With the global pandemic, the tumultuous economy, and everything else that came with it, 2020 may be the year that we would all rather forget. But it’s likely that the lingering effects of 2020 are here to stay. Thanks to all the lessons we’ve learned throughout the year, it’s expected that “back to normal” will be a new type of normal. In the world of customer service, that’s better news than you might think. Learn how customer service best practices have evolved post-COVID and what customer service trends are likely to remain permanently.

Positive Customer Experience is Vital For Success

The struggles of 2020 emphasized just how important the customer experience (CX) is to the overall success of any business. As companies made the necessary shift to e-commerce and developed contact-free solutions for their customers, CX reps had to shepherd customers through some pretty drastic changes. This put CX teams in the spotlight, as navigating this transition proved to be one of the keys to success for companies navigating the crisis. CX teams

Technology is Key

Technology has been pivotal in getting us through the pandemic. That’s why we expect to see customer service best practices shift towards technology-enabled platforms that can enhance the customer experience — and help the CX team further. For instance, apps that collect information on how long customers have been waiting for service or how many customers are in the queue can help the CX team deliver a better experience and manage their time. When fewer people are waiting, they can focus on processes and tasks that will make their job easier. When the queue is longer, they can focus their attention on the customer. It can also help predictively. During periods that are known to be busier, companies can ensure they have more CX staff to help with the influx of customers.

An increased priority on technology that enables safer transactions is another key customer service trend. Even after the pandemic ends, consumers will be increasingly aware of confined spaces or high touchpoint areas. Post-COVID customer service best practices include using technology to help alleviate some of these concerns and improve the customer journey. For example, touchless payment options will become necessary in retail environments. Technology to manage crowds and lines will need to be implemented in entertainment environments, especially as many of these places have been closed for almost a year. Customers will appreciate technology solutions that prioritize health and safety initiatives even after the pandemic ends. 

A New Focus on the Agent Experience

Finally, one of the lasting customer service trends we expect to see is a fresh focus on the agent experience. The relationship between satisfied CX agents and satisfied customers was no secret before the pandemic, but that didn’t necessarily make CX a prime focus for every business. Good customer service teams have a way of becoming invisible to businesses — when everything is working as it should, it’s easy to take things for granted. With the pandemic forcing businesses to reevaluate nearly every aspect of their operations, decision makers were quickly reminded just how important the customer service team is to overall business success.

The pandemic was also a reminder of just how stressful the CX role can be. This was a hard year for virtually everyone whose last name isn’t Bezos or Musk. CX teams, already used to handling unhappy or irritated customers, now faced elevated levels of stress and uncertainty. And not just from their customers — they did so while handling their own pandemic-related anxieties, a fact that many companies are not taking for granted. New customer service best practices include a deeper appreciation of the teams that provide great customer experiences.

The future should seem pretty bright as customer service teams look ahead to 2021 and beyond. The past year placed a renewed emphasis on the importance of customer service to overall business success, and companies are making the necessary investments in their teams to provide improvements in the years to come. Updated customer service best practices will help businesses deliver their products and services more safely and effectively, transforming customer experience for the better.