The future of customer service starts with learning what your customers expect today — a personalized and connected experience.
The catch? You need to focus on productivity and cost savings without compromising on quality.
The right technology can help. As we look ahead to the future of customer service, generative AI will play an essential role in finding cost-effective ways to meet customers’ changing expectations. Here are three emerging trends you should keep on your radar as you build your customer service strategy for 2024.
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1. AI is an opportunity — not a threat
According to our research, 45% of service decision-makers are using AI, up from 24% in 2020. That means AI is increasingly a part of customer service toolkits. It also means that over half of decision-makers have yet to adopt AI in customer service.
So what’s holding them back? Some service organizations may be afraid that their people lack the skills to handle AI. Others may have reservations about trust and reliability. There’s also the concern that implementing AI would require a major investment in infrastructure.
These fears are understandable, and all companies should practice caution and care when deploying any technology as powerful as AI. But one thing is clear: AI is already connecting, informing, and enriching every aspect of customer service.
Companies that remain rooted in doubt and uncertainty are almost certain to be left behind — and forward-thinking organizations are getting more done using AI in a secure, trustworthy way.
Here are just a few examples of how AI will continue to transform the future of customer service, starting today:
- Human-AI collaboration: Customer service agents are working alongside AI technology and systems to provide faster and more accurate information for a more satisfying customer experience. This will create a new role in your contact center — the high-value agent. High-value agents, with the assistance of AI, will shift their focus from resolving simple issues to engaging in more complex interactions that generate revenue.
- Employee onboarding: AI will play an increasingly central role in onboarding new employees — especially in field service, where recruitment has been a particular challenge in recent years.
- Knowledge creation: Forward-thinking companies will preserve and share knowledge across the business by connecting generative AI tools to their service consoles, automatically drafting knowledge base articles based on customer interactions and customer relationship management (CRM) data. These articles can be used in self-service portals, turning search engines into answer engines as customers answer their own questions faster.
Tactical tip: The latest customer service training strategies will be key to turning your service professionals into high-value agents. Help your employees understand the powerful potential of AI to serve as a valued partner and close collaborator in delivering exceptional customer service.
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2. Advances in field service will help attract and retain frontline workers
We found that 65% of mobile workers feel the weight of customer expectations, more than any other type of service worker. And 82% struggle to balance speed with quality when providing field service. That can have a major impact on job satisfaction — and it’s part of the reason why attracting and retaining frontline workers is more challenging than ever.
As we move into 2024, successful field service organizations will continue to improve productivity, cut costs, and generate revenue with AI while creating a better experience for workers in the field. Here’s how AI can help the future of customer service:
- Predictive maintenance: It’s always better to maintain devices instead of waiting for a major problem to occur. That’s why AI will add value in 2024 by proactively monitoring machine health, then automatically scheduling service appointments as necessary. AI will even be able to specify the required tools, appropriate technician, and length of time required to complete the job.
- Work summaries: AI will help minimize errors and improve productivity by automatically generating work summaries both pre- and post-visit — no matter how complex the engagement. This enables mobile workers to resolve issues quickly and move on to the next job in less time.
- More options for self-service: We discovered that 61% of customers would rather use self-service tools for simple issues. With help from AI, they can book appointments and track the progress of service visits on the messaging channel of their choice. That’s a win for mobile workers, too, because it will allow them to spend less time performing administrative tasks and more time delivering great customer service in the field.
Tactical tip: Don’t leave your frontline workers behind. Help them become more proactive and productive with a complete view of each customer, including purchase details, service history, and the status of connected devices. You can integrate AI into their everyday tools with generative responses and work summaries.
3. The future of customer service puts revenue generation front and center
In the months ahead, the lines between sales, service, and commerce will continue to blur as AI-driven cross-selling transforms customer service into a profit center. Forward-thinking organizations will pursue an end-to-end view of the entire customer journey, creating a continuous feedback loop between sales, service, and other departments within your organization.
Here’s what that means for service leaders in 2024:
- Expanded access: Customer service agents and field service workers will gain even greater access to a complete view of the customer. They can then offer tailored solutions and recommendations that align with each customer’s preferences and buying history. AI-driven recommendations based on customers’ preferences will be increasingly at agents’ fingertips, enabling them to strengthen their relationships and be more valuable for customers.
- Shared goals: Metrics traditionally associated with sales (such as conversion rates) and customer service (like resolution time) will continue to converge. All functions will focus more attention on metrics that reflect customer satisfaction, loyalty, and overall lifetime value.
- AI-powered insights: AI is already playing a significant role in analyzing customer behavior, predicting trends, and making informed decisions based on trusted customer data. With this information readily available, agents’ focus can shift from reactive problem-solving to predictive assistance and proactive relationship-building. Teams can work together to anticipate customer needs, address issues before they arise, and offer value-added services that foster loyalty and generate revenue.
Tactical tip: Consolidating tech investments will be the key to resilience in 2024. Consider adopting a unified platform that connects your sales, service, and marketing teams for seamless communication and data sharing among these departments. The result? More effective engagement, better issue resolution, and a more holistic view of each customer’s journey.
Building your customer service strategy for 2024
A great strategy starts with the right questions. How can you bring your data together? How can you unify the customer experience? And how can you equip your service teams to meet customers’ changing expectations while also serving the needs of the business?
No matter how you answer those questions, your mission remains the same: to embrace the future of customer service so you can deliver what your customers demand. That’s why your organization must combine people, technology, and processes to deliver faster, more effective service at scale — with AI assisting you every step of the way.
The future of customer service starts now
When you have AI integrated into your customer service platform, you’ll see better efficiency and productivity as you scale your efforts. See how generative AI can help you shine in every customer interaction.