Raising the bar: Revealing the 3 customer service trends to act on in 2022
It’s been another challenging year for many support teams. But there’s a silver lining – this year’s Klaus Customer Service Quality Benchmark Report reveals there are clear positive shifts taking place in the customer support landscape in 2022.
Klaus partnered with Intercom, Aircall, and Support Driven to create the second edition of the highly anticipated benchmark report. We surveyed almost 300 support leaders across a range of industries including software, finance, retail, and education to discover the key trends emerging in the customer support space.
The data is revealing: businesses are investing more in measuring the impact of their customer service. And that investment is paying dividends. This is a positive indicator that customer support is finally getting the credit it deserves as a core business value driver – a well-deserved development as support teams have played a critical role in retaining customers throughout the pandemic.
Of course, after another year of rapid change and mounting pressures, support teams are also facing big challenges – chief among them is maintaining quality support at scale. Savvy support teams are turning to modern technology such as proactive and self-serve support tools to provide one-to-one quality support to many. Below, we’ll explore the key trends and share tips on where to invest your resources.
Support teams are investing in data: And it’s paying dividends
You know how the saying goes: what gets measured gets improved. This year’s report reveals that support teams are measuring the impact of their customer support more than ever before. As Klaus’s Co-Founder and CEO Martin Kõiva puts it:
“Not only are the metrics associated with service quality increasing, but more and more teams have started to track these metrics.”
– Martin Kõiva, Co-Founder and CEO of Klaus
It’s not just the fact that support teams are measuring more that matters, it’s also what they’re tracking that paints a revealing picture. Support teams are keeping a close eye on numbers that directly impact the customer experience and key performance indicators (KPIs) that influence the bottom line. What’s more, the results are paying off.
“The average CSAT has increased 14% this year to 89%”
A significant 10% more teams now track Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) than last year. As a result of this laser focus, the average CSAT has increased by 14% this year to 89%.
What’s more, 48% of support teams report tracking Net Promoter Score (NPS) – an increase from last year’s 28%. NPS is a holistic metric used to track customer loyalty to a product or service so it’s an essential bottom-line metric that all customer-facing teams can band together and influence. Again as a result of increased focus, the average NPS across industries has increased this year from 45 to 51.
Of course, collecting this data is only the first step towards improving the quality of your support and ensuring your team gets a seat at the C-suite table of influence. It’s what you do with the data that counts.
Tips for making the most of your data
Track the right metrics and highlight the bottom-line impact
Measure the metrics that will most positively impact your customers, and therefore, your business’s bottom line. It’s essential to track metrics like customer satisfaction, customer retention, and NPS to understand the true impact of your customer support. Sharing this data and the story behind it is also key for increasing your team’s influence in your company. For example, send regular company-wide updates documenting how your team is contributing to increasing customer loyalty year-on-year.
Partner with sales and marketing to deliver true impact
Helping customers thrive and improving core customer metrics is everyone’s job in your company. Bring all of your customer-facing teams, such as customer support, customer success, marketing, and sales, together to create a cohesive strategy aimed at collectively improving key customer success metrics. Take it to the next level by adopting an all-in-one customer communications platform where all teams work together across one platform to support and engage your customers at every stage of the customer journey.
Learn, optimize, iterate
Support metrics on their own are just numbers on a dashboard. They only become meaningful when you dig deeper. So start looking for underlying trends and themes. Then, use those insights to identify how you can improve your customer support strategy and build longer lasting relationships with customers.
Maintaining quality support at scale is a top challenge
What’s the single biggest challenge customer support teams are facing this year? According to the report, it’s maintaining quality support at scale. There are a number of factors in the customer support landscape influencing this. Customers’ expectations are increasing but most businesses are still relying on outdated, disconnected technology and processes to meet their growing customer needs. This results in slow, impersonal support and a customer expectation gap.
“What may be possible to provide one-to-one is a challenge for many businesses to provide at internet scale”
What may be possible to provide one-to-one – fast, personal support – is a challenge for many businesses to provide at internet scale. But with the right foundations and modern technology, it’s entirely possible.
