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The Future of Support: 5 Customer Service Trends of 2024

Customer service16 MIN READJan 6, 2024

To reveal some upcoming 2024 customer service trends, we bring you some excerpts and experts (that’s quite a tongue-twister):

Klaus predicting the future of support.

2024 customer service trends

  • Effectively introducing & managing chatbots
  • DIY support automation
  • Support-driven growth
  • Using tech to improve human-to-human interactions
  • Empowering support leaders (and customer service teams)

1. Effectively introducing & managing chatbots

The recent drastic breakthroughs of generative bots mean that chatbots are smarter and more widespread than ever before. This wouldn’t be an article about new customer service trends if we didn’t mention live chat bots.

If you’re working in an ambitious customer support team and you haven’t yet introduced a bot to automate some of your customer interactions via chatbot, your managers likely ask not whether to introduce them but when. 

Klaus saying at your earliest convenience.

Can bots replace human customer support agents?

The question perennially raised is whether or not chatbots can replace human customer service agents and offer excellent customer service. But the general consensus is that it would be an incredibly unwise move to fully replace your agents with chatbots.

Luckily, replacing agents isn’t one of our advised customer service trends for the year. It’s the fast track to some very unhappy customers, especially without a chatbot QA process in place. 

Humans expect perfection from machines

An overarching issue that plagues chatbot usage is the fact that humans don’t give machines the same liability that we give each other.

Self-driving cars are the requisite example. Self-driving cars can’t drive drunk, they don’t get tired, or text while driving. Yet the vast majority (68%) of Americans fear self-driving cars, not a number that is set to diminish anytime soon. The media tends to give more extensive coverage to fatalities resulting from accidents involving these cars, as compared to those caused by human errors.Using AI in replace of a human to converse with your customers, aka a chatbot, will be successful if, and only if, the chatbot understands its limitations.

[Excerpt from The Future of Conversations on chatbots]

So although chatbots have their cost-saving lure, experts advise taking a measured approach for the sake of customer satisfaction.

While cost-saving is certainly a beneficial outcome, your primary goal in implementing a bot should be to enhance the customer’s satisfaction and happiness through the bot experience:

Companies are baldly self-interested when deploying technologies that save them money. AI will definitely make providing customer service cheaper and faster, but AI won’t make customer service better unless companies care about the customer more than the savings.
Leslie O'Flahavan
Leslie O'Flahavan
Customer service consultant

So ask yourself, is your primary aim still to meet customer expectations?

The big winner in the deployment of AI in the customer service industry must be the customer. If the focus is solely on cost savings then businesses are fundamentally missing the point of AI. The recent advances in AI means that the technology has matured to a level where you can realistically think about transforming the customer experience.
Declan Ivory
Declan Ivory
VP of Customer Support, Intercom

How do generative bots work?

  1. By learning from examples: AI models take in huge amounts of communication data, and study lots of these examples, both texts and images.
  2. By creating new content, in a way predictive of what they have learned from the examples. Artificial intelligence uses what it has learned to create new things that are similar to what they’ve seen before. It’s like an artist using their knowledge to make new paintings or write stories based on what they’ve learned. Except it’s not an artist — it’s a machine.

Robo-Klaus engaging napping protocols.

As it pertains to CS, the customer stands to benefit the most from AI. At a minimum, AI-powered customer service experiences will provide consumers with more personalized experiences; but where things get interesting is when AI starts to predict customer needs, allowing businesses to proactively address issues with their products or services.
Cait Keohane
Cait Keohane
Senior Vice President, Global Customer Advocacy

The chatbot rollout strategy — best practices

When you implement a chatbot to automate some of your customer support conversations, it is not a case of clicking the ‘on’ button and letting the bot take over. Perfecting the chatbot conversation flow is an ongoing process. 

In fact, many companies are starting to hire specialists precisely for the role of perfecting the art of the chatbot: Chatbot Managers and Conversation Designers are going to be in high demand in 2024. 

The role of conversation designer changes in every single endeavor. Nothing from an AI standpoint is nailed down yet. That means that the job is still very manual — we currently need to review the consistency of the AI and automated suggestions continuously.
Fred Walton
Conversation Designer, Intercom

Quality Assurance (QA) assumes a central role in this endeavor. Through systematic reviews, it acts as a stress test, exposing potential pitfalls and allowing for necessary adjustments.

