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5 Customer Service Trends You Can’t Ignore This Year

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One topic I’m really, really ridiculously passionate about (and I don’t use that word lightly,) is customer service.

 

I tend to be very black and white about it. I’m either over-the-top blown away by a business’s service, or I’m annoyed that I wasn’t over-the-top blown away.

 

Not that I have super high standards. In fact, I think it’s the little things that make all the difference.

 

Like a warm, welcoming host when I enter a restaurant.

 

Like a follow-up call from the salon to check how I’m liking my new hair color.

 

Like a mini-fridge full of cold water bottles waiting for me when I arrive in my airbnb room. Sidenote: If you’re ever looking for somewhere to stay in Providence, RI, check this place out (and don’t let the wood paneling fool you, it’s wonderful!)

 

I relish little customer service touches like these and they take a business from “meh” to “mahhvelous, dahling” in my book.

 

So I took particular interest in the latest report by marketing group TrendWatching, as the report was all about customer service trends we can expect to see in 2015. Here are the key takeaways you can start implementing in your business (or you can read the full report here if you’re a customer service geek like me!):

 

1. PEOPLE FEEL FEELINGS ABOUT CUSTOMER SERVICE

 

They don’t just like it, they like-like it. 63% of people said they felt their heart rate increase when they thought about receiving great customer service. And 53% said receiving great service triggered the same cerebral reactions as feeling loved. This is a big deal, people, and it’s not about thoughts but about feelings.

 

2. WE’RE NOT INTO FORGIVENESS

 

In 2013, 66% of global consumers switched brands or businesses due to poor customer service. Of those who made the switch, 82%  said the brand could have done something to stop them. We want, and expect, more from brands, and we’ll just move on to the next one if you disappoint.

 

3. WE PREFER FACE-TO-FACE

 

Despite technology’s reputation for being cold and impersonal, video customer service is growing in popularity. Take the Amazon Mayday button on Amazon Kindle Fire and Fire Phone products – it instantly connects users to a customer service rep via webcam-enabled face time. 75% of customer service interactions from products with the Mayday feature now come via the button. We obviously like us some face time with service reps.

 

4. WE’RE INTO SHARING…IF IT BENEFITS US

 

That caveat is super important. We’re more open to sharing (36% of global consumers are willing to share their current location with retailers via GPS in 2014, almost double the figure from 2013) as long as we get something out of the deal. Look to my customer service crush Virgin as an example. Virgin Airlines has been equipping its staff with google glass, which they use to identify passengers, speed up check-in, and even note preferences like meal preferences. In 2015, businesses will step up their data collection in order enhance the customer experience.

 

AND ONE FINAL BITE OF FOOD FOR THOUGHT: REWARD GOOD CUSTOMER BEHAVIOR. 

 

La Petite Syrah cafe in France determines the prices of its drinks on how polite customers are. If you say “please” when you order, your latte might be $1, while being rude results in a $7 charge. At the MTS Music Festival in India, guests who threw away their trash into the bin were given a code for free wifi. You can complain that you shouldn’t have to reward customers for behaving well, (and I agree with you on that point,) or you can make the best of things and hop on the reinforcement train. I recommend option B.

 

over to you

This is a post where I am really looking forward to reading your responses! Tell me about a customer service experience, good or bad, that made an impression on you. What did the brand do to make you feel the way you did? If it was negative, what could they have done differently to win your favor?

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© Whitney Ryan LLC

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