Tips for maintaining (and even enhancing) quality support at scale
Quality support starts with your team
Providing world-class customer support starts with fostering a great culture and high bar for your support team. It’s important to get everyone fully aligned on what quality means. After all, you can only scale the quality of support that your team already delivers. Investing in coaching your team to provide fast, empathetic support will pay off many times over, especially as you ramp up your efforts to scale quality support. Creating a quality assurance process and adopting a powerful tool (like Klaus ;)) is key.
Scale personal, empathetic support with first-party data
Today, one of the best ways to scale quality support is to gather first-party data about your customers such as the key actions they take in your product or or on your website, attributes on who they are, and information about what they need. Modern tools like chatbots and Surveys help you capture this data automatically and store it in your customer communications platform so your team can easily access it and use it to personalize all of their communications – whether they’re talking to customers one-to-one or sending personalized messages to thousands of customers. This personal touch can leave customers asking, “How do they know me so well?”
Aircall’s Team Lead of Frontline Support Shawn Carter offers solid advice:
“Centralize your customer support data so that every interaction a user has with your team is easily referenced by your agents as they are assisting that user, making their context on the customer and the relationship your team has with them immediately available.”
– Shawn Carter, Team Lead of Frontline Support at Aircall
Speed is of the essence
According to Forrester’s recent customer service trends report, 66% of consumers said that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with a quality online customer experience. Setting up personal automation means you’re valuing your customers’ time by getting them an answer as fast and as accurately as possible. This is where chatbots excel at being personal. They resolve simple, frequent queries like “How do I change my credit card details?” and “What are your US shipping times?” accurately, often instantly, and always at scale.
Proactive and self-serve support are more important than ever
The report reveals that reducing repetitive queries is one of the top three challenges support teams are facing, with 40% of support leaders highlighting it as a key concern.
“Customer support teams who have leaned into self-serve support are reaping the rewards”
Similar to last year, proactive and self-serve support are clearly a top priority for support teams with the majority of support teams planning to invest more in both areas to help reduce repetitive queries and help customers get the fast, accurate answers they need. A sizable 70% of companies plan to invest more in proactive customer support in 2022.
Customer support teams who have leaned into self-serve support are reaping the rewards – a sizable 73% of customer service professionals agree that investing in self-service options for customers has reduced their team’s workload.
Tips for optimizing proactive and self-serve support
Invest in growing your knowledge base so customers can self-serve
Empower your customers to help themselves by creating a robust catalog of knowledge base articles. Not only will you reduce repetitive queries, great help content compounds in value over time. The help content you create today will lay the foundations for supporting thousands, maybe even millions, of your customers for years to come. And the value is extended even further if you deliver help content in-context via chatbots and proactive messaging to help customers when and where they need it most – while they’re using your product or service.
Gain a helping hand from automation and chatbots
Lean on modern technology such as chatbots and automation to quickly and contextually resolve repetitive queries. For example, you can use a chatbot like Resolution Bot to answer customer queries in the Messenger before customers even finish typing. With a helping hand from automation, your support team can significantly reduce repetitive queries while scaling fast, personal support and keeping your customers happy.
“Don’t go it alone – get a helping hand from personalized automation in the form of targeted chatbots, contextual help content, personalized product tours, and more.”
– Bobby Stapleton, Director of Customer Support at Intercom
Get ahead of known issues with proactive support
Want to go pro? Take contextual, efficient support one step further and send targeted, proactive messages to customers while they’re using your product or service before they have questions, guiding them to take specific actions based on who they are and what they need most.
Gain a customer support edge in 2022
The support landscape is changing. Is your business ready to embrace that change and reap the rewards in 2022 and beyond? We hope these insights inspire you to adopt the right tools and strategies to elevate the customer support function within your business and build lifelong relationships with customers.
Want a deeper insight into this year’s trends and insights? Download the full report here.