As of mid-2023, here are the top 5 trending changes affecting customer support teams:
Increased use of AI and Automation: With advancements in AI, many repetitive and basic tasks are being automated, reducing the need for human interaction for simple queries. This trend has increased the demand for tech-savvy employees who can work with, manage, and improve these AI interfaces.
Focus on Personalization: Consumers now expect personalized, high-quality support. Customer support teams are prioritizing individualized customer experience, making it essential to recruit people with good soft skills who can offer empathetic and personalized responses.
Remote Work: The COVID-19 pandemic drastically increased the prevalence of remote work, and many organizations have found it effective and cost-saving, making this a permanent arrangement. This is broadening the talent pool, as location is no longer a constraint in many cases.
Omnichannel Support: Customers now interact with businesses through multiple channels - email, phone, social media, live chat, etc. Therefore, customer service reps need to be well-versed in all these channels, which requires versatile skills.
Data Analytics: There's a growing trend of leveraging data to drive customer satisfaction. Employees need to understand and interpret data to find customer pain points and improve service. Hence, there's a need for more employees with strong analytical skills.
These changes are significantly impacting recruiting, both in the US and globally:
Skill Set: The required skill set for customer service reps is shifting. In addition to traditional skills like communication and problem-solving, there's an increased need for tech-savviness, data interpretation, and emotional intelligence.
Global Sourcing: With the rise in remote work, companies can recruit from anywhere in the world. This increases the talent pool but also introduces challenges like timezone differences and language barriers.
Training: With a higher focus on personalization and omnichannel support, the need for comprehensive and ongoing training has increased. Companies are looking for candidates who are eager to learn and adapt.
Salary Expectations: As the role becomes more complex and demands a wider skill set, salary expectations are likely to increase, causing businesses to reevaluate their budgets.
Diversity: Remote work and global sourcing have opened up opportunities for increased diversity in customer support teams. Companies are prioritizing diversity in recruitment, given its numerous benefits including varied perspectives and improved customer understanding.
Employee Well-being: With the increase in remote work, companies are focusing more on employees' mental health and work-life balance, which can be a selling point in recruitment.
Overall, these trends are reshaping customer support and requiring a rethinking of recruiting strategies.