Last year we looked at how delivering effort-free customer experiences was the driving force behind the change in customer expectations. Whilst delivering effortless customer service is still critical to delivering seamless customer experiences, a lot changed in 2017 also. The digital customer service landscape evolved significantly, truly undergoing its own digital transformation. The maturation of social care has given rise to the natural evolution of the term ‘Digital Customer Service’, which is where we find ourselves as we start 2018!

With a more all-encompassing approach to to customer care, digital customer service simply means being able to service customers over a plethora of digital channels from SMS and chat, to Twitter and Messenger. Today’s digital customers want their voices heard and problems resolved, quickly and without having to jump through hoops. As 2018 rolls in, here are the top 5 stats and trends to keep in mind as you consider making innovative changes to your digital engagement strategy.

1) The Rise of Messaging

Messaging is fast becoming the go-to service channel for digital users seeking resolution to their queries and questions. Private messaging channels which include Messenger, Twitter DM and SMS are designed to support 1-2-1 private resolution whilst your customer is experiencing your brand in-the moment. Over the latter half of 2017, this trend rapidly advanced, particularly with the launch of Facebook Messenger Customer Chat. For Conversocial’s airline portfolio, Messenger volumes more than doubled as well as a 50% increase in incoming volumes of Twitter DM’s. Activate predict that by 2018, at least 3.6 billion people will have at least one messaging app on their smartphone, catching up with the total number of internet users, and eclipsing pure social media users. This positive shift is an ongoing signal of the market maturity of social care.

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2) 80% of customer engagements can be handled by bots – Accenture

The need for speed rings true when it comes to digital customer service. Increasingly, companies are experimenting with ways to introduce AI (Artificial Intelligence) and bots into their contact centers to help scale incoming volumes and routine inquiries. Bot-programmed resolution can significantly speed up interactions for both the agent and customer. For a brand to deliver an optimum customer experience, a collaboration between bot an agent is needed to ensure a sleek and successful handoff. Coupled together, this brings the best of both worlds—automation and speed from bots alongside an authentic and empathetic tone of voice from human customer service operatives. 2018 will be the year that we see an increase of companies implementing automation most likely with a ‘Visual IVR’ system as a filtration mechanism for incoming customer engagements. A Visual IVR can immediately save 15-20% of messaging volumes—a huge saving in agent time—while improving routing accuracy, and accelerating resolution time for the customer. This year will mark the rise of bots in the contact center, watch this space!


3) 62% of companies perceive customer experience delivered by the contact centers as a competitive differentiator – Deloitte

In 2018, we anticipate that the gap will widen between those brands leading the transformation of their customer experience, and those that have fallen behind. Those brands that want to get ahead of the game have either already, or are looking to efficiently manage their service strategy on digital channels such as SMS, Messenger and Twitter. Customer care is now recognized as a priority focus for customer interaction, loyalty and retention. It is a key differentiator for businesses and those who spend the time, money and effort to integrate digital into their repertoire will be handsomely rewarded with brand loyalty and increased revenue. This is the year that brands step up their game. A successful growth strategy now positions customer service as central to survival and we expect to see a massive growth among businesses that are consciously driving a clear strategy.

4) There is a 92% retention among companies with a well-crafted customer service approach – Aberdeen

When it comes to digitally serving your customers, personalization really is the key to success. Engagement should be focused on creating personal, positive and genuine connections by treating each engagement as a unique conversation. Even if the same question has been asked one hundred times, to that single customer, it’s new information, and possibly even their first interaction with the brand. Each message should be crafted with attention to the particular circumstance and customer needs. It’s pretty straight forward. Make the customer feel cared about on a personal level and they are more likely to come back to your brand again and again.

5) 50% of brands will direct investment into customer experience technologies – Gartner

Your brand not investing in a digital customer service operation just doesn’t make sense in today’s ‘Age of the Customer.’ Customers want businesses to hear, understand and appreciate them. Investing directly into contact center technology will ultimately place an emphasis on prioritising customer needs, preferences and support. Digital channels offer a relevant means of customer engagement for the tech-savvy consumers of today who are on the hunt for quick responses when they reach out to a brand for help. Although initial costs can seem daunting, the long-term gains – an ROI of 272%, efficient resolution and reduced customer care costs – are worthwhile.

Want to know more? Have a read of our all-inclusive 5th Definitive Guide to see how to overcome common digital customer care challenges and to become a paradigm of effortless, in-the-moment digital customer service, at scale.