2. DIY support automation

Setting up automation that improves your workflow is no longer a novelty saved only for tech-savvy Mike in the IT lounge (IT Mike has probably quadrupled his salary by now — hi Mike). While company-wide tools offer large-scale automation, everyone can now also set up simple automations that make their days faster, easier, and/or less repetitive. 

79% of companies are not educating workers to apply and use AI effectively, so customer service reps are taking matters into their own hands.

This customer service trend is gathering momentum like an Alpine snowball in January.

Klaus being born in the early 2000's.

Individuals taking the automation reins

This trend has been driven by the accessibility of user-friendly tools, such as Zapier, Integromat, ChatGPT, DALL-E, and Midjourney, which require minimal technical expertise. Customer service agents, team leads, quality assurance specialists, etc, don’t expect companies to teach them how to use these to their full potential.

So they are actively taking the reins of automation into their own hands. 

81% of support leaders believe that technology, such as automated customer service tools, will help improve employee engagement and attrition. This is one of the emerging customer service trends that has an all-round benefit.

How to get an A in automation

A customer service job could get very boring. So if you have the tools to help you automate those manual tasks, then the tasks that you are actually working on are unique and allow you to use different parts of your skillset. It’s an advantage for the customer service agents and they should be very excited about it. 

My tip is to always start with the easy work. Find the use case that is gonna be the easiest to automate and start working on that one.

Hosam Hassan
Hosam Hassan
Director of CX Strategy, PartnerHero

User-friendly AI service tools often provide prebuilt templates and automation flows for common tasks. People often start with these templates and customize them as needed.

One of the things that large language models are capable of, that people just don’t realize, that these things are outstanding coaches and mentors. If you ask them good questions, you will get good answers about the vast majority of topics.

Become skilled at consumer-facing tools: ChatGPT, Bing, Bard, DALL-E, Midjourney. People should absolutely be doing those. Those have required no technical skill whatsoever. You’re just using regular language and getting good outputs from them.

Christopher Penn
Chief Data Scientist, TrustInsights

Klaus encouraging Dan The Hedgehog to do some work.

3. Support-driven growth

Traditionally, customer service has been viewed as a cost center, primarily focused on resolving issues and minimizing expenses. 

However, this perspective is evolving. 

46% of support teams plan to contribute to the top-line, and thus business growth, by creating customer value.

Seeing customer service as a value center

Support-driven growth, as a concept, encapsulates a business strategy that gives power to customer support, and the customer experience as a whole. This evolving paradigm aligns with ongoing customer service trends, signaling a significant shift in how businesses not only value but listen to and treat their customers at every touchpoint. 

More than three-quarters of business leaders understand that investing in customer service can help a company weather tough economic times.

Although many departments are currently vying for a better budget and investment, executives increasingly acknowledge that the importance of a customer-first (and support-driven) strategy is one of the top customer service trends. 

Embracing customer service as a value center means recognizing its potential not just to mitigate problems but to create opportunities for growth.

It means equipping customer support teams with the tools and customer data needed to deliver exceptional experiences, and, most importantly, understanding that happy customers are the cornerstone of sustainable success. 

An illustration of Klaus trying to find a problem.

But this is one of the customer service trends that’ll outlast 2024

Forbes believes that many will willingly pay higher prices for excellent customer service experiences in 2024.

However, we have a way to go before many companies actually practice what they preach regarding putting the customer first…

If I could change anything in customer service, I would stop the empty rhetoric around ‘our people are our most important asset and our customers are our number one priority’. Prove it or keep quiet. As a first step, I’d start by making all contact centers value centers.
Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe
Author, Speaker, and aspirant punk at Punk CX

Customer service people often feel disempowered. There are so many superpowers that CX and service folks have, and I wish more people recognized that. They should know how important and valuable the work that they are doing is.
Mercer Smith
Mercer Smith
VP, CX Insights & Community at PartnerHero

4. Using tech to improve human-to-human interactions 

Quality human customer support shows that the company truly does care for its customers

Thinking optimistically, what will become more cherished in this age of AI, is the authenticity of human-to-human interaction. And an appreciation of the resources that go into that.

When a person’s issue reaches the level where it needs to be addressed by a human representative of the company, this is a clear acknowledgment that the business is taking the customer seriously.

