By : D'Andre Davis-Taylor | February 13, 2023 | 10 min read

2023 Customer Service Trends: Key CX Insights from Ultimate 

Customer Service reps at their computers

As the customer experience (CX) landscape continues to evolve, businesses must stay ahead of the curve to meet customer demands and remain competitive. This is especially important in the current uncertain economic climate, where companies are prioritizing customer retention more than ever before. By retaining existing customers, businesses can maintain stability and promote growth. 

To help companies improve their customer experience, this blog will delve into Ultimate’s latest 2023 Customer Service Trends Report. We will explore key trends such as the growing importance of customer retention and the rise of AI-powered support. These trends signal a significant shift in the way companies’ approach CX and have the potential to unlock new opportunities for businesses to enhance their customer relationships. 

Trend #1: Customer Retention Becomes Priority #1 

Customer retention is a key driver of profitability. In fact, if you increase retention by just 5%, you can increase your profits by over 25%.  

Because of this, it comes as no surprise that a vast majority of business leaders surveyed in Ultimate’s annual trends report list customer retention as the #1 area of CX they want to focus on next year.  

This emphasis on customer retention is validated by the fact that 82% of customers consider a positive customer service experience a factor in making another purchase. To succeed in this environment, companies must prioritize investments in delivering an exceptional customer experience.

Trend #2: Customer Service Departments Evolve from Cost Centers to Value Centers 

For a long time, customer service departments were viewed as a necessary cost center, rather than a value-adding part of the business. However, this is changing as companies recognize the benefits of providing excellent customer service.  

Moreover, companies that view customer service as a value center, rather than a cost center, achieve 3.5 times more revenue growth. This is not surprising, as excellent customer service leads to customer satisfaction and loyalty. Satisfied customers are more likely to return and recommend a company to others, leading to more sales and revenue. 

It’s clear that investing in customer service can yield significant benefits for a business, both in terms of financial returns and employee satisfaction. By treating customer service as a value-adding part of the business, companies can create a virtuous cycle of customer loyalty, revenue growth, and employee engagement. 

Trend #3: Companies & Customers Show an Accelerated Appetite for Asynchronous Support 

The traditional model of synchronous customer support, where customers call or chat with agents in real-time, is shifting. The rise of asynchronous support channels, such as email and WhatsApp, has been one of the most rapidly growing trends in the customer experience landscape. In fact, according to a recent survey, 68% of respondents say these channels have most rapidly grown in popularity over the past year. Companies are recognizing the importance of these channels, as they allow for a more flexible and convenient customer experience. 

With the rise of asynchronous and therefore omnichannel support, more companies are investing in ticket automation to save time and money managing all of these channels at once. Moreover, companies are investing in ticket automation, with adoption growing 233% year to date among Ultimate customers. Ticket automation involves automating the ticket creation process, saving support agents time and resources while ensuring that customer inquiries are addressed in a timely and efficient manner. By automating low-level tasks, companies can allow support agents to focus on more complex inquiries and provide a more personalized customer experience. This trend is expected to continue growing as more companies look to streamline their support operations and provide exceptional customer experiences. 

Trend #4: Trust in AI-Powered Support Reaches New Heights 

As technology continues to advance, AI-powered support solutions are gaining even more traction in the customer experience landscape.  

According to Ultimate’s latest 2023 CX Trends Report, the increased trust in AI has been a significant driver for growth in this area, with 92% of respondents reporting an increase in their trust in AI over the past 12 months. Furthermore, the report found that 67% of customers now prefer to self-serve over speaking with a company representative.  

Companies can capitalize on this trend by investing in AI-powered support solutions, such as Zendesk, to deliver a more personalized and efficient customer experience. By using AI to handle routine tasks and provide quick and accurate solutions, businesses can free up their customer service reps to focus on more complex issues and offer even better service. 

Trend #5: Automation Use Cases Mature as Mainstream Momentum Hits 

As AI-powered support solutions become more widely adopted, the use cases for automation are also maturing. In ecommerce, adoption of AI automation has grown by 26% year to date, with chatbots and virtual assistants becoming increasingly prevalent for customer support.  

In financial services, automation adoption has grown by 63%, with banks and other financial institutions leveraging AI to streamline back-end processes and improve customer experiences. Meanwhile, in SaaS, AI adoption has grown by 150%, with companies using automation to scale their customer support operations and provide faster, more efficient responses to user inquiries.  

With the majority of successful customer interactions expected to take place via mobile banking apps in 2023, companies across industries need to be ready to meet this growing demand for fast, convenient, and AI-powered support. 

Trend #6: CX Powers More Rewarding & Innovative Career Paths 

Rapid advancements in AI-powered support solutions are transforming the customer service industry, leading to a significant shift in career opportunities.  

According to a recent study, more than half (51%) of business leaders are looking to increase their agent headcount in 2023, indicating a growing demand for human support alongside technology-driven solutions. At the same time, 48% of respondents are creating new automation-related roles within their support departments, providing an opportunity for individuals to develop new skills and capitalize on the growing demand for AI-related positions.  

Disengaged customer service representatives are 84% more likely to look for a new job than engaged ones, and the average turnover cost for one agent is a whopping $14,113. That’s a significant amount of money that could be better spent investing in customer service training and technology. 

This shift in job roles reflects the industry’s growing recognition of the potential for AI to revolutionize customer service and highlights the importance of building a team with diverse skill sets that can work seamlessly with technology 

Trend #7: Behind-the-scenes Support Works Smarter, Not Harder 

Effective customer support processes are crucial to ensuring a seamless customer experience. While customer interactions are undoubtedly important, streamlined behind-the-scenes processes are equally essential to maintaining a high level of service. 

That’s why it’s not surprising that more and more companies are embracing automation for ticket management. This shift highlights a growing trend in the industry, as companies recognize the benefits of automation in streamlining support processes, reducing manual effort, and improving operational efficiency. 

In a recent survey, 20% of business leaders cited operational efficiency as their top priority for 2022, further emphasizing the importance of efficient support processes in delivering an outstanding customer experience. 

By automating support processes and removing time-consuming manual tasks, companies can ensure their support teams are able to provide quick and effective resolution, meeting customer expectations for timely assistance and driving high levels of satisfaction. 

Conclusion: 

In today’s uncertain economic climate, it’s more important than ever for businesses to prioritize customer retention. By delivering exceptional customer experiences, companies can promote growth and stability.  

According to Ultimate’s latest 2023 Customer Service Trends Report, customer service is evolving from a cost center to a value center, and companies are investing in automation and AI-powered support solutions to streamline their support operations and provide better service. By embracing these trends, businesses can unlock new opportunities to enhance their customer relationships, create a virtuous cycle of customer loyalty, revenue growth, and employee engagement, and power more rewarding and innovative career paths for their employees. 

Download the full trends report here: https://www.Ultimate/guides/customer-service-trends-2023  

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