Customer service has come a long way over the past century and plenty of changes have happened just in the past decade. With the world changing so much faster than most can keep up, you really have to know what to expect in the customer service realm, especially if you’re in the hosting industry.
The hosting industry is one of those uber-competitive industries where you simply cannot make a mistake. Customers have so many choices for blog, website and email hosting they can easily abandon ship if you don’t take care of them. Understanding where customer service is headed will help you stay on top of your game.
Here’s a quick look at some of the things you should be aware of when it comes to the way customer service will be changing over the next ten years.
Understanding the Past
Before you look to the future, it’s always a good idea to reflect on the past. Often, looking back will give us clues to the future of customer service.
About a century ago, people would go to stores and nearly every bit of customer service received was in person. Then, technology started to change and in the 1960s companies started to provide customer service over the phone. By the 1980s, phone support was one of the fastest-growing trends with new toll-free numbers becoming popular and call centers growing like crazy.
While it took decades for the phone to become a huge part of customer service, it didn’t take nearly as long with the internet. The early 2000s saw email support become a real thing and today almost every preferred method of support is found online.
Between live chat support, ticket systems and social media, more support is found online today than ever before. This is very important to understand and it’s also important to understand how quickly these methods came about. While it took decades for the phone to become a main line of support, live chat, email and social media took just a few years.
Cross-channel Support Won’t be Optional
It’s barely optional today. If you only offer email support or a ticket system in the hosting industry, you’re a dinosaur when it comes to customer service. The best hosting companies all offer multiple support channels allowing customers to choose how they receive support.
Many companies offer support through live chat, email, over the phone and even through social media. This provides options for the consumer and they can choose how they prefer to receive support.
Self-Service is Blowing Up
Consumers need every minute they can squeeze out of every day. With many people working more than a full time 40-hour week, kids heavily involved in things and families trying to scrape every minute they can together just to see each other, self-service support has become very popular.
Customers don’t want to wait or ever on hold or even interact with someone, if they can avoid it. Instead, they want a user-friendly website with a good FAQ section or knowledge base they can search. If they can simply type in their issue and get an answer, they will use the knowledge base when support becomes necessary.
Not only is this good for customers, but it’s also good for your hosting company. It will help to save you money as you just create the knowledge base once and add to it whenever new issues/questions come up. This will help to lower the number of support tickets you receive, making your overall support much cheaper.
Chatbots Will Probably Stay, but Consumers Hate them
Just like the automated machines people hate when they call for support, chatbots are going to end up in a similar class. Consumers are quickly saying they don’t like these bots and prefer a real person on the other end. While companies will still use them, they will become a customer service problem instead of a solution.
Text Message Support May be Next
Such a huge percentage of Millennials don’t want to talk on the phone. They love live chat support online, but with so many things being done on a mobile phone or device, it’s very possible this will be a trend in support very soon. It may not be long before hosting companies offer 24/7 support through text message for those interested.
Virtual Reality Support Could Be Next, Too
Mark Zuckerberg has been trying to introduce virtual reality on a much larger scale than ever seen before. If this happens, it’s possible that VR could become a big thing for customer service over the next decade. You may join an agent inside a virtual office sooner than you might thing.
As a hosting company in today’s world, you have to offer live chat, email/ticket system and phone support, at the very least. These have be to offered 24/7 or you will get crushed by bigger and better hosting companies.