In the face of persistent uncertainty, and with demand for digital services and experiences at an all-time high, customer service has become even more crucial for businesses. This has accelerated a number of trends taking place across sectors, from automation to social messaging, AI-powered technology to bespoke digital customer service.

Customer service has always been a driver of customer loyalty.

Hubspot research suggests that 93% of people are more likely to be repeat customers at companies with excellent customer service.

During the coronavirus pandemic, customer service has become even more crucial, as companies have been forced to adapt, improve operations, and find new ways to meet customers’ needs.

This increase in pressure has led to the acceleration of customer service strategy for many companies, with some increasing their investment in the area as a result. So, will it create a new standard for customer service as a whole, and what could this look like?

Growing investment in automation to streamline resolutions

The impact of Covid-19 has led many businesses to reassess their technology needs, particularly when it comes to automation within customer service. A report by Inference Solutions compares the perspective of organisations before, during, and looking ahead to after the pandemic. The report quotes Gartner's 2018 estimate that 25% of customer service and support operations would integrate virtual custom assistant or chatbot technology by 2020.

In their own more recent survey, Inference Solutions found that 71% of IT decision-makers agree that intelligent self-service automation helped their organisation remain agile during Covid-19. It also found that 64% of IT decision-makers expect their organisation to increase investments in automation technology over the coming year as a result of Covid-19, and that 26% will increase investments by more than 10%.

Chatbots are one of the most popular forms of automation - 45% of respondents to Inference Solutions’ survey plan to invest in this as a result of the crisis. However, 48% also plan to invest in employee IT helpdesk tech, and 42% plan to invest in in-app chatbot messaging (via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc).

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