followed by a threat to take their business elsewhere. It’s impossible for a business to know their customers’ problems unless they proactively ask about them, and when they do, it really shows that they care. This can vastly improve people’s loyalty to the company.
9. More working from home
As of August 2021, More than 40% of Australians were working from home.7 Companies have witnessed the cost savings of not renting an office, and there’s no going back. Data scientists at American employment website Ladders believe that remote working in the US will increase this year, and continue increasing into 2023.8
Aside from the obvious cost benefits, companies who are happy with a work-from-home model will have access to a substantially larger pool of customer service workers, who they can employ from cities across the country. Interviews can be easily completed over video call, and if the employee is happy to use their own (secure) computer, costs are reduced even more.
Of course, working from home has its downsides too. Employees can get bored, struggle to connect with coworkers, and might slack off more. Managers may find it difficult to motivate their customer service teams, and implement effective processes that lead to satisfied customers. But despite the challenges, remote working has proven to be a successful model for many businesses across the world, which is why we expect this trend to continue into 2023 and beyond.
If you currently have remote workers, learn more about the best practices for your work from home policy.
Customer service trends 2023—summary
81% of people say that a positive customer service experience increases the chance of them making another purchase. But if they have multiple bad experiences, 76% of them would gladly switch to a competitor.2 Those are just two reasons why customer service is so crucial to the growth of a business, and why it helps to stay on top of the latest customer service trends for 2023. If you’d like to learn more, we highly recommend reading Zendesk’s excellent CX trends report for 2022, which is packed with insights from original research. We hope this article will help you to improve your customer service team—good luck!
- 2021, Ipsos Global Trends 2021, Ipsos
- 2022, Zendesk CX Trends 2022, Zendesk
- Clare Ward, 2019, What customer experience do consumers REALLY want?, Verizon
- Venky Anant, Lisa Donchak, James Kaplan, and Henning Soller, 2020, The consumer-data opportunity and the privacy imperative, McKinsey & Company
- Nidhi Arora, Daniel Ensslen, Lars Fiedler, Wei Wei Liu, Kelsey Robinson, Eli Stein, and Gustavo Schüler, 2021, The value of getting personalization right–or wrong–is multiplying, McKinsey & Company
- Steven MacDonald, 2021, Proactive Support: The Next Generation in Customer Service, SuperOffice
- 2021, More than 40 per cent of Australians worked from home, Australian Bureau of Statistics
- Bryan Robinson, 2022, Remote Work Is Here To Stay And Will Increase Into 2023, Experts Say, Forbes
- 2022, 24 Must-Know SMS Marketing Statistics For 2022, Swift Digital