In an age where customers have more choice and autonomy than ever, it’s no surprise the importance of exceptional customer service is at an all-time high. Customer experience can make or break a business, and brands that nail their approach in this area stand to benefit from an enviable market share backed by a strong customer base.

According to Zendesk's 2021 Customer Experience Trends Report, 77% of customers are more loyal to businesses that offer excellent service. And this trend is growing: half of all consumers say experience is more important in 2021 than it was just a year ago.

So, what trends are in store for this year and which customer service skills does it take to get ahead as a candidate?

The digital experience is critical

Although the shift to digital has been happening for some time now, the pandemic has accelerated the need for businesses to transform their online customer experience.

According to Zendesk, three-quarters of business leaders agree that COVID-19 has compressed the timeline for investing in new technologies to reach customers and connect distributed customer service teams.

To that end, innovative solutions and technologies are no longer reserved for digital teams, but for all levels of customer service.

Likewise, more companies are introducing technologies that help them improve the customer experience by:

  • Offering more customer service channels

  • Improving security

  • Enabling better collaboration internally

  • Making data-driven decisions

  • Automating workflows

  • AI plays a more important role

    A growing number of businesses are using AI-driven chatbots to automate their online customer service strategy. These AI tools use algorithms to recognise and respond to common customer questions. Additionally, they can perform basic service tasks like offering price estimates and directing customers to relevant FAQ resources.

    Although AI chatbots are increasing in popularity, they’re not designed to entirely replace the need for human interaction. With this in mind, it’s expected that leading businesses will utilise AI chatbots to provide cost-effective, real-time support, while maintaining human customer service support personnel with the skills to provide more in-depth and personalised service.

    Customers take matters into their own hands

    Self-service is rapidly becoming the preferred method for customer service, with 81% of consumers saying they prefer to try and answer questions and solve problems themselves before reaching out to service teams.

    Consequently, many businesses are leveraging this trend by building a knowledgebase of resources, such as FAQs and troubleshooting guides, that customers can use to find answers themselves.

    Self-service options not only provide more flexibility for the customer, but also save time for businesses. In turn, customer service representatives can shift their focus from simple issue resolution to relationship-building and identifying opportunities for innovation.

    Skilled customer service professionals are in demand

    While customer service has historically been viewed as an entry-level skillset, there are growing opportunities for customer service professionals at every level as businesses rely more heavily on technology to carry out basic tasks.

    Across the B2B and B2C landscape, businesses are seeking customer service candidates with a breadth of skills, including:

    • Experience working with digital solutions and technologies

  • Product and technical knowledge

  • Innovative thinking

  • Empathy

  • Decision-making

  • If you’re looking to explore a new customer service role, browse our latest customer service jobs or get in touch with us at Page Personnel to discuss current opportunities in the industry.

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