What’s it going to take to outpace your competition in 2022?
We’re heading into the new year, and it seems like there’s a lot stacked against us. But even as talent shortages loom large and supply chain issues continue to slow down sales across industries, it’s your customer service that will help you outpace your competition and keep customers coming back for more.
Reflecting on the last two years, we can all agree that we don’t know exactly what will happen in 2022. But there are two things we can infer:
- Support requests are increasing
- Customer expectations are rising
Average weekly support requests are up 20% since the start of the pandemic, according to Zendesk’s Customer Experience Trends Report. And despite the increased challenges of the pandemic (or possibly because of it), customer expectations are skyrocketing.
However, it’s a new year, and the possibilities are endless. You’re heading into this stage with knowledge in hand and an opportunity to leverage the right tools to delight your customers.
Discover the top 5 ways you can get ahead in 2022.
1. Boost employee engagement with gamification
Did you think we were going to start with customer tactics? If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that our employees are the most valuable assets we have, and we need to do what it takes to keep them healthy and happy
“Between December 2020 and July 2021, there was a 21% increase in employee burnout” – meQuilibrium
Just between December 2020 and July 2021, there was a 21% increase in employee burnout, according to a report from meQuilibrium. Coupled with the talent shortage, this puts your team at a disadvantage.
Because of a smaller talent pool, it’s even more vital to keep your current employees happy and working to their full potential.
A good way to engage employees? Gamification.
Gamification brings an element of competition and fun to your customer service objectives. Turn objectives and goals into a game with a points-based reward system. Offer rewards like vacation time, restaurant gift cards, or work-from-home perks.
Engaging employees with gamification can help increase their productivity. Companies with higher engagement are 22% more profitable, according to employee communication platform Smarp.
Creating a rewards system gives your customer support agents a clear indication of what’s important and which metrics matter most. Plus, they get an easy way to measure their own performance against fellow agents.
You can also tweak the rewards to help focus on your teams’ priorities. If you’re concerned about the competition outpacing you on resolution times, you can increase the number of points assigned to low-resolution times.
Additionally, you can balance productivity increases with acquiring new skills. If an agent shows low productivity, offer more points for the most tickets served per hour. Once agent performance is in a good place, offer points when they complete a course or module in your learning management system.
In 2022 especially, your team is your strongest asset. Investing in employees and creating new ways to engage them will help you outpace competitors and improve customer satisfaction.
2. Implement AI solutions
We talked about the talent shortage and how engaging with your employees is a good way to increase productivity, but what if customers still face long wait times and your support team is overwhelmed?
High-performing teams are leading with AI to support their team and get a leg up on the competition.
You can use AI and chatbots in several ways to improve the customer experience.
- Use a bot to welcome customers to your website or messaging platform and collect basic information to serve them better when an agent becomes available.
- Integrate bots with live agents so agents can send a customer to a bot to answer questions, and bots can send customers to live agents for more complicated issues.
- Program chatbots with answers to basic FAQ questions to cut down on the number of tickets your agents must service.
- Use bots to walk customers through a troubleshooting process to identify and potentially solve issues.
- Route messages through a chatbot at the end of conversations to collect CSAT surveys.
Zendesk reports usage rates for AI-powered chatbots were still low in 2020 despite their ability to reduce the burden on overwhelmed support teams. This makes it a great opportunity for companies who embrace AI to outpace their competition.
3. Be available wherever your customers are
How easy is it for your customers to connect with you? Do they have to go to your website, find the support page, and send an email? Do they have to track down a phone number?
When a customer has a problem that needs fixing, the last thing they want is to waste time trying to figure out how to contact you. Sometimes outpacing your competition simply means removing that one layer of frustration for your customers.
Provide service and support wherever your customers hang out. Your website is the best place to start, but expand your availability to sites like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Google Business Messages, Apple Business Chat, and more.
According to Zendesk, 64% of surveyed customers used a new support channel in 2020. And high-performing companies are more likely to offer omnichannel support.
Customers are getting more comfortable using multiple communication channels to connect with businesses, and this trend is likely to continue in 2022. It also caters to customers’ need for instant gratification. As soon as they notice a problem or have a question, they can get an answer from your support team within whichever app or platform they’re already using.
Facilitating cross-channel communications has also never been easier. Support agents can easily manage multiple channels, pick up conversations from one channel to another, and switch between conversations with a platform like Quiq. You’ll provide more customer service options without adding additional pressure to your support agents.
4. Enable conversational commerce
Since removing customer friction is a top priority in 2022, conversational commerce has become a trending topic.
In addition to solving customer problems, support teams are positioned to assist customers before a sale to increase conversions. Putting support agents on multiple platforms gives customers ample opportunity to ask questions about sizing, product use cases, service details, and any other questions that might pop up during the decision-making process.
And since customers are already primed for a sale once they’ve gotten answers, why not let them complete the sale right within the chat platform?
Adding payment options to your customer service messaging can improve your customer satisfaction and even increase your revenue.
Enabling customers to make a purchase within whichever messaging platform they’re using makes for a faster and more seamless purchasing experience. For Quiq clients, integrating payments resulted in an 85% reduction in abandoned shopping carts.
Here are a few messaging platforms that allow you to integrate secure payment solutions.
- Facebook Messenger
- SMS/text messaging
- Instagram Direct Messages
- Web chat
- Apple Business Chat
- Google Business Messages
- And more
5. Lead with values
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that customers want to be understood.
Customers want understanding and empathy when they’re facing a problem—even if it doesn’t have an obvious solution. 49% of customers want agents to be empathetic, according to Zendesk.
But that understanding also extends to customers’ personal values. With so much social division, customers are more careful where they spend their money and time. 54% want to buy from companies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their communities and workplaces, and 63% want to buy from socially responsible companies.
It’s never been more important for support teams to embody company values and practice them in every customer service interaction. Take the time in 2022 to give your team practical examples of your company values and how they can share them in each conversation.
2022 is your year to outpace your competitors
2022 represents a fresh start—and a lot to do. Unfortunately, customer service teams are fighting an uphill battle as we ring in the new year. But now’s the time for big leaps.
Take advantage of this new start to set your team up for success and leave your competitors in the dust.
There’s a lot to do, but you can achieve it with Quiq.