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The Top 10 Customer Service Trends for 2013

There are some significant trends in customer service that will be impacting companies in 2013 and beyond. Here are the ten big ones


Technology and higher customer expectations are driving significant trends in customer service for 2013. Customer service training and consultancy firm, The Belding Group of Companies, identifies the top 10 to look for (See the detailed list here):

1 Embracing the role of customer service in the customers’ experience

Look for new Customer Experience strategic plans to start revolving around the 4 ‘P’s – Policy, Process, People and Practices. These are the four controllable levers that influence customer perceptions, with good, old-fashioned ‘customer service’ playing a dominant role.

#2 No more searching for “Wow” customer service delivery

The research is telling us that creating ‘Wow’ experiences and ‘delighting’ customers doesn’t deliver the type of increased customer loyalty we once thought. Making a customer’s experience consistently pleasant, seamless and trouble-free is the best strategy.

#3 More customer-friendly return policies

World-class organizations such as Zappo’s, L.L. Bean Chapters and Kohl’s are focusing on Giving money back as happily as they take it. They are focused on creating ongoing loyalty, not just on single transactions.

#4 Increasing use of Social Media for customer service and service recovery

Customers are continuing to turn to social media for customer service and service issues. And companies are responding at an increasing rate. See this trend continuing.

#5 Increased focus on consistency of experience through all channels

As customer contact channels have expanded over the last decade, organizations have struggled to maintain consistency of information and experience.  Look for companies focus on better aligning all of their contact channels.

#6 Increased focus on customer retention

There is a profound shift in business strategy from customer acquisition to trying to retain existing customers. This will be reflected in changes in promotional strategies, as well as increases in customer service staffing, technologies and training.

#7 Better trained staff and higher standards

Training, and live-environment coaching, (referred to 20 years ago as ‘management by walking around’) is increasing dramatically. Included in this will be increased improvement in tools for the front-line, such as greater access to information and knowledge bases, and greater empowerment to resolve issues before they escalate

#8. The emergence of dialog in electronic media service channels

The research is telling us that more customers are favouring webchat as a vehicle for customer service than ever before. Some companies, like BestBuy, have gone as far as to remove email as a vehicle for interacting with the company, in favour of live chat. As part of this, look for video chat to begin to emerge.

#9 Increasing Customer Service throughout organizations

Companies are now recognizing that customer service needs to be present throughout an organization. Look for continued growth of focus on internal customer service, and service in non-traditional customer touch-points such as accounts receivable, shipping/receiving, security, etc.

#10 Increased tracking of customer attitudes and experience

Organizations are no longer waiting for the complaints to come in. Through Voice-of-the-customer research and other polling and feedback mechanisms, companies are making significant efforts to understand their customers, and look for ways to improve their experiences.


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