Why conversational support is now a must-have

Methodology:

Forrester conducted an online survey of 523 global customer support decision-makers with responsibility for strategy and technology purchasing decisions in EMEA and the United States. Survey respondents were managers or above and worked at organizations with 100 or more employees.

The pandemic has changed customer support for good—and it’s made messaging essential

Before the pandemic, support teams said messaging was their fifth-most-used channel, after agent-led calls, email, in-person support, and self-service calls. But now, customers turn to digital channels to resolve their issues, with messaging coming in second. Email is first, mobile apps third, agent-led phone calls fourth, and web-based live chat is fifth.

These changes in customer support will last past the pandemic

With COVID-19, 55% of support teams say customers now prefer digital channels. In addition, 49% are seeing more complex customer queries.

These shifts look like they’ll last—71% of teams said the pandemic will have a large or enormous long-term impact on customer support.

But most teams lack the tools to provide personalized support to all their customers

These changes mean companies will have to adapt quickly. 54% say they can’t reliably provide personalized customer support with their current tech stack.

Some of the biggest challenges for support teams? 58% can’t resolve customer issues in time. 51% have less bandwidth than ever before. And 50% waste time jumping between different tools.

What is conversational support?

Conversational support is the way to resolve customer questions through a digital-first, messaging-based interaction. This means that customers and agents can be connected in real time or asynchronously, and customers can stop and restart the conversation when it’s convenient—without ever losing context.

That's why companies say conversational support will help them stay competitive

Since the pandemic, companies report that their customers now expect personalized support to be available on any device, right when they need it.

That’s why 71% say they need conversational support to stay competitive. When asked about the benefits of conversational support, support leaders reported higher customer retention (60%), better business efficiencies (58%), and more customer satisfaction (58%).

So Forrester recommends that support teams start adapting now:

Personalized, messenger-based support is critical to stay competitive. See why—and how—world-leading companies are moving to conversational support.