It was Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, that said: “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” And he was correct.
In today’s digital world, customer service is key to keeping customers long term. According to Hubspot, 92% of customers will stop purchasing from a business completely after three poor customer service experiences. On the other hand, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases if you give them a good experience.
Naturally, as more brands embrace customer service, the market for customer service is growing rapidly - with new customer trends appearing every year. This article will explore five of the trends shaping the future of customer care in 2021.
Customer service trends 2021
#1. Customer Journey Mapping
Businesses with great customer service build their customer care around the needs of customers. There’s only one way to understand your customers: map their journeys.
Customer journey mapping is a form of visualisation that helps brands link customer feedback to tangible changes the brand can make to their customer service. When brands map their customer’s journeys, they ask customers to walk them through the customer service process step-by-step. This highlights ‘pain points’ that the business needs to improve.
Embracing customer journey mapping is an easy way to improve your customer experience. To take advantage of this trend, you simply need to recruit 5 - 10 customers, ask them to fill out a customer journey map and analyse their responses. Once you understand your customers’ pain points, you’ll know what you need to do to fix them.
#2. Self Service
Between August 2019 and March 2020, curbside pickup and delivery grew by 233%. This figure increased a further 80% from March to June 2020, as retail businesses embraced socially distanced, contact-free service.
While COVID-19 helped drive businesses towards reducing human-to-human contact, contact-free customer service is part of a greater customer service trend: self-service. According to research from Nuance Enterprise, 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a customer service representative.
In other words, your business needs to establish ways customers can reach you on their terms. That could include:
Creating a self-service mobile app
Setting up an eCommerce store
Taking phone or fax orders
Setting up a chatbot or virtual voice assistant
Building a knowledge base to answer basic customer support questions
#3. Artificial Intelligence
The word ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI)’ is thrown around a lot when discussing new trends in business, but what can AI really do for customer service?
While AI technology is still developing, businesses can use AI to enhance parts of their customer service process that don’t need to be performed by a human. The two most common examples of AI customer service are chatbots and virtual voice assistants.
Chatbots are AI-based messaging tools that can handle basic interactions with customers. This includes answering product questions, retrieving order or shipping information and handling returns.
According to Salesforce, chatbots improve the efficiency of your customer service, as 64% of customer service agents who work with chatbots spend most of their time on complicated problems versus 50% of customer service agents without chatbots. Leading organisations are also 2.1 times more likely to use chatbots than their underperforming competitors.
Virtual voice assistants are similar to chatbots, except they work with customers who call your customer service line.
#4. Omnichannel delivery
Over the past ten years, the way businesses communicate with customers has changed. While businesses handled most customer service in person before the internet age, many Australians now rely on the internet for customer service. Omnichannel delivery is a natural extension of that shift.
When they embrace omnichannel delivery, businesses use multiple forms of contact to reach customers. That includes:
Virtual voice assistants
Face to face
Mobile app messaging
Using omnichannel delivery is fantastic for businesses, as it allows you to process messages from customers 24/7. It’s also great for customers. With omnichannel delivery, customers can reach you through multiple platforms and devices, which is more convenient and accessible for busy people.
If a portion of your customer base is international, omnichannel offers another great benefit, as customers can reach you despite the time zone difference.
#5. Customer Data and Document Security
Keeping your customer’s trust will never go out of style, which is why protecting customer’s data and documents is a key customer service trend in 2021.
According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s Targeting Scams Report, Australians lost over $634 million to scams in 2019 alone. Scams through email are the most prevalent type of scam, stealing $132 million from Australians in 2019.
Emails scams are still very prominent today. Between July 2019 to June 2020, 27% of cybersecurity incidents were malicious emails.
To embrace cybersecurity and protect your customer’s data, you’ll need to use an alternative communication channel to email when transmitting documents. Online faxing is one such channel.
Unlike traditional faxing, online faxing transmits faxes via the internet. When you send a document with online faxing, it is protected with Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption. TLS encryption encodes the contents of the fax during transmission - ensuring that you and your customer can only read the fax's contents.
If you’re looking to keep your customer’s documents safe, online faxing is for you.
Keep Your Customer’s Data Safe with eFax
If you’re looking to try online faxing, you’ll need to partner with an online falling provider you can trust - like eFax! eFax is a leading online fax provider globally, working with over 11 million people in 46 countries. eFax’s faxing system lets you fax through your smartphone, computer and tablet, putting the power to fax in your pocket.
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