Customer Service in 2022: How Automated Chats and AI Are Changing Customer Buying Habits

By Ruth Favela

Customer service trends emerge every year, shaking up the status quo. Customer expectations have changed substantially in the last few years, causing many companies to continue to play catch up. That includes adopting modern technology to increase the quality of experiences, empower agents, and meet customers where they are by offering customer service through many channels. 

What will customer service look like in 2022? A big part of it will be automated chats and artificial intelligence (AI), which are not only changing the customer experience but also buying habits. 

To help you develop your new customer service goals, we’re sharing some trends, what they mean, and how automated chats and AI fit into the picture.

What can businesses expect in 2022? Here’s a look at what’s likely to become or continue to be a customer service trend.

Service will continue to be a differentiator.

Every company has competition, and competing on price or features is no longer enough. Instead, what customers are focusing more on now is service. In fact, 68 percent of consumers surveyed say they will pay more for a brand that delivers great customer service. If you can consistently deliver, customers will be loyal and even forgive a mishap as long as it’s resolved. 

Balance humanity with automation

Self-service chatbots are great for simple questions, often resolving those queries in seconds. However, some customers need human intervention. Service leaders must develop a process that quickly moves people to the correct queue if self-service isn’t sufficient. 

Faster is better.

Customers don’t want to wait. In a world where interactions can be instant, speed matters. So what is the expectation? One survey revealed that 90 percent of customers rated an “immediate” response as essential when they have a question. In the study, the definition of immediate was 10 minutes or less for most respondents. 

Automated chats and AI will be critical to quick response times, but they shouldn’t be decision-tree-based. Instead, they need to account for sentiment and intent, not just keywords. 

Personalization in service matters.

Customers want you to know them, especially if they’ve been in touch before about the same or similar problem. According to one report, 66 percent of consumers expect 

businesses to know their unique needs and expectations. It can be challenging without tools such as AI to gather information quickly. 

When agents can access context around the customer and historical cases, they can serve them in a personalized manner that leads to better outcomes. 

Customers want options for communicating.

Omnichannel customer service is the future. You’ll need to meet your customers in their preferred channel. Those could be ones you own, such as voice, chat, and email. They could also include social media, which many customers are now using for service.

The role of the agent is changing.

Customers are changing, but so are those that serve them. Now, agents are more likely to work remotely, which requires having the right technology platform. Agents are also more than just a sounding board. They are establishing themselves as experience creators and possibly upsellers. 

Ways Automated Chat and AI Will Impact the 2022 Customer Service Landscape

In reviewing these trends, there are opportunities for companies to address these with automated chat and AI. Here’s how:

Resolve tickets faster with AI-powered automated chats. 

This technology keeps learning as new data is available. It gets smarter about resolving customer queries. Human-centered AI doesn’t sound like bots because they analyze sentiment and intent to direct users to the correct answers.

In deploying this technology, you can expect 90 percent accuracy and a 20 percent reduction in queues. Customers can expect fast responses that resolve issues rather than making them more frustrated.

Triage tickets with AI.

If a customer’s need escalates to an agent, triaging it is the first step. Most customer service tools have some type of built-in triage capabilities. However, that doesn’t guarantee that the customer will reach the best agent to help them. 

Triaging with human-centered AI involves recognizing sentiment and intent and building models related to skills-based routing. With these features, routing is more exact, ensuring the right agent receives the ticket. As a result, issues are resolved quicker and tickets don’t get passed around or lost in spam. 

Assist agents and optimize responses.

When customers get to agents, they often have to wait for the agent to look for information. AI can remedy this inefficiency by supporting agents. They have access to templates that will save them time because they can quickly see past solutions to similar questions. It’s optimized for agent workflows and works across channels.

Get Ready for Customer Service in 2022

How will you evolve customer service for your business? As you can see, each trend and step toward effective customer service can impact buying habits. Responsive, accurate, and fast service can increase customer spending and loyalty. Agents can now guide customers to make more purchases based on needs. There is and will continue to be a connection between customer service and buying habits.

Companies should embrace technology to keep in step with customer needs and buying habits. First, by delivering intelligent, AI-focused self-service options. Second, by empowering agents with the knowledge to answer queries quickly.

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