Is Your Customer Service Following These Trends?

Lauren Krause
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Service trends may seem fleeting, but they provide a valuable insight into customers' changing needs and communication styles. In 2015, the newest customer service ideas are heavily influenced by social media and the culture of constant connectivity that has emerged in the United States. By integrating these trends into your business, you can meet customers where they are comfortable and deliver more timely service.

Sophisticated Social Media

It's no longer uncommon for businesses to use Twitter or Facebook for customer service, and in 2015, some companies are taking social service to a new level. Instead of answering customer questions via the company Twitter account, service departments are setting up dedicated service channels across several major media channels. Dedicated personnel monitor the accounts constantly, providing fast answers and quick solutions.

For larger companies, advanced listening software that tracks all mentions of the brand across a variety of platforms. Then, analytics software analyzes customer behavior, posting habits and expectations to inform the service process.

Social service is rapidly becoming more personal; a company might use software that automatically replies to the customer, providing a personal web link or phone number that connects them directly to an agent.

Better Agent Training

Several high-profile customer service disasters have reinforced the importance of comprehensive agent training. Updated training helps agents move away from traditional phone-based service and teaches them to adapt to mobile, social media and multi-channel service.

Some companies are training their agents how to handle off-script complaints by offering greater flexibility and autonomy. Others are using gamification training to motivate their agents. This trend transforms the training process into a game, using set objectives and a reward system.

Proactive Service

Proactive customer service is an important trend for 2015. Instead of waiting for customers to call in with problems, some companies are providing useful content in advance.

If customers often have problems installing a certain product, a company might send an email with helpful tips immediately after the product ships. Other companies are publishing how-to content for maintenance and service to help customers get the most out of their investment.

Self-service content, such as video demonstrations and illustrated instructional blog posts, helps customers prevent and solve problems themselves. Since online content is available around the clock, it can reduce the load on the service department.

Proactive customer service is effective only when it correlates to the actual customer experience; understanding the experience requires careful data collection and analysis.

Not all customer service trends are right for every company; the best options depend on your company's size, style and products. By following trends and watching their success rates, you can select the strategies with the potential to take your service to the next level.

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