[Excerpt from Future of Conversations on human support]

The more customers confront chatbots, the more they will also appreciate the human touch when their issue calls for it. So one of the customer service trends in 2024 is investing in the talent that exists in customer service teams.

Our communication shapes our technology, but our technology can also shape our communication.

Personalization is in demand. 47% of leaders ensure that their agents have access to customer data that makes revenue generation easier.

The best use case for AI is to help human agents eliminate complexity and time-consuming tasks, give them access to the answers to every conceivable question a customer could ask, and allow them to do what they do best (and what AI can’t do), which is to be human.
Dan Gingiss
Dan Gingiss
Keynote Speaker and Author

Klaus using the Stop Start Continue Feedback Method.

Customer service trends have long been shifting towards a more proactive approach. Although self-serve has been around for years, but this year technology offers far more opportunities to be smart about it.

Investing in this also means making sure that the easier cases are solved before they reach support agents’ desks.

There should be more focus on strengthening proactive customer service to the next level. I think companies should invest in better technology that will proactively reach out to customers or clients during the entire buyer journey, provide helpful information, and not just take action when there are already issues – and do these too without being spammy or intrusive.
Rea Alducente
Rea Alducente
Content Creator

51% of service and support leaders allocate increased resources to shift contact volume towards self-service solutions.

Companies are leveraging emerging technologies to align with these customer service trends, ensuring they meet evolving customer expectations.

Klaus adding more quality to support interactions.

How to strengthen customer service through tech

  • Use AI to analyze feedback and identify areas to improve the customer journey.
  • Personalize your proactive customer service efforts – use customer data to identify what they expect.
  • Consistently measure the results of your customer service performance. This will help you to identify what’s working and what’s not so that you can continuously improve.

💡 Through automated quality assurance, advanced AI-powered analytics, and customizable surveys, Zendesk QA (formerly Klaus) can help you turn your customer support team from a cost center to a profit center. 

5. Empowering support leaders (and customer service teams)

This customer service trend isn’t specific to 2024, but it seems all the more prevalent to highlight when the ground beneath our feet seems to be shifting. This is a metaphor for the customer service industry at the moment, don’t worry, no literal earthquakes. 

Staying updated with the latest customer service trends is paramount for businesses aiming to excel in this dynamic landscape. Rising customer expectations, providing excellent customer service across multiple channels, and offering proactive support are just a few examples of what’s been going on.

So, how do you become a better leader? 

This is where I’ll leave it to them to tell you:

Working in customer service means working with people, for people. It’s all about people. Solving customer queries will become more complicated over the years due to the increased use of automation. Gen Z continues to enter the workforce with specific needs and wishes, especially regarding diversity and inclusion.

Big changes are coming. It requires excellent leadership to guide teams through these transitions. Beware: the days of mediocre management on the support teams are over. Understanding how to lead people with personalized approaches (rather than fitting the diverse team in one uniform way of working) takes creativity and deep understanding of people as individual human beings.

Cynthia Mak
Cynthia Mak
Founder, The Caring Company

I see business leaders fall down when they take a one-size-fits-all approach to team management. I’ve had the privilege of leading a variety of functions during my time at Zendesk and I’ve had the most success when I took the time to learn about the different skills, strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds, and experiences of the individuals before jumping into action.
Cait Keohane
Cait Keohane
Senior Vice President, Global Customer Advocacy

Everyone wants to be appreciated for their authenticity. Nurturing a great customer service team means that you find opportunities to allow everyone to bring their authentic strengths and personality to the work that they do. This hasn’t always been a historic focus for leadership, but today, this is a critical skill to attract and retain talent while delivering exceptional results
Antonia J.A. Hock
Antonia J.A. Hock
Founder & Speaker

Klaus looking through a magnifying glass.

Emerging customer service trends of 2024: A summary

Let’s recap…

In 2024, customer service is set to transform with the rise of advanced chatbots and user-driven automation. Amidst the technological progress, the authenticity of human-to-human interaction stands out.

The industry pivots toward support-driven growth, emphasizing strategies that value the human touch. Leadership becomes crucial in adapting to these changing dynamics.

As the latest customer service trends unfold, success in the future hinges on embracing customer satisfaction and delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Download The Future of Conversations [ebook]

Originally published in January 2022; last updated in October 2023. 

Written by

Grace Cartwright
Grace is perpetually working on a self-help book entitled ’Where Did I Put My Keys?’. In her free time, she writes for Klaus.

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