The economic success of ecommerce business has fluctuated wildly in the past year, as the tail end of a high-spending 2021 gave way to an inflation-afflicted 2022 that saw slower growth. Consumers are now more informed by research, want hands-on service, and demand personalized experiences. This trifecta has led to higher shopper expectations that will define customer service trends in 2023. Here are four to look out for.
Trend #1: The Expectation Economy Informing Support Centers
Customers want more from brands, particularly younger shoppers. One study showed that 44% of Gen Z and 43% of millennial shoppers had to make an extra effort than expected to complete a simple interaction. This statistic indicates how much more younger generations expect from digital experiences than older generations.
It also exemplifies the expectation economy, a term referring to the rapidly evolving expectations customers have of their favorite brands. The expectation economy will continue to influence trends in customer service and operational standards in 2023 and beyond. Your customer service needs to embrace personalization, ensuring your agents are fully versed on your catalog and even prepared to offer recommendations and upsell curious shoppers.
Gladly pro tip: The best way to make customers feel listened to is by replacing your outdated ticketed support system with one that’s conversation-driven. According to the 2022 Customer Expectations Report, 73% of consumers want to be treated like a person, not a case number.
2022 Customer Expectations Report
Trend #2: Retailers Bridging Physical and Digital Experiences
Customer service trends in 2023 will be driven by shoppers continuing to return to physical stores in droves. A Mastercard report found that in May 2022, online sales saw 2.2% yearly growth compared to May 2021, but in-person shopping rocketed up 13.4%.
Even so, the convenience shoppers experienced more through increased ecommerce use has not abated. Now, brands with online and brick-and-mortar presences need to be sure the two settings are cohesive. By creating a holistic experience that avoids data loss and communication breaks, the customer feels no friction moving from one to another.
Gladly pro tip: Knowing a customer’s shopping history is key to reducing inconsistencies across physical and digital experiences. Give your agents the tools to immediately call on shopper data so they can process orders, returns, and requests smoothly.
Trend #3: Customers Embracing Automation
In keeping with their higher expectations, customers want a support system that’s easy to use and gives a fast solution. On the surface, the answer seems to be automation that impresses customers, but, at the end of the day, the human element is essential to delivering an optimal experience. To leverage technology while building loyalty, brands need automation that can help customers tackle basic problems while maintaining the personalization that shoppers love.
Automation brand example: Godiva
Godiva is a great example of upgrading impersonal automation. The chocolate company added chat features across their digital experiences, while incorporating automated routing to drive customers quickly to the solution or to the right agent to help them. Customers felt the personal touch without feeling breaks in the experience, helping them quickly solve many of their problems. On the support side, agent productivity shot up 8x, allowing them to provide superior experiences across the board.
Gladly pro tip: When automation and personalization meet, customers and agents are both happy. Try incorporating a tool like People Match, which rapidly interprets a customer’s needs to send them directly to the agent best suited to tackle the issue.
Trend #4: Understanding Total Experience
Customer experience exemplifies how ecommerce brands build their catalogs, support centers, and marketing campaigns. But now, brands are starting to enhance internal strategies through a total experience framework.
Total experience, or TX, interlinks the ways customer experience, user experience, and employee experience play out across channels and devices. In looking at these experiences more holistically, particularly how they impact each other, companies are finding methods to improve their brands and yield better outcomes for customers.
Gladly pro tip: With quiet quitting becoming commonplace, particularly in stressful work environments like support centers, keeping agents happy and showing appreciation for your customer service team should be a top priority. Investing in agent satisfaction cultivates a workplace in which people feel like they play a positive role in growing and nurturing your brand. In other words, the happier support agents are, the better service they give.
You can make their jobs more fulfilling with tools that help them manage their own tasks with far greater autonomy. The positive effects on employee experience will increase overall total experience, particularly how your shoppers feel your brand treats them.
Tackling Customer Service Trends in 2023 With Confidence
Considering the impacts that customer service trends in 2023 will have on ecommerce, brands need to shore up their support centers now to prepare.
With a support platform like Gladly, your ecommerce brand has a comprehensive and radically personal set of tools to set you apart in the coming year. Accessible interfaces help agents provide more streamlined and hands-on service that deepens customer relationships.
See how your CX stacks up compared to your peers