What Will Your Customer's Experience Look Like in 2017?

John Krautzel
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To retain active customers and attract new ones, businesses must stay on top of the latest customer service trends and commit to providing the best customer service possible. In 2016, great strides were made toward enhancing the overall experience of in-store and online shoppers. Thanks to these advancements, there are a few things customers can look forward to in 2017.

More Interaction Between Businesses and Customers

In 2016, countless businesses became more active on popular social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, using these platforms to provide personalized customer service and share information about changing company policies, product recalls and upcoming events. Companies also began assigning individuals to work as social media representatives; these professionals engage with online customers in an effort to provide top-notch customer service and build stronger connections through the internet. Customers who post a complaint or share their thoughts and ideas about certain projects on a company's social media page are more likely to receive a public or private response from a company representative. This trend is likely to continue and expand, as more companies are increasing their online presence even more using platforms like Snapchat, YouTube Live and Facebook Live to engage with customers in real time.

A Simpler and Faster Buying Process

To meet the evolving needs of customers, many companies have enhanced their customer service by removing unnecessary steps from the buying process. Mobile-friendly e-commerce sites make it possible for customers to select and purchase items online with just a few clicks. In-store customers can use store-based smartphone apps and electronic gift cards to pay for purchases within a matter of seconds. Today's customers also want the products they purchase to arrive quickly, which is why many companies recently began offering expedited shipping for free or at an extremely discounted rate. The trend of simplifying the buying process is likely to stick around, as providing this level of customer service dramatically enhances the customer experience and helps increase profits.

More Technology

As online shopping continues to increase in popularity, department stores have been getting more creative in an effort to get customers to their physical locations. Retail robots that help customers locate items in physical stores are becoming more popular, and shoppers are more likely to see them this year. Some department stores are also using retail robots to locate and bring items to customers in fitting rooms, eliminating the need for customers to leave the fitting room half-dressed or call for human assistance. Self-service stations are also becoming more popular, as more retailers are expanding the number of self-checkout lanes available to ensure all lines in the store are short and moving quickly.

Companies throughout the world must continue to evolve their ways of doing business in order to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of customers. Customer service has taken on a new meaning thanks to the many advancements in technology, and businesses must incorporate these new technologies into their business strategies in 2017 and beyond if they want to retain customers and keep them satisfied.

Photo courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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