When you picture modern customer service, what comes to mind?
If it’s waiting on hold to talk to a support rep, you’ve got some catching up to do.
Customer service technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, benefiting customers, agents, and businesses alike.
What are the biggest customer service technology trends? This article explores the top developments you need to be aware of for 2024 and beyond.
What is customer service technology?
Customer service technology describes the various tools and software that aid companies in managing their interactions with customers effectively and efficiently. These include diverse platforms that are both customer- and agent-facing.
- Live chat solutions
- AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants
- Interactive voice response (IVR) systems
- Automated ticketing systems
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
- AI-powered workflows and automations
Customer service technology is all about making it easier for service leaders to provide enhanced customer satisfaction. By automating many standard processes, these tools optimize resources and save time for customer service agents and customers alike.
Top 10 customer service technology trends for 2024
Advanced solutions are reshaping how customer support is done. Here are the top 10 trends impacting the customer service industry.
1. Self-service options are a must
Customer service technologies have evolved to the point that self-service technologies are no longer viewed as nice add-ons — they’re essential to providing a good customer experience.
81% of customers try to resolve their concerns themselves before contacting a customer service rep, and more shoppers are expecting the ability to handle their own cases via a self-service portal.
Offering self-service options can come in a variety of different forms. Resources like a knowledge base — complete with articles, whitepapers, how-to guides, and tutorials — are a relatively easy way to offer customers the most vital information concerning your products, policies, and services.
Looking for something more informal? Launching a community forum is another great way for customers to connect, share knowledge, and help one another.
On the more technical side, chatbots or IVR solutions are two ways to offer advanced self-service capabilities. They can answer questions instantly or direct customers to the right resources for their specific needs.
As customer service technology drives more shoppers away from traditional support channels like phone or email, it’ll only become more important for businesses to have a robust knowledge management system and self-service options available.
2. AI-powered virtual assistants are helping teams further maximize efficiency
In customer service, artificial intelligence (AI) solutions are able to streamline operations, solve complex issues, and learn from past experiences to optimize future interactions. In fact, chatbots are the most popular use case for AI in customer service today.
AI chatbots are more effective than older tools because they don’t rely on keywords or limited menus to answer customer inquiries. Thanks to natural language processing (NLP), they’re able to understand human language in a meaningful way, deciphering live chat conversations, emails, customer feedback, and more.
These AI-powered assistants can instantly handle high volumes of customer interactions without getting overworked. They remove low-value tickets from support queues and collect key customer data, resulting in faster resolutions. In many cases, bots can fully resolve questions with no human intervention needed.
AI tools are even getting better at detecting the underlying emotional tones of messages and identifying things like customer sentiment and buying intent.
3. Generative AI chatbots are bringing businesses more creativity — without giving up control
AI is helping customers find answers faster, but the generative AI revolution is what’s really pushing the limits of what’s possible with the latest customer service technology.
With a generative AI chatbot, support teams can deliver natural, engaging responses that are always on-point and on-brand. Companies can answer product-related questions, clear up issues at checkout, and update shoppers post-purchase with fully personalized automated responses.
And leading generative AI solutions are letting businesses offer this level of customization without sacrificing any control. Advanced guardrails prevent hallucinations and ensure chatbots deliver unique, human-like responses that are consistent with your knowledge base.
How? Businesses train their chatbot to understand which topics require a scripted answer and which allow for more creative AI-generated responses. They can also direct their bot to only pull from specific sections of their knowledge base when using generative AI.
For example, if a customer asks about returns, a generative AI chatbot will know to only use information from the returns section of a company’s FAQ page to generate its own answers.
4. Software is transforming customer service into a revenue center
On top of cost savings, customer service technology is getting better at enabling support teams to generate revenue on their own.
Automation tools can identify opportunities and launch workflows to cross-sell and upsell relevant products that buyers are most likely to add to their shopping carts. They’re also able to track behavioral data in real time to detect buying intent and proactively start chats based on a shopper’s needs.
Once the conversation has begun, the platform can notify product experts to guide customers through checkout if needed, helping support agents drive more sales.
Today’s tech offers customer service teams a 360-degree view of shoppers. All relevant customer and product data is displayed on a single dashboard, helping reps identify sales opportunities and deliver the perfect item.
Agent provide a personalized experience every time, making it easier for them to convince more shoppers to convert and boost customer retention.
5. Businesses want out-of-the-box solutions with built-in integrations
In the past, businesses often overpaid for limited functionality and lacked the ability to tailor solutions to their needs. To come out on top today, solutions can’t just be robust — they’ve got to be fully configurable as well.
That’s why more companies are looking for out-of-the-box solutions that can seamlessly integrate with other software they’re using. By plugging new customer service tools into your existing tech stack, support teams will be able to handle their tasks within one central inbox.
When linked to the right tools, solutions like chatbots can boost their capabilities. For instance, they’ll be able to deliver shipping updates, cancel or modify orders when needed, and use customer info for more personalized experiences.
Frictionless integrations allow tools to get up and running at lightning speed and perform at an elevated level.
6. Omnichannel service is a leading customer concern
Any piece of customer service technology that’s worth using must have omnichannel capabilities.
Omnichannel tools help support teams provide a unified customer experience across various touchpoints, including digital channels like live chat, email, social media, or mobile apps.
For example, let’s say a customer asks a question about shipping discounts over social media and then switches over to live chat to continue the conversation. An omnichannel system ensures agents don’t lose any essential context during this transition across multiple channels and can readily observe all prior interactions on the matter at hand.
Omnichannel customer service is all about consistency — a user can shift from one channel to another without any disruption to their conversation. And customers are increasingly demanding interactions offered via an uninterrupted flow across whatever channels they’re using.
