Forrester’s 2017 Customer Service Trends

Exceptional customer experiences have become the norm—these days customers expect seamless, helpful, and deeply personal service. In order to improve operations and deliver excellent customer service, businesses are taking on a customer-centric and technologically driven approach.

However, as self-service and digital interactions increase, it’s important for businesses to continue to build good customer relationships and foster lasting emotional connections.

Forrester’s report, 2017 Customer Service Trends: Operations Become Smarter and More Strategic (January 27, 2017), summarizes the top 10 customer service trends of 2017 that can help your business deliver excellent, human-centric customer service and, as a result, build customer loyalty, lifetime value, and advocacy—all of which positively affect top-line revenue.

Access your complimentary copy of Forrester’s 2017 Customer Service Trends:
Operations Become Smarter and More Strategic.

Meeting Multichannel Customer Service Expectations

On-Demand with Billy Hamilton-Stent & Josh Frank

The days of businesses providing a single channel of support communication are gone and unlikely to return. Now, it's more likely they'll be trying to strike a balance between what customers are looking for—the warmth of human communication and the speed and efficiency of automated service.

This webinar, based on the findings of a recent survey conducted by Loudhouse and commissioned by Zendesk, illustrates this important and perplexing challenge faced by all companies.

We'll be discussing four key trends that the survey highlighted:

• Multi-channel customers are less patient and expect more than 3 years ago
• Multi-channel use had increased considerably in 3 years, with more
  diverse channels available to customers
• Customers are developing distinct expectations for each support channel
• Higher expectations are balanced by a more relaxed approach to sharing
  diverse channels available to customers
• Customers personal information—but only if doing so improves service

Billy Hamilton is the founder of Octopus group. His role consists of strategic planning, audience insight and brand development. Billy’s experience ranges from marketing communications to research, strategic planning and business development for B2B brands.

How to Keep Your Customers Coming Back

Think about your best relationships. Chances are, there’s a great deal of trust between the two parties, and there’s not a lot of ongoing drama involved. Very few relationships are totally drama-free, but if you’ve built up enough trust, you can usually get through the bumps and even come out stronger on the other end.

The relationship between a business and its customers is no different. To succeed long-term, companies must build trust with their customers and make their experiences as effortless as possible (no drama!).

It’s not quick or easy, but when you achieve both, your business is repaid with long-term customer loyalty. And when something inevitably does go awry, you’re more likely to get through it without losing the customer.

Creating an effortless experience and building loyalty, however, is anything but effortless. It takes work—lots of it. To help set you on the right path, we teamed up with our friends at HubSpot on a new customer loyalty ebook: How to Keep Your Customers Coming Back.

Download this ebook to learn about:

  • Innovation. It all starts with offering innovative products and services and continually improving them over time.
  • Communication. Clear communication that accurately represents your brand builds trust, and that goes for every channel and interaction—from support reps answering the phones to your website writers.
  • Education. Customers increasingly prefer to learn about your products and services—and answer questions and solve problems—themselves.

  • From that foundation, the ebook goes on to outline ways to build an effortless experience that will help you improve customer retention and stickiness, all drama-free.

    By supplying your contact information, you authorize Zendesk and/or HubSpot to contact you with further information. You further authorize Zendesk to pass your information to HubSpot for these purposes.

C-TRON, the face of old school customer service

Innovating is tough, but working with outdated technology is even tougher. CommunicaTRON (tenderly known as C-TRON around our offices) is a throwback to what old school customer service looks—and sometimes feels—like. C-TRON represents the outdated customer service technologies that many businesses still rely on, like impersonal message automation services or disorganized email management systems (we can help with that!). Without a unified system for customer support, unnecessary fires (err, problems) can sometimes occur, frustrating everyone. No matter how great your customer service agents are, they can’t reach their maximum potential with outdated technology.

Context matters: Strategies for empowering agents with more information

You probably spend a great deal of time thinking about how to make customers happier. But what about your agents? Customers may only submit a ticket every once in awhile, but your agents are spending their day in Zendesk. By empowering your agents with more context about customers up-front, they'll become more successful support providers and you'll have eliminated painful back-and-forth exchanges that frustrate everyone involved.

Join us for this on-demand webinar with Zendesk Customer Success Executive Audrey Griffith, who will share expert advice for agent empowerment that she’s implemented with our top customers at Zendesk, including examples from Squarespace. Audrey is joined by Zendesk Apps Engineer Jeremiah Currier who will showcase new apps for delivering customer insights directly within open tickets. No matter how long you’ve been using Zendesk, this webinar is certain to surface quick wins for keeping your support team at the top of their game.

ICMI report: Uncover the Hidden Profits in Your Contact Center

This whitepaper provides actionable insights on how to effectively deliver value in four key areas and highlights where the opportunities for an organization to profit are hiding.

Our findings uncovered key contributing factors as to why today’s contact center struggles to identify, demonstrate, and defend their strategic value, return on investment and overall benefit to the organization. This whitepaper reveals the key components to becoming a profit center and provides concise instruction and actionable ideas for overcoming the barriers in their way. You’ll discover the dangers of neglecting valuable data points including forecast accuracy, customer retention, and voice of the customer feedback.

