The last 3 years have been impacted by the acceleration of the digital transformation. The arrival of the Covid in 2020 had forced companies to undertake a digital transformation very quickly (or to accelerate it for the most mature ones) thus gaining 7 years in terms of digitalization. In this race to digitalization, many companies have left human contact behind. Today, consumers demand more human interaction with the companies they buy from.
This new year is likely to be difficult. Economic, geopolitical and social crises… many concerns for companies and consumers. In an economically difficult year, consumers become demanding. People who care about their spending are no longer willing to accept poor quality experiences. Companies that provide a better customer experience and with whom they have the most connection will win their loyalty.
2023 will be the year to find the balance between providing the best of digital and making human connections with customers. Companies will continue to invest in digitalization while considering the changes in the customer relations that revolves around rich and personalized human contacts. In this article, we propose you to discover the different trends for this new year.
Trends in Customer Relations for 2023
1/ Digital transformation will impose new challenges
To continue to grow and stand out, companies have no choice but to reinvent themselves and innovate. To do this, they must adopt the new codes of customer relations to offer the best possible experience. The knowledge of the customer journey, listening to their expectations and continuous experimentation are the keys to success.
In 2023, customer relations will be omnichannel. This does not necessarily mean being present everywhere and all the time, but above all knowing how to combine and rationalize channels. The objective is to offer customers the right channel at the right time. For example, a customer can browse a company’s social networks to learn about its products, then check prices via the brand’s website before going to the store to make a purchase.
Many communication channels are suitable to the implementation of an effective omnichannel strategy. These include social networks, chatbots and visual assistance. When integrated with customer service, remote assistance enables a true omnichannel experience to be delivered. Let’s take the example of a customer who has a problem with an equipment. The customer will try to contact the company’s customer support. This can be done through a phone call, a message on a chatbox or by sending an email. To solve the problem more quickly, the support agent can send an invitation via SMS or e-mail allowing the customer to connect directly to the video from a simple web browser.
To ensure the success of this strategy, companies will have to equip and train their employees to all these new technical solutions.
2/ Human contact remains essential
The emergence of digital has led companies to believe that consumers no longer want human contact. However, they attach particular importance to interaction and would like brands to listen and empathize more.
A Qualtrics study reveals that 63% of consumers say companies need to do a better job of listening to feedback. According to the same study, in 2022, 36% of consumers said they were not satisfied with the levels of customer service they’d received, while more than half reported that when they’d raised a customer service issue, it went unresolved.
In 2023, any company that wants to grow and provide a good experience will have to offer a human customer service.
3/ Video becomes the norm
In 2022, phone and email remain the main channels for calling a customer service. However, they are declining in contrast to digital channels such as chat, forums or video support.
Video support is the channel with the biggest increase. It has increased by 43% since 2020. This channel appeals to both customers and companies, as it allows for, among other things:
- A humanized customer relationship
- A simple and fast assistance
- An efficient treatment of requests
- A resolution from the 1st call
- An improved customer experience
The proximity that video provides allows to combine human and remote relationships. Thus, it will continue to be deployed in customer relations as an effective support for customer assistance.
4/ Ever more demanding customer expectations
Companies know that customers are increasingly demanding.The reason is simple: in the same sector, the offers are more and more diversified. It is then easy for a customer to switch from one brand to another. To stand out from the crowd and avoid having customers leave, a company will have to provide an outstanding quality of service in terms of speed, security, and engagement.
In 2023, customer relations will be fast! According to a Qualimétrie study, the first expectation of customers (39%) is to get an answer from the first contact. Brands must therefore use technology as well as creative approaches to improve efficiency and offer customers ways to save time. Visual assistance has many benefits when integrated with customer service, including improving first call resolution rates. The use of visual assistance allows the agent to visualize the problem encountered by the customer. This allows the agent to diagnose and resolve the problem faster while ensuring a good customer experience.
