Businesses can no longer afford to dismiss the importance of customer care.
Whether you’re a start-up or a retail giant, you need to stay abreast and keep pace with the future of customer service.
For one thing, customer service drives loyalty which means more repeat purchases, higher customer lifetime values, a deeper client base, and ultimately, more revenue.
The Power of Great Customer Service
Here are some statistics that back up the significant impact of customer experience on your bottom line.
While most companies understand the role of customer care in their success, the post-pandemic era has proven to be a difficult time for the sector.
Customer support leaders face the unenviable task of navigating a perfect storm: demand spikes amid labor shortages, digital customer service solutions that have yet to deliver on their full promise, changing user demands, and historically high inflation.
How will businesses thrive despite these challenges and uncertainties?
Read more: 6 Ways Offshore Customer Service Outsourcing Provider Boosts E-commerce Customer Lifetime Value
Let’s take a cursory glance at the top emerging trends shaping the future of customer service this 2023.
Top Customer Service Trends this 2023
1. Customer Care Agents Will Struggle To Keep Pace With the Volume and Complexity of Calls
The demand for first-rate customer support grew as more companies moved their operations online.
While automation and AI can deliver speed and convenience, they lack one thing that customers expect from companies they do business with – a human touch.
Personalized customer service is becoming the new standard in the industry, with as much as 81% of consumers expressing frustration over impersonal customer service. Customers want more frequent touchpoints and more meaningful interactions.
This poses a challenge since research shows that customer service organizations need help to keep pace. Most (61%) customer service leaders have reported a significant spike in the number of calls driven by a growing customer base and increased touch points per customer; 58% expect call volumes to rise further over the next year. As more business processes are done online, the types of calls are also growing in complexity.
To make matters worse, attrition rates in the customer service industry have soared alongside demand.
High staff churn (up to 60%) is one of the most significant issues contact centers face. This problem has long been a problem in high-volume hiring settings, but the tight job market in the post-pandemic era has fueled even more resignations in recent years.
2. Supply Chain Disruptions Will Continue Fueling Demand for Customer Service
Supply chains have yet to recover from the damaging impact of the pandemic, coupled with inflation and geopolitical conflicts. Trade routes have gotten so congested that it may be well into 2024 before the worst-hit industries begin to see a semblance of normalcy.
Because of this, the customer service sector must prepare for a high volume of calls regarding product availability, missing packages, and delays.
Studies have shown that shipment tracking is already the top customer concern.
The key to dealing with this is transparency.
Customers can only be forgiving and understand supply chain difficulties if customer service representatives can provide honest, accurate, and timely updates on the status of their orders.
Sure, automation can help track parcels, but only an actual customer service agent can emphatically listen and offer solutions to a customer’s concerns.
3. Customer Service Will Define Your Brand Reputation
E-commerce has paved the way for businesses to reach emerging markets overseas. Unfortunately, it also opened the floodgates to a sea of global competition.
One way your company can stand out is with better customer service.
Research shows that an overwhelming majority (89%) of consumers are more likely to do business with a company after a positive customer experience. Use this as a competitive edge in this cutthroat market.
Focus on providing your customers with not just quality products but a quality customer journey as well. Ensure that every touch point and interaction reflects your brand of service.
You can boost customer loyalty and increase revenues through repeat purchases and word-of-mouth. At the same time, it will also serve as a much-needed differentiator for your brand.
4. Omnichannel Customer Service Will Dominate The Industry
Not long ago, omnichannel service was considered a competitive advantage that only large enterprises could afford. But as customer expectations evolved, omnichannel service became more than just a privilege – it now defines the future of customer service.
Customers expect accessibility, speed, and convenience – things only omnichannel customer service can provide.
However, there’s more to it than just having a system. Not every omnichannel customer service is bound to succeed.
So many companies plunge headfirst into omnichannel initiatives without figuring out which would best align with their specific needs and market, often resulting in weak omnichannel customer services.
Research showed that businesses with weak omnichannel systems (33%) have a much lower retention rate than those with robust omnichannel strategies (89%).
How can you get the most from your service channels
Outsourcing can help. Using the perfect balance of tech and personalized conversations, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms will develop an omnichannel strategy designed to give your clients outstanding customer service at every touch point.
5. Customer Experience Will Shift From Transactional to Solutions-Oriented Interactions
The solution to overwhelming call volumes and a staggering demand for customer support is much simpler than we think.
Most of the issues that plague every customer service team can be solved by refocusing routine and transactional calls to interactions that proactively seek solutions. This paradigm shift will play a significant part in the future of customer service.
Customer service teams need to concentrate on solving issues through meaningful customer service interactions instead of wasting energy on repetitive touchpoints that don’t accomplish anything.
In the future, enhanced problem-solving skills would enable customer service agents to handle higher call volumes and more significant complexities.
6. Prioritizing Self-Service Tools Will Help Navigate the High Volume of Contacts
Another development that will impact the future of customer service is the rise of self-service technology.
Take, for instance, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), in-app social support, and other new self-service tools. These customer self-service technologies, which empower customers to resolve their issues, have become a staple in e-commerce.
Self-service support reduces the cost of customer service and significantly reduces waiting times by providing readily available information and real-time customer engagement.
A well-designed and easy-to-use self-service portal can also ease the workload of your agents.
However, it’s worth noting that while it’s essential to push the envelopes of customer service innovation, automation can only get us so far. Artificial intelligence and even more advanced tech, such as natural language processing (NLP), are only meant to complement support reps. People should still be at the heart of each customer experience.
