What are the top customer support trends for 2022?
With the era of the digital native hastening massive changes in customer support, we focus on the trends that can make or break your business.
08 November
7 min read

The internet reshaped trade and commerce worldwide in just three decades. And now, post-pandemic, the era of the digital native is hastening massive changes in customer support.

As of January 2021, more than half the world’s population was online. Global internet traffic was up anywhere from 20% to 70%. We’re talking 4.66 billion active users worldwide. So, it’s no surprise almost every business is active online.

The internet is a lively place, with cell phones, tablets, and laptops dinging away on chats and social media. With everybody online all the time, it should be easy for customers to get in touch.

Great customer service is important: it improves customer satisfaction by up to 32%, retention by up to 33%, and revenue by as much as 42%. A whopping 93% of customers even state they would rather purchase from companies with excellent customer service.

These are hardly the kind of figures you’d blink and miss.

More than ever, your company’s success depends on its customer service.

Ah ah ah ah – Stayin’ agile

With oodles of choice, access, and knowledge on where to take their business, 68% of consumers say COVID-19 has changed how they interact with companies.

People now expect faster, self-service resolutions.

To survive in this rapidly changing environment, your company must stay agile and adapt.

Let’s talk about artificial intelligence

AI already covers a range of functions. From gathering basic information and pre-filling fields to handling routine customer issues (tracking orders and re-setting passwords, for example).

Machine learning can take the pressure off, while also mining data for deeper insights into consumer behaviour. Indeed, according to Gartner, AI will handle 70% of customer interactions by 2022. This is important because consumers now increasingly expect access to on-demand messaging services.

More than 80% of service decision-makers say their company’s customer service must transform to stay competitive. The rush to automate is on, with 71% of companies agreeing that automation helps them to remain agile, with 64% of IT decision-makers projected to invest in automation technology.

Chatting with chatbots

For handling common requests quickly and smoothly, chatbots and customers make a great pair.

The more Natural Language Processing chatbots have, the more personalised — and therefore better — the customer experience. (Think C3PO from Star Wars with the problem-solving capacity of Johnny Sokko’s giant robot.)

Why drown in endless FAQs when a bot can easily pull up necessary information?

Delegating the simpler queries to bots empowers human agents to provide quality support on more complex queries.

CNBC predicts that 75-90% of queries will be handled by bots in 2022.

But there are downsides to chatting with chatbots:

  • 46% of respondents felt the bots were meant to keep them away from a live agent
  • 54% of respondents preferred a live agent, even if a chatbot would save them 10 minutes
  • And 86% of users say chatbots should always have an option to transfer to a live agent

Proactive customer service

If reactive customer service is shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted, proactive service is ensuring the barn is warm and the stable hand alert.

Basically, proactive service matters.

80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. You should take proactive steps to resolve issues before they occur and be ready for queries before they come in.

The effort is worth it.

Customer support statistics show that loyal customers are 5 times more likely to make a repeat purchase and 4 times more likely to make a brand referral.

How to be more proactive

Being proactive is easy when you know how:

  • Know your customers and let them know that you have their backs
  • Remind them of upcoming payments or invoices
  • Share details about sales and special events
  • Inform them of anticipated problems
  • Create a knowledge base/FAQ offering self-service solutions
  • Provide forums or portals where they can get support quickly

Thanks to modern tech, there are a bunch of tools to help you crunch the data and stay one step ahead.

Content-driven experiences

In a hyper-connected world, brands that skillfully leverage content enjoy enhanced customer loyalty. Nike, for example, is no longer just a shoe company. It’s a brand that inspires a way of life, creating long-lasting emotional relationships with its consumer audience.

Marketing has to connect.

Be it through campaigns or social media, engineering your customer’s journey matters. Analytics, such as customer intelligence, user profiling, and behavioural analysis all help deliver a personalised customer experience.

One way to connect is through great content.

95% of B2B customers viewed content as a marker of trust when evaluating a business. No one knows your brand better than you do. When you offer people a valuable ecosystem, you create a bridge that connects the company with its customers.

How social are you on social media?

Social media may have started as a way to keep friends and family up to date on our lives, but it’s evolved into a powerful business tool. 9 out of 10 consumers want to use social media messaging to communicate with brands.

The top three messaging apps by number of users are:

  1. WhatsApp at 2 billion
  2. Facebook Messenger at 1.3 billion
  3. WeChat at 1.12 billion users.

Are your customers able to reach you on the platforms they inhabit? If not, why not?

Omnichannel support is rising in demand. Among those who tweeted a company and got a response, 83% said they felt better about the company and were more likely to do business with it.

But being on social media doesn’t mean bombarding people with ads or promotional emails. You should use it to find prospects, build brand awareness, and nurture relationships with prospective customers.

You can do this by being authentic. Share your brand personality online by engaging with customers’ posts through likes or comments, and encouraging your existing customers to follow your social channels.

3.2 billion people use social media. That’s 40% of the world’s population. To not reach them where they hang out would be a massive oversight.

Going remote

One positive thing the pandemic did, was turn remote working into the new normal.

With face-to-face customer support in decline, more companies are opting for remote customer support. After all, these jobs can be done from virtually anywhere.

With all the savings in ops and location costs a remote workforce provides, it’s hardly surprising that 35% of contact centre leaders say their setups will be mostly WFH.

And technology is certainly keeping up, with VoIP systems, live chat software, video consultation, SMS messaging, and asynchronous messaging stepping up to meet the demand.

This shift can also help meet consumer expectations of real-time, 24×7 support, with service staff employed in suitable time zones around the globe. Geographical borders are no longer obstacles. And there’s also the undeniable benefit of offering nuanced assistance with multilingual customer support.

The human touch

While automation will take the lead in 2022, access to human support channels will remain essential.

70% of the buying experience is based on how the customer feels they’re being treated. And currently, 45% of consumers feel automated systems don’t understand their core issues.

Humans shine wherever tech falls short, providing emotional intelligence and empathy.

AI may be a quick tool for simple support needs, but the human connection will always be at the heart of great customer support.