The future. It can be a mysterious thing. If the past is any indication, our whole world can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that change has been happening at hyperspeed over the past two years, and these developments have made it clear that preparing now for the future of CX is essential for business success. With 79% of CX professionals believing the role of customer service to fuel business growth will become more important over the next three years, delivering an exceptional experience is more important than ever.
With changing times comes changing customer service channels. Just 15 years ago, the iPhone didn’t exist. Neither did Instagram. While phone support may never be eliminated entirely, younger generations prefer different ways of communicating, and that is reflected in the predictions for how channel preferences will change. We went out and surveyed over 100 CX professionals, and here’s how they thought the world of CX would change in the next three years.
Changing CX Channel Preferences
1. Live chat
2. Social media
Stay the Same
These channel predictions from CX professionals are reflected in consumer survey data as well. According to recent consumer research by Kustomer, younger generations continue to veer away from the phone as the top method of communication with brands, towards digital-first channels like text, live chat and social messaging. They also have a much higher appetite for self-service and chatbots than older generations, with 77% of consumers under 25 saying that they find chatbots to be helpful.
And just as new channels have emerged over the past fifteen years, so will new channels arise in the near future. Organizations are preparing for these shifts now, most commonly with live video support.
of organizations are preparing to be able to service customers via live video over the next three years.
of organizations are preparing to be able to service customers via virtual assistants (like Alexa or Siri) over the next three years.
of organizations are preparing to be able to service customers via virtual reality over the next three years.
What Lies Ahead for CX Organizations?
Now that we know which channels CX professionals predict will become essential in the next three years, what else do they think lies ahead? Here are their top predictions.
Most of our agents will work remotely 53%
We will use much more AI and automation 33%
We will predict most customer inquiries 25%
Customers will prefer to use self-service options for most inquiries 43%
We will only use agents for complex matters 26%
We will have a 360-degree view of the customer 24%
We will intelligently route customers to the most appropriate agent 36%
We will be able to service customers on any channels 33%
Our customer service organization will be aligned with other departments like sales, marketing and product 23%
Interestingly, the top predictions for CX organizations are wide ranging. Most obviously, it seems that the world of remote work is here to stay, with the top prediction being that agents will continue to work from home.
It’s important to ensure that the technology businesses have in place allows for collaboration between remote team members, so teams can pull in the necessary individuals to solve customer issues quickly. Leaders should also be able to manage their team with confidence, even if they can’t be beside them. Having a view into what agents are working on, and being able to intervene if necessary, is key to a successful remote CS team. And most importantly, any customer service platform leveraged by CX teams should be easily connected to by all of your agents with a basic internet connection and a standard browser.
CX professionals also predict that customers will prefer self-service options for most inquiries, which is in line with Kustomer’s recent consumer research. More than half of surveyed consumers (58%) reported that they prefer to solve customer service issues on their own versus talking to a company representative. Whether via an FAQ page or through a chatbot, talking to a human and dealing with the roadblocks that can often come with the process, seems to be falling out of style for basic inquiries. This only becomes more true when we break down the data by generation. When asked to rank the top three preferred customer service methods or channels, consumers under the age of 35 rank self-service among their top three. This means it will only become more important for businesses to invest in self-service tools as this generation ages, becoming the heads of the household and retaining their “help yourself” mentality.
Check out the full research report for a plethora of additional data on what the future holds for CX organizations.