4 Big Customer Service Trends for 2017

How can we, as customer service leaders, keep up with the new customer service trends and continue innovating?

First of all, to help our readers prepare for the new year, we’ve looked into our crystal ball and discovered four top predictions for 2017. They also come along with actionable advice on how you can get ahead of the game and hit the ground running!

Conversations not tickets

Companies are beginning to realize that great customer service is authentic and human. Since treating customers like a number and shepherding them through a queue isn’t going to build a fanbase.

To get ready:

Evaluate the process customers need to go through to get in touch. Most of all, do you force them to call a 1–800 number? Such business won’t fly in 2017. Therefore more and more companies will be placing conversation starting widgets on every page of their website.

Solution suggesting robots

81% of customers would prefer to help themselves rather than pick up the phone. Zendesk’s Automatic Answers (in beta) uses AI to suggest answers to customers’ questions and then allows them to close their own ticket. Solvvy, the newest product on the market, is a machine learning add-on to existing Help Desks. It helps “unlock the power” of your knowledge base to generate automatic answers.

To get ready:

Robots can only do so much — they need quality help center content to deliver results. So make sure you update your documentation, organize it well and use test. When you’re ready to bring in the AI backup, you’ll see results much faster.

Customer Service as a Career

With AI and self-service solutions becoming commonplace, the role of the customer service rep is changing. And customer expectations keep increasing. However, turnover is way up, at an estimated 24% this year! To combat their top talent leaving, we’re expecting more companies to spend more time developing and retaining excellent customer support in 2017.

Conferences like SupConf and Elevate continue to grow and build a community of customer service professionals. New podcasts designed to pass on skills to others in customer support (like Support Breakfast) are popping up.

To get ready:

Evaluate your plan for customer service agent development. Don’t you have any? It’s the time to get on it! Creating a comprehensive roadmap for long-term growth, and communicating it well, will be the key to retaining top customer service talent.

All hands on deck

While All Hands Support has been around for a few years, usually just trendy SaaS companies have been adopting it. In 2017, we’ll see better collaboration and closer relationships between support and … everyone else. Software is facilitating this as well. Kayako’s new release this year featured free Collaborators — primarily light agents then can view and help resolve conversations. Help Scout just added @mentions into their interface.

To get ready:

With all these extra hands on deck, it’s important to be really confident in your support team voice and processes. Update and share any internal documentation with other teams too.

Happy New Year and Happy Customers!

We can’t wait for all the great new trends we’ll see in 2017.

Every single one of these predictions will help agents deliver even better support in the year ahead. And we’re excited to be part of that!

Read the full blog post here.