Lastly, receive best practices for measuring, managing, and reporting the most important insights leveraged by leading profit centers.

More of a visual person? Check out this infographic for a condensed version of some of the findings and recommendations from the report.

Forrester's Predictions 2016: The eCommerce Gap Widens

As anyone who’s ever developed or marketed a website knows, the Internet can be both a rewarding venue to do business and a challenging place to pursue a dream. For B2C retailers that are more mature in the commerce space, the Web is about stealing share from competitors. For B2B companies that are still fairly new to eCommerce, digital is not a channel but a goal to which they aspire.

2016 will be the year when both B2C and B2B companies have the opportunity to advance beyond their peers—or fall irretrievably behind.

New insights from Forrester Research delivers valuable information on how companies can win, serve, and retain customers. In this report from Forrester Research, Inc., analysts Andy Hoar, Sucharita Mulpuru, and Patti Freeman Evans, share how eBusiness professionals can succeed with mobile strategies, while offering up advice for customer-obsessed B2B organizations to effectively engage buyers across all key customer touch points.

Access your complimentary copy of Forrester’s Predictions 2016: The eCommerce Gap Widens (November 2015), and read top analysts’ recommendations on how best to address these areas:

  • Mobile becomes the primary computing device for many.
  • Digital assistants make a splash.
  • Self-service B2B eCommerce rivals full-service B2B commerce in importance.
  • Inside sales and customer service fill gaps created by internal B2B channel conflict.
  • B2B software vendors reposition eCommerce as "customer engagement".
  • B2B leaders still fail to accurately measure their omnichannel progress.

Forrester's Top 10 Customer Service Trends for 2016

In this January 2016 report from Forrester Research, Inc., analyst Kate Leggett states, "In the age of the customer, delivering differentiated customer service has become a strategic imperative".

Top 10 Customer Service Trends for 2016 summarizes the top trends in customer service that affect companies' ability to deliver effective customer service, deliver real value through service, and forge an emotional bond with customers.

Forrester Trends 2015

Access your complimentary copy to read Leggett's analysis and recommendations on the following 10 trends:

  • Trend 1: Companies Will Make Self-Service Easier
  • Trend 2: Field Service Will Empower Customers To Control Their Time
  • Trend 3: Companies Will Explore Emerging Channels To Reduce Friction
  • Trend 4: The Customer Service Technology Ecosystem Will Consolidate
  • Trend 5: Process Guidance Will Effectively Standardize Service Delivery
  • Trend 6: Prescriptive Advice Will Power Offers, Decisions, And Connections
  • Trend 7: Insights From Connected Devices Will Trigger Preemptive Service
  • Trend 8: Companies Will Explore Proactive Engagement
  • Trend 9: Organizations Will Strengthen The Customer Bond With Feedback
  • Trend 10: Empowered Agents Will Improve The Human-To-Human Experience

3 Insider Perspectives on Removing the Roadblocks to an Effortless Customer Experience

Consider the impact of every contact center agent having the knowledge, tools and ability to provide a flawless experience; think about the results that are possible when an organization perfectly aligns their mission, vision, and values with the needs and expectations of both their customers and their employees. Envision all of this being the case for your organization.

This is not an easy task for even the most sophisticated of organizations: The complexity of today’s contact center is at an all-time high with a future indicating more channels to manage, increased customer expectations to fulfill, and a need for a frontline workforce that is, by no means, “entry level”. This doesn’t mean providing an effortless customer experience is impossible, it just means that you need to be ready to handle whatever comes your way.

Want to know more? Check out this white paper from ICMI, sponsored by Zendesk and Genesys to learn how to remove roadblocks and create an effortless customer experience.

Forrester Brief: Focus On Three New Service Experiences To Thrive In The Age of The Digital Customer

How to win over digital customers? Help them help themselves.

According to Forrester Research's April 2015 Brief: Focus On Three New Service Experiences To Thrive In The Age Of The Digital Customer, a preference for self-service is one of the most notable traits of the new generation of digital customers. In fact, in 2014 more U.S. online consumers used Web self-service than any other customer service channel.

It’s not only Millennial customers who are demanding self-service options. Forrester found that the change in preferences spans across all age groups. The report states, “Forrester data shows burgeoning usage for essentially every service channel, including web self-service, mobile apps, peer-to-peer support in communities and virtual agents.”

In an age where consumers demand that brands know who they are and what they like, customer service can be no different—it must be intuitive, customized, and supported across multiple channels and customer demographics. Forrester offers recommendations for guiding a better customer service experience via:

  • Social customer service
  • Proactive notification
  • Embedded service
  • Agent-assisted service
  • Virtual agent-assisted service

Forrester's brief: Focus On Three New Service Experiences To Thrive In The Age Of The Digital Customer is no longer available for complimentary download. See below for more great insights from Forrester:

Forrester's Predictions 2016: The eCommerce Gap Widens 

Forrester's Top 10 Customer Service Trends for 2016 

Forrester Names Zendesk a 'Strong Performer' in Customer Service Solutions for Midsize Teams