Last updated: Customer service trends 2024: 5 insights you can’t ignore

Customer service trends 2024: 5 insights you can’t ignore

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If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we need to prepare for the unexpected. For businesses, that means prioritizing customer service. Done right, customer service can help businesses weather uncertainty and crises with grace and efficiency.

This is key since it can feel as soon as one urgent crisis ends, another one is ready and waiting to take its place. In volatile times, when customers are uncertain or looking for extra guidance or support, your service agents have the opportunity to set your business apart. Handled well, it can turn them into lifelong advocates.

So what does the future hold for customer service in 2024? And how can you equip your teams to navigate the unexpected?

Customer service trends 2024: Preparing for anything, everywhere, all at once

Most organizations understand that customer service is core to their ability to deliver good customer experience, and believe it helps drive brand value and revenue, according to a study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

However, there’s a big gap between what they view as strategic and what they actually deliver. Only 58% of organizations surveyed said they’re satisfied with the customer service they provide. That means there’s a lot of work ahead.

Here are the top 5 customer service trends you need to know:

  1. Generative AI generates impact
  2. Adding value through customer service
  3. “Agile” is the new “ready”
  4. End-to-end service means ending the silos
  5. Prioritizing service agent engagement

1. Generative AI generates real service impact

2023 was the year of generative AI, and companies are still sorting out what that means for their business. 2024 will move AI further forward, away from buzzword-status and into tangible business benefits.

When we talk about AI in customer service, we don’t just mean chatbots (though those are highly effective). Generative AI can help service agents write responses to customer requests more quickly—saving time and money. It can also help agents find answers and solutions faster.

78% of customer service pros say that AI helps them spend more time on the more important parts of their role, and 62% say that AI tools help them understand their customers better.

When agents are better equipped to understand the customers they’re helping, and can offload less important tasks, they’re in better positions to deliver high-quality customer service experiences.

AI can also help:

  • Fill gaps for businesses coping with high employee turnover (which was a particular challenge for customer service teams in 2023)
  • Onboard new agents quickly and enable them to provide fast and reliable customer service from the start

In 2024, companies will gain a better understanding how to utilize the power of generative AI to improve the overall customer service experience, and without compromising customers’ privacy and trust.

2. Adding value through customer service

Inflationary trends are driving both B2C and B2B customers to pay closer attention to the value they receive from every transaction and interaction.

But value doesn’t have to mean money—customers are willing to pay higher prices for good experiences. Value can mean time, energy or anything else that makes their lives easier or more pleasant.

In 2024, customer service strategies will be focused primarily on delivering customer service experiences that add value to customers’ lives.

That can mean helping them find products that best meet their need, saving them time by resolving issues quickly, or enabling them to get the most out of their products and services. Empower your service agents to do what they can to add value with each customer engagement.

Remember: top-notch customer service shows customers that they chose right by buying your product or partnering with your company.

3. “Agile” is the new “ready”

When unexpected is the new normal and there’s no such thing as business as usual, agility becomes your super power. And for customer service agents working on the front lines resolving issues and navigating concerns, it will be their No. 1 most-used skill.

Between inflation, rising interest rates, geopolitical turmoil, and natural disasters, many of us long for an uneventful year. 2024 promises to be anything but.

At the beginning of 2023, McKinsey & Company published an article questioning whether a “fresh start” in the new year was even possible. Almost a year later, it’s safe to say: businesses are better off preparing for the unexpected than wishing for a fresh start.

Above all, that takes agility. For customer service, agility means:

  • Removing data silos and connecting customer service systems with the rest of your business to make sure agents have up-to-date information for your customers
  • Meeting customers on their terms, in the channels they choose, including: Comprehensive self-service, available 24/7 (81% of customers want more self-service options); social media support (95% of adults aged 18-34 likely follow a brand on social channels); human agents.

In 2024, customer service organizations will want to invest in solutions and strategies that let them adapt and react quickly when things (inevitably) change. Expect to see more companies embrace composable business and other approaches to enhance agility at all levels.

4. End-to-end service means ending silos

When customers call a company they do business with, they expect the company to information about them. They expect service agents to be able to be able to access their past purchases, service tickets, social media interactions, and issue history as readily as a doctor has access to a patient’s medical history.

Connecting customer service with back office and customer experience systems enables a complete, 360-degree customer view, enabling seamless, end-to-end service that’s fast, effective and painless.

Connecting systems—whether between internal departments (customer service, sales, and logistics, for example) or within the customer service experience (like when an issue escalates from self-service to the contact center to field service)—gives service agents the whole picture of the customers’ context.

This kind of end-to-end service enables them to handle issues more quickly from first contact to resolution. The result is super efficient customer service, satisfied customers, and lower costs for the organization.

5. Prioritizing service agent engagement

Agent churn is a big problem in contact centers. And while it’s always been a high-turnover role, churn has escalated in recent years, taking a huge toll on businesses. And it’s due in no small part to decreased employee engagement.

Bottom line, investing in the employee experience isn’t just good for employees—it’s good business.

Disengaged service agents pose a real threat to businesses. If they’re feeling burnt out, unappreciated or uninvested, that energy seeps into their customer interactions.

47% of customers feel less valued when talking to unsupportive customer service agents, according to an Accenture study.

And if they feel less valued, they’ll take their business elsewhere.

On top of that, the average cost of turning over a single rep is $14,113, according to Gartner. Improving retention need to be a top priority.

Even with the financial pressures facing businesses today, companies can’t afford to keep losing customer service reps. In 2024, expect to see more and more companies investing in ways to employee satisfaction and drive positive engagement in their customer service departments.

Customer service in 2024: Empowering better CX through service

Your customer service teams are uniquely positioned to drive greater customer experiences, build brand loyalty and strengthen your company’s reputation. Especially when times are predictably unpredictable.

Customer service trends for 2024 reinforce the need for agility, connectivity, and value for customers and agents alike.

How does your customer service stack up to the competition?
Find out how top B2B companies are transforming service.
We’ve got the deets
HERE.

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