A self-service tool that exists in a vacuum will likely result in lower customer satisfaction or customer churn.
7. Outsourcing Will Evolve To Meet Demands
Outsourcing is contracting out specific tasks to a third-party provider.
This dates back to as early as the 18th century when factories began sourcing labor and raw materials from other parts of the world.
However, as the Information Age progressed, the term expanded to encompass services in the tech sector, such as customer support. Nowadays, there are outsourcing firms dedicated to all types of jobs, from legal to health care.
BPOs seamlessly integrate tech into their processes to maximize efficiency and minimize cost.
As technology fuels progress, outsourcing firms will continue evolving to meet industry demands and customer expectations.
Read more: Why Having Multilingual Customer Service Agents Is Still Better Than Automated Multi-Language Channels
Advantages of Outsourcing Your Customer Service to BPOs
Are you ready to unlock the future of customer service?
Outsourcing is one of the most rewarding decisions you make for your company. Check out this quick rundown of its benefits to find out why.
Experts in Customer Service
While BPOs provide a wide array of services, they are known for being experts in handling and scaling up customer support operations.
They leverage their firm grasp of customer service industry demands to identify pain points in customer service processes, aiming to boost sales, expand customer bases, and drive growth.
By analyzing basic customer service KPIs such as first-contact resolution and response time, BPOs can guarantee customer retention and satisfaction.
BPOs provide you with more than just customer service agents.
Equipped with a potent combination of industry expertise and customer data, they will map and transform your customer journey to fit your brand’s image.
These customer support leaders will also use cutting-edge technology to build artificial intelligence-powered systems that can deliver a proactive, personalized, and better customer experience designed to resolve issues with minimal human intervention.
As your business continues to grow, your needs and goals may change. A reliable BPO can help keep pace with your staffing needs.
BPOs can also assist you in strategizing effective customer handling policies and staffing plans based on your business goals.
Highly Skilled Talent
BPOs can help you access a deep global pool of highly skilled talent amid labor shortages.
For instance, SuperStaff has amassed a vast network of customer service representatives through a decade of success with leading American companies. This, in turn, has laid the groundwork for building a talent pipeline through a steady stream of quality referrals.
Managing a customer support team in-house requires bringing in hordes of new hires and dealing with all the complications that come with that.
It would help if you stayed on top of recruiting, onboarding, and training new support agents. Your in-house HR team will also need to handle their payroll, monitor their work, and manage staff churn.
Additionally, it would help if you established the framework or the foundation for effectively handling client concerns.
Flexibility is yet another reason why you should consider outsourcing your customer service.
When hiring extra help to get you through the holiday rush, BPOs can significantly help.
Outsourcing firms can quickly and seamlessly scale your team without disrupting your operations.
Since they typically work from other parts of the globe, outsourced customer service agents are available beyond 9 to 5 in your time zone. Their availability guarantees less waiting time and improved customer service for overseas clients or those calling beyond your usual business hours.
Outsourced agents received training in handling concerns across all communication channels — from phone calls and email support to live chat software and social media platforms.
Comparative Cost Advantage
Cost efficiency is among the top cited reasons for offshoring.
In-house customer service reps need equipment and a place to work, which can be very costly, especially in developed countries.
Offshoring (outsourcing overseas) is a great way to eliminate this unnecessary overhead cost and drive savings that you can use in other aspects of a business.
Offshore wages, estimated to be around only 30% of the cost onshore, is just one part of the overall cost. Human resources, payroll processing, office space, equipment, IT support, and client account management are all incidental expenses that BPOs must also factor into their pricing.
Add to that the outsourcing firm’s profit margin, yet BPO services are still more economical than doing your in-house customer service.
Increased Focus on Your Core Competencies
Customer service is a niche skill that only some in the C-suite are adept in. It requires a deep understanding of processes, tools, and systems – some of which are far too complex for non-experts.
If this is something other than your area of expertise, let the experts handle it. You can concentrate on expanding and enhancing your business by delegating your customer service to an experienced BPO.
Instead of wasting your valuable time on mundane tasks, devote your energy to the things that truly matter most – product development and sales.
Why Should You Outsource to the Philippines?
One of the primary reasons why companies all over the world are outsourcing to the Philippines is its massive workforce. The “BPO Capital of the World” is home to 1.3 million contact center agents working in over 1,300 companies across the nation.
Its efficient labor practices, cost efficiency, strategic location, and the Filipino trademark of quality service contribute to its role as a top outsourcing destination.
Filipinos are known for being hard-working and adaptable. This is evident in their willingness to work outside the business hours in their time zone. The country’s outsourcing industry is geared towards 24/7 availability – yet another advantage of offshoring to the Philippines.
Language and cultural differences won’t be an issue either. Filipino contact center agents have strong written and oral communication skills. The country’s English proficiency is comparable to that of the United States. Their pop culture is heavily influenced by the West, making them more receptive to the culture.
Filipinos can also easily relate to Western clientele since the country is a former colony of Spain and the U.S.
Another reason you should consider outsourcing to the Philippines is its laws. The country’s government enforces strong data security regulations. It also supports the BPO sector through tax incentives, duty-free equipment import, and other corporate benefits.
Read more: 10 Reasons Why US Companies Outsource Customer Service to the Philippines
The Future of Customer Service Is Personalized and Connected — Plan Your Strategy for 2023 and Beyond
While technology drives most customer service trends, human empathy is still the core ingredient that propels customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Outsourcing uses a potent combination of digitization and personalization to guarantee quality customer experiences while simultaneously boosting productivity, revenue, customer satisfaction, and real-time customer engagement.