If businesses want to meet customer expectations and foster stronger relationships with shoppers, omnichannel solutions are the only path forward.
7. Multilingual support is easier to offer
In the past, customer service teams required one team — and one tool — for each geographic market. Today’s solutions help businesses cross borders and serve international markets — without hiring — by coming with fully multilingual capabilities.
AI software is getting better at detecting languages customers use and crafting its own real-time translations. Chatbots can converse with shoppers in their preferred language, and agents can have all incoming and outgoing messages translated in a single click.
Modern platforms let businesses interact with customers in up to 175 languages, giving them a truly global reach.
And this multilingual customer service technology makes scaling much more attainable. With no need to hire local agents in each market, even the smallest companies can cut through language barriers and expand more quickly.
8. Customer service is becoming increasingly data-driven
The customer service technology landscape has never been more crowded. To really stand out, tools need to quantify the impact they’re having on businesses with a comprehensive data analysis. That’s why more platforms include features to track customer support metrics and showcase a given solution’s overall business impact.
It’s vital for tools to monitor and present KPIs like response times, resolution rates, and satisfaction scores. They should even present metrics over time to highlight how much performance has improved or worsened.
Leading solutions also promote better-informed decisions by supplying insights into the effectiveness of specific automations and workflows. Businesses see where they’re succeeding and where improvements are needed and can act accordingly.
These self-improvement capabilities provide opportunities to enhance existing processes and bolster efficiency over time.
9. Businesses can leverage customer feedback more effectively
One treasure trove of data that modern tools enable companies to tap into is customer feedback. AI-powered tech can ask customers to share their thoughts, analyze their input, and recommend future actions.
By collecting metrics like customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) and net promoter scores (NPS) through post-chat surveys, customer service platforms can gauge how happy customers are and why they might be dissatisfied.
Equipping support reps with this data empowers them to offer care that’s tailored to address each shopper’s unique issue. Agents see what’s frustrating customers most and can offer more efficient service in turn. By anticipating these pain points, more serious cases can be prevented altogether.
10. Tools are anticipating and addressing seasonal spikes
For many businesses, customer service teams are pushed to the brink when their peak season approaches. Without knowing just how high ticket volume can rise during these times, adequately handling customer questions during periods like Black Friday can often lead to serious headaches.
Modern customer service technology is making it much simpler to deliver excellent peak-season support. It starts with using historic data to anticipate how many tickets teams will get and what kind of questions customers will be asking.
Next, teams can set up robust automation tools to address their most repetitive questions, letting customer service leaders reduce the number of new agents they need to hire.
With advanced software at their disposal, businesses can better handle the pressure their peak season brings — and reap more of its rewards.
Explore how AI is helping businesses deliver exceptional customer service during their busiest periods in our webinar, How to Prepare Your Customer Service Team Ahead of Your Peak Season.
The benefits of customer service technology
The advantages that come with incorporating advanced customer service technology into any business model are numerous, promising substantial improvements across multiple key performance indicators (KPIs) of customer success.
Let’s dive into three of the top benefits: improved efficiency, enhanced customer satisfaction, and cost reduction leading to revenue generation.
1. Improved efficiency
Integrating high-tech solutions in the field of customer support significantly enhances a team’s level of efficiency. With the aid of these tools, businesses can streamline their support process while achieving a higher operational output. Tools can handle the brunt of the work, and agents can be more productive as unnecessary repetitive tasks are minimized.
Take AI-powered chatbots, for instance. They serve as a support organization’s frontline for addressing basic inquiries. By handling common issues round-the-clock — and even resolving multiple cases simultaneously — they can drastically cut down on response times.
The bulk of customers get instant replies, and human agents have more breathing room to deliver faster answers to customers who need their assistance.
This increase in agent productivity isn’t just something that’s felt internally — 74% of customers believe technology like AI is making customer service more efficient.
And this uptick in efficiency can be felt down the road as well. Customer service solutions track customer data across a variety of touchpoints, making it easier for teams to take data-driven measures. With all key information readily at hand, decision-making improves over time and elevates efficiency in the long term.
2. Enhanced customer satisfaction
Customer service technology can have a major impact on customer satisfaction.
By delivering personalized interactions tailored precisely to individual user preferences, customer service software actively promotes greater levels of customer engagement.
This technology can upgrade practically any part of the customer experience to produce genuinely happy customers.
For instance, predictive analysis lets support teams anticipate customer needs before an issue ever gets brought up. With automated ticket routing, customers aren’t transferred to a random human agent — they’re brought to a specialized expert who can offer guidance on their unique case.
By employing predictive algorithms, it's easier than ever before to anticipate customer needs — even before an issue comes to the surface.
Distressed late-night calls become courteous check-ins. Hailing a random support person makes way for specialized expert guidance. Deep frustrations are completely avoided, evolving into smooth service experiences.
Such exemplary performances organically nurture deeper bonds between businesses and shoppers, cultivating customer loyalty and satisfaction along the way.
3. Cost reduction
Adding well-crafted tools to your arsenal doesn't just elevate your customer service — it also curbs financial leaks. Resources spared from exhaustive manual labor can be better put toward tasks that demand more creative and strategic input.
For instance, self-service options — such as FAQs or user forums — allow customers to solve problems independently, reducing pressure on live support channels and driving down costs.
Additionally, automated workflows reduce the likelihood of errors making their way into your business procedures. As a result, fewer resources are spent on damage control.
Find the right customer service technology
Customer support is no longer just about calling some far-off contact center. To succeed today, customer experience leaders know you’ve got to go digital.
2024 is set to be the year that customer service and technology become fully intertwined, and businesses that aren’t taking advantage of the right tools are bound to fall behind.
Zowie is the generative AI chatbot built for ecommerce brands looking to reduce costs and unlock hidden revenue.