How Live Chat Customer Service Will Evolve in 2013 (5 Bold Predictions)
“We are all in the service business.” - Sumair Dutta
The past year, 2012, has seen the exploding proliferation in social media use including using social media as a customer support channel. As an offshoot of 2012 as year of social media, 2013 will be the year when customer service goes mainstream … and live chat will have a very significant role in this. This is the year when businesses will fight it out ferociously in this field as competition boils down to who can provide the best customer service support to consumers.
Read through the customer service trends of 2013 and ride the arrow for the win this year.
Deeply Interconnected Channels
2012 was witness to how interconnected the world has become through the eyes of social media. The global population has been bonded together through relations, professions, common interests and even products and services we’ve come to love. In the recent years, even before 2012, new channels for customer communication have been established and greatly used, making it unwise for any business to use a single channel. (Case in point: Businesses have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to allow their customers to reach them aside from the accustomed email and phone support.)
Perhaps the latest customer communications tool to surface that proved to be hugely successful is the live chat tool which allows immediate one-on-one interaction between a brand and a consumer without the latter leaving the former’s website. This “get what you need, when you need it” type of convenience struck customers’ hearts that made live chat the most-loved customer service tool that ultimately prompted huge companies, like BestBuy, to abandon email and use live chat instead in addition to their phone support.
Smarter Consumers, More Personalized Information
The internet and social networks make it easy for consumers to conduct research before a purchase decision. Most online shoppers are educated, with ample household income, which means many of them are professionals. It’s easy for them to acquire and process general types of information. However, due to time constraints, online shoppers will seek “smarter”, more personalized answers to their queries. Search engines are continuously adapting these factors to their algorithms, precisely why social signals are constantly being added to the mix.
What’s an e-commerce store or online business to do? Make access to personalized information be as painless as possible by making activating one-on-one chatting via a live chat widget. Simple inquiries can be answered on the spot without dialling a toll-free number and going through the phone system’s menu.
Rise of Super Agents
Because excellent multi-channel customer support is portended to be the norm this year, businesses will be augmenting customer service training giving rise to superstar agents. Not to say that customer service mediocrity is rampant in the past, it’s just that excellence was spread thinly in all fields as businesses realized that phone support alone cannot handle the bulk of communication demand – the floodgates of which have been opened by digital communication, social media and the internet, in general.
These superstar agents will be next year’s “biggest assets” of any industry as consumers gravitate towards companies who can give a best-in-class service. As Sumair Dutta rightly puts it, “We are all in the service business.”
Crowdsourcing Customer Support
Along with social media, last year, crowdsourcing was also brought to the forefront. 2012 has seen the rise of services such like Foursquare and Yelp which allow customers to rate and review local businesses, products and services they like and stream these activities to their social network accounts that consequently gave small and big brands exposure that led to new discoveries.
This year, crowdsourcing will be one of the core players in the customer service agenda. Think organizational knowledge bases powered by customers themselves, that is, Wikipedia style. The “customer as agent” movement will be increasingly championed, though not blatantly and simplistically. It will make use of real-time content seamlessly flowing to and fro several channels that not only include knowledge bases but also forums, social media, review sites, and even mobile apps.
Home-based Live Chat Agents
The global link has been forged tightly as time passed. The last couple of years have seen tremendous advancements in multi-channel communications and communication devices that gave rise to increased connectivity that went beyond email and instant messaging. Now, people are walking around with a computer in hand. Telecommuting is already seen as a way to do one’s job, when decades ago it was unthinkable. With the economy in murky waters and unemployment rampant, the internet provided a myriad of job opportunities as the world became a small town because of global interconnectivity.
Thus, in 2013, home-based customer service reps will wow the crowd. Live chat customer service will do to what social media did to small brands last year – that is, leveling the playing field in the arena where huge companies and brands were expected to rule. With high-quality training, ample resources and updated practices and information acting as means to satiate every business’s drive for customer service excellence this year, home-based live chat agents will rock this year.
How do you plan excel in customer service this year?
Cheby writes about live chat insights, improving conversions, epic customer service, online marketing and everything in between. She will take you by the hand in exploring how to extend your website's earning power through Offerchat's smart live chat tool, and even smarter live chat people.