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by Dave Pattman, MD Customer Experience at GoBeyond  Partners, Part of the Webhelp Group

At Webhelp we spend lots of time thinking about – and working on – what the future of customer service could look like. As we move into 2023 here’s some of what we’ve learned in the last year.

Customers are changing the game (so you’d better keep up). Let’s start with a reality check. Thanks to access to comparison services and available data, consumers are now experts in assessing products and services. Influenced by recommendations from their peers on social media and actively engaged with the brands they like, consumers bring their own fully-formed opinions of a brand’s service with them.

They want relationships rather than a one-night stand. The upside of this shift is that customers expect longer-term relationships rather than one-hit transactional experiences. As the shift to more relational experiences continues, brands should make sure they’re there for more than just problem resolution. For instance, by contacting customers when a purchase has just been made (and the customer is in a positive place) to check that everything is OK, brands can strengthen their emotional connection with customers.

Everyone thinks they’re special. Even you. As consumers each of us expect to be treated as unique and get an experience that’s personalized, and it’s the quality of a relationship which is one of the biggest measures of happiness. In a customer’s mind, if a brand isn’t up to scratch, another one will be. Research shows that CX can be designed to activate the brain’s striatum repeatedly, building connection and loyalty, and this emotional connection is something we expect to see being hardwired into service design in the future.

Advisors know your customers better than you do. As the experiences consumers get from brands become more relational, the importance of giving agents, advocates and advisors a voice in how the customer journey is designed will grow. This is because advisors have valuable first-hand feedback from the frontline, and it’s always useful to get as close to the end-user as possible by really understanding customer touchpoints and the voice of the consumer.

Surprise customers, delight them, or be useful to them. To continue strengthening their customer relationships, brands would be wise to focus more on rewarding longevity: creating ways to surprise and delight customers by showing them that they’re valued and that the organisation genuinely cares. Calling customers to check all is OK before they call with a complaint for example, or always offering them some kind of deal (to make them feel they’re special and getting a personalized service). And when things go wrong? You can remove customer uncertainty through proactive communications around waiting times, service outages, and more.

What do you think? If you’re looking for a partner as obsessed with customer service as you are, we should talk. As the year ends, all of us at Webhelp wish you a happy, peaceful new year and a brilliant 2023.

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