With the New Year right around the corner, it is important to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to customer behaviour. Userlike.com recently made a few predictions[1] for the customer service industry for 2017. Based on their insights which were collected from various customer experience experts, we’ve put together a list of 5 trends you can expect to see in CEM for 2017.

1. The Rise of Popular Messaging Support Companies are beginning to build on the momentum of messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to provide a more convenient experience for customers. Providing customer support through popular messaging apps allows a company to borrow the familiarity and the reliance that the customer already has with that app. It also provides context for the support agents by keeping dealings with that customer in one chat flow, which keeps them informed of all interactions. And unlike traditional phone or live chat services, it allows for a constant connection with the customer through an app that they’re likely to use multiple times throughout their day.

2. A Challenge to Omnichannel? Customer experience expert Matt Dixon suggests that the trend of omnichannel services that we all expected to see may not be the smartest course of action. He believes that what customers are really after is guidance rather than choice. Tightly integrated channels are the right idea; this allows for a more seamless customer experience. The problem is that having too many channels complicates the service because information is spread out across various different platforms. Instead of offering more, focus on guiding customers to fewer, smarter options.

“Channel choice is an idea companies invented. Customers don’t want choice, they want guidance.” – Matt Dixon, Group Leader at CEB and co-author of The Effortless Experience

3. Interactive Email Support: Many people consider emails to be a thing of the past in the face of new, real-time service options. With the rise of live chat support traditional static text-and-image emails have seen a definite dip in popularity. However new interactive email technology allows for customers to perform basic interactions such as switching tabs, checking options through drop down menus, and making decisions all within the email. Email support may be able to stay in race yet.

4. Personaliszation 2.0

“One of the most powerful trends in customer service is personalisation. While personalisation has been around (and trending) for a number years, today’s organisations have the ability to capture even more usable data on individual customers; their likes, dislikes, preferences, buying patterns and more. The companies that can use that data to properly and ethically connect with the customer and give them a better – more personalized – experience will have a powerful competitive advantage.” Shep Hyken, Customer Service and Experience Expert

Personalisation is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. But while the idea is good, the application may need some work. Customer experience experts caution companies to be aware of the fine line between personal and creepy. Avoid using information in a way that makes the customer feel as though they are being spied on, and focus instead on using information to provide a better service.

5. Cross-functional Collaboration 2.0: While we suggest focusing on using fewer channels, it is still important to make sure those channels are tightly integrated and collaborative. Providing a coherent experience across all channels is not only convenient , but it also allows for quicker interactions which work together to improve the overall customer experience.

To learn more about customer experience management, visit our Resources page here.

[1] “8 Realistic Customer Service Trends for 2017” Retrieved from userlike.com, 2016