Customer service trends in 2023

Topic: Customer Service

Consumer expectations are higher than ever before. In our Digital Shopping Habits survey, we spoke to 1,000 UK consumers to learn the latest customer service trends.

Did you know that half of consumers will switch to a competitor after just one negative experience? This number rises to 80% if they have another bad experience. Providing excellent CX has long been a key objective for businesses but now it’s clearer than ever that it should always be a top priority. 

Here are some customer service trends, compiled from our two most recent surveys, that you need to know about if you’re going to craft and deliver an outstanding customer experience.

1. The quicker a business responds, the better

In our ‘always on’ connected world, we expect super-responsive customer service. This is backed up by our research from 2022 that found 80% of global consumers would wait up to 24 hours for a response from customer service. 

UK consumers are slightly more impatient, with 81% expecting a response within 24 hours. This is still the case in 2023, as our survey of 5,000+ consumers found that ‘speed of response’ is the factor rated most highly by customers when it comes to customer experience (CX). 

2. Round-the-clock support is very much appreciated

Our recent research found that 38% of UK consumers expect a response to their queries or complaints within 3-5 hours. Additionally, 24/7 support ranked in the top five things customers expected from businesses when it comes to good CX.

3. Customers want a range of ways to contact businesses

Although email, live chat and telephone remain the most popular support channels, customers value a range of ways to contact businesses. It’s convenient and places the power in their hands as they can choose the method they prefer. After all, no two customers are the same; one may prefer to get in touch via telephone, while another may want to reach out via text/SMS or via WhatsApp.

Although most businesses have realised this and offer multiple channels, globally, 15% offer only one method of communication.

The top ways customers like to reach out to businesses

Our research highlights that consumers will most commonly contact a company with a delivery or order query.

  • 33% – delivery query
  • 26% – order query
  • 25% – refund/exchange query
  • 22% – billing/payment issue

Tip: Often, delivery and order-related queries can solved by the customer themselves. If this is the case for your business, why not broaden the communication scope and add in automation? Chatbots, for example, can help customers self-serve and free up your customer service team to spend on more complex issues.

5. Email newsletters are customers’ favourite way to engage with brands

With an average email open rate of 21% across industries compared to SMS’s 98% and WhatsApp’s 99%, you may wonder if email is even something your customers actually want. It turns out that it is – globally, 48% of consumers have signed up to their favourite brand’s newsletters and in the UK, 51% have. 

Instagram, Facebook and SMS/text messaging follow suit at 45%, 39% and 24%. But with email taking the lead, it’s obvious that this communication channel should stay a key part of your strategy. 

6. Customers want to receive texts from businesses

In our survey, we found that 82% of global consumers are signed up to receive texts from businesses, with 59% receiving texts from one to six brands. In the UK, 75% of consumers have opted in to texts and 61% receiving texts from one to six brands.

So, customers want to receive texts from businesses. Therefore, consider incorporating SMS into your marketing strategy if you haven’t already. 

Tip: Although SMS has higher open and click through rates, it doesn’t mean it’s better than email. In fact, you can set your marketing strategy up for success when you use both channels in tandem.

7. There’s a correlation between communication frequency and channel

Bombard customers with marketing materials and they’ll almost certainly hit ‘unsubscribe’. That’s likely something you already know. But do you know how often your customers want to hear from you?

Generally, a couple of times a week appears to be the preference for the majority of customers. And it also depends on the channel. 

We found that 39% of global consumers would be happy to hear from businesses via email 1-2 times a week and 35% for texts 1-2 times a week. If that’s not frequent enough, 25% would be happy to receive emails once a day compared to 19% for text. 

From our 2022 study

8. Customers prefer to hear relevant information

The top three things consumers want to hear about are delivery information, payment reminders and account updates. 

That’s not to say you should turn off your marketing emails and texts. 64% of consumers still want to hear about them. Plus, there’s value in sending marketing texts or WhatsApp messages in particular, as 81% of global consumers would consider purchasing a product as a result of an SMS or WhatsApp message.

So rather than turning off or reducing marketing emails and SMS, consider prioritising what you choose to promote instead. For example, segment your customer and prospect lists and send personalised messages with promotions tailored to the individual.

What consumers want to receive from businesses

Can you keep up with the ever-changing customer service expectations in 2023?

Customer service expectations are at an all-time high. Businesses need to keep up and one of the easiest ways of doing this is through messaging apps that allow you to stay the course. Replying in real-time on a preferred platform in a way that is personalised, meaningful and engaging will elevate and humanise your brand in a way that resonates with customers.

To discover more customer service trends and mistakes to avoid, check out our eBook. We outline the results from our global survey and give tips on how you can exceed customer expectations.

Author Avatar
Mary Henry

Brand & Communications Manager. Email: [email protected]