Customers also have high expectations regarding security. A Cisco study shows that 81% of consumers consider transparency to be the most important thing organizations can do to restore and build trust when it comes to handling their personal data. A good customer experience therefore also requires a company to be transparent about how it uses and collects its customers’ data. In 2023, companies will need to ensure seamless security, promote security practices such as two-factor authentication or the use of one-time passwords, for example, and ensure compliance with personal data protection regulations such as the GDPR.
The third expectation of customers concerns the commitment of brands. An Edelman study found that 63% of Gen Z consumers expect to see a brand’s stance at the time of the transaction, which encourages them to buy and remain loyal. As mentioned earlier, new customers want to give meaning to their consumption by consuming less, but better. They therefore attach particular importance to the values and commitments promoted by brands. The emergence of labels such as “Relation Client France” or “Excellence de Service” is not insignificant. The evolution of customer relations is leading companies to show more sincerity and reliability in their organizations.
5/ The employee experience at the heart of customer relations
There is a correlation between customer satisfaction and employee experience that is called “Symmetry of Attitudes”. This concept consists of placing the quality of the customer relationship and the quality of the employee relationship on the same level in order to increase employee engagement and customer satisfaction. According to McKinsey, people who report having a positive employee experience have a level of engagement 16 times higher than employees with a negative experience. It is therefore essential for companies to put employees at the heart of their organization.
In recent years, the volume of customer requests has continued to increase, as have customer expectations. Therefore, it is essential to give them the keys to do their job well. This can be done through digital awareness, training, or access to business technology tools. There are many solutions (selfcare, knowledge bases, etc.) that can increase employee performance. Video is an interesting and innovative solution to establish privileged relationships and provide personalized experiences. Whatever the use case, the use of video offers significant advantages for agents:
- Time savings: problem resolution is faster thanks to real-time video and collaborative tools (shared annotations, screen sharing, etc.);
- Reduced effort: visual access to the customer’s problem allows the agent to make less effort to understand the situation from the start;
- Maximize productivity: with faster resolution of customer cases, employees can handle more.
6/ Customer service: a key factor in building customer loyalty
Customer service has become more important than ever to businesses, as it plays a critical role in their success. While the original purpose of customer service was to provide quick assistance to customers, this is no longer the case. The goal of customer service is to create a lasting relationship with each consumer who interacts with a brand by offering rich interactions. To achieve this, companies will need to:
- Place customer service at the center of the organization
Customer service is the main point of contact that consumers have with a brand. This means that advisors are the primary contact for customers. They are the only people in the company who have such a global knowledge of customers, their expectations, their frustrations, etc. It is therefore essential to link customer service to the rest of the company and to encourage collaboration between the various departments. By promoting internal collaboration around customer success, companies will be able to improve the customer experience, strengthen customer loyalty and optimize business growth.
- Consider customer service as a true profit center
By capitalizing on customer service, companies can turn it into a true profit center. First, it allows them to retain customers, which costs much less than acquiring new ones. Secondly, advisors can identify recurring issues that are deemed negative by customers. They can then provide valuable information to the company to correct these blocking aspects. Agents will be able to focus on more important customer requests and possibly handle more cases. Finally, employees now accompany customers throughout their journey, from product discovery to purchase and post-purchase. They are thus able to develop sales. By detecting customer needs, they can identify sales opportunities, and even carry out up-selling or cross-selling.
For companies, it will therefore be essential to invest in this activity in 2023 if they want to stand out from competitors, attract new customers and retain customers in the long term.
Increase your customer engagement in 2023 with Apizee
In 2023, showing empathy, empowering customers, going beyond their expectations, building a close relationship with them and maximizing the employee experience will be key areas where companies will have to invest to optimize customer relations. The implementation of video communication technologies, such as video conferencing or visual assistance, can help you achieve your goals. At Apizee, we provide 100% web-based and secure solutions. If you are interested in integrating video into your business strategy, we would love to help you. Please contact us to learn more or to get a demo.