Top Priorities for Global Customer Service Leaders in 2023

It is fair to say that 2022 is ending in a much different way than the world expected back in January. Heading into 2023, businesses and consumers alike are prepared for an uncertain economic climate, largely due to global inflation, widespread layoffs, and corporate hiring freezes.

As organizations finalize their plans for 2023, it is likely that many departments will have less budget to work with than they may have otherwise hoped for. One area that businesses can’t afford to underserve, however, is the customer experience.

In a period of economic uncertainty, consumers will be more careful and selective about how they choose to spend their money. For brands, this means fewer opportunities to connect with customers—making each interaction count even more. The pressure to leave a stellar impression on every single customer has never been higher.

With this in mind, here’s what we can expect global customer service leaders to prioritize in 2023.

Customer Retention & Expansion

While the economy remains in a state of uncertainty, both B2B and B2C brands must have a heightened focus on building relationships with existing customers. For B2B brands, the pool of potential prospects for new logo acquisition will likely shrink as organizations impose spending limits and budget cuts. B2C brands too will be affected by consumers being more hesitant to spend money on new brands.

It’s a widely known fact that acquiring new customers is more expensive than retaining existing customers—and this is only exacerbated when the threat of a recession is top-of-mind. While new customer acquisition is still necessary, successful brands will be those that prioritize customer satisfaction.

For organizations with a global customer base, this means maintaining multilingual customer support experiences. Customers increasingly expect brand interactions to be made available in their preferred language, and likely won’t be forgiving of brands who forgo multilingual support in favor of cutting costs. 

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Doing More with Less

In the wake of hiring freezes and layoffs, many customer service teams have either shrunk or been left without the ability to bring on much-needed new team members to manage the volume of customer inquiries. In fact, over half (54%) of CFOs have cited hiring and retaining staff as the biggest challenge expected over the next 12 months.

With fewer agents available to manage support volumes, customer service departments must leverage certain strategies and technology to ensure a positive customer experience.

For brands looking to reduce call volume and free up agents’ time, this means implementing an omnichannel support strategy consisting of more than just phone-based service. Live chat, email, and social media messaging are all commonly accepted ways for customers to seek support, and tend to have faster resolution times than phone calls.

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Brands should also focus on providing or amplifying their self-service support channels such as their FAQ/knowledge base and/or leveraging chatbots, which improve the customer experience by being available 24/7.

Prioritizing Digital Experiences

Frontier Airlines created quite a buzz when it announced the elimination of all call-based customer service earlier this year. While industry opinions varied on the decision, it brings to light a trend that we can expect to continue in 2023 and beyond: the shift toward digital-only customer service experiences.

Communicating with brands via live chat, email, and chatbots isn’t necessarily new for customers—though some generations may be more resistant than others. But with organizations being pressured to reduce costs, customer service departments may opt to follow Frontier’s lead and make those digital forms of communication the only way to get in touch with them.

While this might seem like a selfish decision on the part of Frontier and any brands that do the same, it doesn’t necessarily mean that brands are deprioritizing the customer experience. Per Forbes: “Frontier Airlines may be sacrificing in customer service – or blazing a new frontier on the promise of greater responsiveness, speed and flexibility.”

Looking Ahead to 2023

The state of the economy and potential recession has many brands understandably concerned. It’s not all doom and gloom, however; Amazon recently reported record Black Friday weekend sales, indicating that consumer spending hasn’t yet taken a hit. This is a positive sign for B2C brands and the B2B organizations that serve them.

As of now, it’s impossible to say for sure what 2023 will bring from an economic standpoint. Regardless, brands that prioritize building trust and expanding relationships with existing customers stand to be the most successful.