Help Your Business Modernize With NLP: One of the Top Customer Service Trends in 2021
In today’s digitalized age, customer’s expectations are higher than ever before. Modern consumers consider a company’s level of service to be a crucial factor in their decision when choosing a certain brand over its competition. In fact, about 90% of American consumers use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to do business with a company and nearly 60% of them are willing to switch brands because of poor customer service.
Taking all this into consideration, enterprises cannot afford to neglect customer service. If you want to keep your customers happy, you need to stay on top of the latest customer service trends and understand how to incorporate them into your customer service strategy in order to modernize your business and continue delighting your customers.
Customer Service Trends to Look Out For in 2021
Here are the top 5 customer service trends to look out for in 2021:
- Omnichannel Support
Today’s customers are tech-savvy and expect seamless interactions, regardless of the channel or the device they’re using. More than ten years ago, there were only a couple of ways to get in touch with a company representative - by phone, regular mail, and maybe fax. Today, customers can choose from a long list of communication channels: email, phone, social media, live chat, SMS.
This has led to an increase in omnichannel support systems, where service representatives are prepared to answer customer questions and resolve issues regardless of where the interaction takes place. Omnichannel customer service integrates email, social, email, instant messaging, and text in order to provide a unified brand experience, allowing customers to switch between multiple channels and still experience the same quality of service.
According to the Aberdeen Group, brands with strong omnichannel customer engagement tend to retain nearly 90% of their customers, compared to only about 30% for businesses with a weak omnichannel approach.
- Social Media Customer Service
Businesses no longer use social media solely for promotion and ads. Instead, they embrace it as a means to connect with customers and provide even better customer service.
According to HubSpot, nearly 55% of customers prefer social media for customer service over email or phone, and 80% of them use social networks to engage with brands. With the global use of social media continuing to rise, customers expect to be able to ask you questions, post reviews, and resolve their issues via your social media profiles.
From a business’s point of view, social media is a great customer service tool as it saves time and money while at the same time allowing you to reach a much wider audience compared to traditional methods. Social media is very convenient for customers and it allows for quick contact with your company’s customer service department. Thanks to the ability to speak directly with your brand, your customers will feel “closer” to you and therefore can emotionally connect and commit to your brand.
- Customer Self-Service
Customers love self-service; in fact, more than 80% of them will try to solve an issue by themselves before reaching out to a company representative. Customer self-service empowers customers to find different types of support content on their own without the need to speak with a service representative.
For your business, this means that customer service reps will spend less time troubleshooting simple and repetitive issues and will be able to focus on solving broader, more complex ones.
If you’re thinking about getting on board with this customer service trend, consider adding a FAQ page to your site at the very least. Ideally, you should build a knowledge base, i.e. a collection of resources, such as troubleshooting instructions, how-to guides, FAQs, and articles that will help customers resolve their issues.
- Video and Streaming
Video is a highly effective means of communication because it helps convey complex information quickly and effectively. Brands are starting to take advantage of video as a customer service tool, with “how-to” videos being the most common example.
Consider offering webinars, video courses, Q&A live streams, and/or embedded videos in emails as a supplement or alternative to email or phone support.
- Remote Customer Service Agents
It’s no surprise that given recent events, companies now have more reasons to go remote. Forward-thinking companies such as American Airlines and American Express are increasingly turning to hiring at-home customer service agents.
This shift has been largely fueled by the advent of new cloud-based technologies that allow agents to work from their current location. In addition, these companies are benefiting from improved service quality, reduced operating costs, and enhanced customer satisfaction without compromising the quality of service.
Using NLP to Support Enterprise Customer Service Representative
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a type of machine learning that understands the words, phrases, sentence structures, and context of customer support queries. This AI subset is capable of interpreting and analyzing customers’ verbal statements and providing replies to those statements - all without human intervention. So, does this mean that humans are to become redundant?
When it comes to customer service, some companies might not be comfortable with the idea of replacing human conversations with interactions powered by artificial intelligence. However, customer service bots aren’t about eliminating human agents; they are meant to support them by being deployed in specific scenarios.
Customers will always want to know that they’re able to reach a real person and some issues can definitely benefit from human touch. However, there is a large category of customer questions that don’t require the complexity of human response. In these cases, AI-powered systems can offer a faster solution and save agents valuable time. In fact, bots can take over answering up to 80% of this type of routine inquiries.
NLP can also assist salespeople in predicting customers’ buying preferences for their products or services. Consumers use different words, phrases, and sentences at different stages of the buying cycle. For instance, in the early stages, they tend to use interrogative words like “what” and “who”, whereas, in the later stages, they use verbs like, “guarantee” and “purchase”. NLP can process customer communications and determine whether prospects are really interested in a product or service and if they are ready to make a purchase.
NLP technology can also be used to gauge customer satisfaction levels. By using sentiment analysis, NLP is able to process text contained in customer social media posts, reviews, testimonials, emails, surveys, etc., and classify phrases and keywords according to whether they infer a positive or negative sentiment. This information is automatically inputted into a CRM system for sales reps to monitor the overall levels of customer satisfaction. It can, for instance, prompt a sales rep to reach out to an unsatisfied customer and try to remedy the situation.
The bottom line is, automating the customer support process will not only make for happier customers, but also for happier employees.
Enterprise Software Trends: Newest NLP Trends
One thing is for sure: NLP is only going to continue growing in 2021.
This year enterprises will continue to automate simpler customer service tasks in order to be able to handle greater volumes of customer questions quickly and efficiently. For instance, by integrating NLP technology with help desk software, tedious tasks such as tagging and routing customer support tickets can be automated, allowing customer service reps to focus on more important tasks.
Another NPL trend to look out for in 2021 is multilingual offerings. Until recently, NLP support was limited to several languages, with its main focus being on the English language. However, as companies like Google and Facebook are partnering with NLP providers, multilingual models are being gradually introduced.
Finally, sentiment analysis will play an important role in how enterprises monitor their social media. Using NLP technology like the Y Meadows’ software will enable companies to get insights into how consumers feel about their brand or products in real-time, detect and reply to negative comments, locate opportunities for improvement, and gain a competitive advantage.
Customer service is an ever-evolving sector that develops in response to changes in consumer demand and technological advancements. Today, consumers have a great number of choices and will take your customer service as a vital factor when deciding whether to do business with you. Staying on top of popular customer service trends will help modernize your business and set yourself apart from your competition.
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