14 Ways Technology Will Affect the Future of Customer Service [+2024 State of Service Data]

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Michael Redbord
Michael Redbord



I spent over a decade in the world of customer success, so trust me when I say that things have changed dramatically. I remember the days of solving issues in long email chains or hour-long calls. While I loved finally getting to those “aha!” moments on these older channels, technology has improved the service experience for both reps and customers.

learning how technology will change customer service

That’s especially true if you look at the last few years. Channels like AI chatbots, self-serve support, and omnichannel service are becoming increasingly popular. So, which technology is here to stay, and which channels are ideal for your business?

To answer those burning questions, I studied trends in customer service technology and analyzed data from HubSpot’s 2024 State of Service report to curate these 14 trends expected to shape the industry’s future. Let’s break them down.

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1. Face-to-face video communication will increase.

Video communication became the norm during the pandemic. All of my calls shifted to video, confronting customers and colleagues alike face-to-face. Video calls truly changed people’s expectations of accessing meaningful support.

In fact, our HubSpot’s State of Service found that 89% of surveyed customer success leaders find video support effective when delivering customer service. Not just that, 53% of them plan to increase their investment in live video calls for customer support.

The big takeaway: Your customers don’t want to talk with a support executive on the phone. They want a video meeting or an async video message to solve their problems clearly.

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    2. Customers will expect an omnichannel service experience.

    Customers can interact with your brand through multiple channels, including social media, third-party review platforms, emails, SMS, and your website. I’ve been there when trying to change an airline ticket on JetBlue. I had the ability to request help on the website, via chat, or over the phone. I could choose which method worked best for me.

    The big takeaway: To deliver consistent support, you need to sync all communication channels, so your team and customers can work seamlessly between them. In fact, 31% of customer success leaders leveraged omnichannel support to improve their customer experience in 2024. Here’s why.

    Rather than customers having to navigate away from your social media page, your service team can respond to them right there. If the problem can't be solved here, your reps can easily transfer the case to another medium to better support the customer.

    This reduces friction in the service experience because customers don’t have to juggle different channels and repeat the same problem.

    Pro tip: Delivering omnichannel support is easy with HubSpot’s shared inbox tool. It consolidates all customer messages across channels in one place, making it easy for your support team to manage every case without missing a beat.

    HubSpot shared inbox

    3. Real-time messaging will outpace email.

    People want quick solutions to any problem. I know I do. If I’m trying to modify my order or resolve a pressing issue related to my CRM, I want to solution as quickly as I can. Nobody has the time (or patience) to have an email conversation spanning several days. The solution? Real-time messaging.

    Most customers prefer to chat rather than talk on call or send an email. If I can get my question answered or problem fixed without talking to anyone, I feel like a winner. You can deliver support through real-time messaging platforms like:

    • Facebook Messenger.
    • Slack support channels.
    • AI chatbot on your site.

    In fact, of U.S. customer support teams, 40% leveraged AI chatbots for customer service in 2023.

    The big takeaway: The world operates in synchronous time now, so you need to amp up your real-time communication setup while still using email to share important updates that your customers need.

    4. Remote work will become more normal.

    The future of customer service will not only push customers online but also move service reps there. Rather than being confined to call centers, service reps will have more tools to work remotely. They'll field customer inquiries from the comfort of their homes instead of having to work in an office setting.

    The big takeaway: Most service channels can already be used outside offices and call centers. Email, live chat, and social media can even be operated from a smartphone, and most business phone services offer cloud-based solutions that allow you to work from home.

    As businesses see the potential savings of reducing office space, it'll become much more common for service reps to work remotely. Plus, your workforce may have a boost in morale. Of customer service and support employees, 70% want to continue to work remotely.

    5. AI will help customer support professionals, not replace them.

    AI has had a major impact on nearly every industry. However, I don’t spend my nights lying awake in bed wondering if service reps will be replaced (and thank goodness, I love good quality REM sleep).

    Contrary to the narrative that “AI will steal jobs,” this technology will only improve customer service. In its present form, AI chatbots benefit your customer support setup by:

    • Delivering round-the-clock service.
    • Enabling a self-service model.
    • Reducing expenses.

    Over the next decade, this technology will continue to make huge advances and be capable of doing even more of what human support reps do today. It’ll be smart for customer-facing teams to keep up with AI and stay on the cutting edge here to provide increasingly better experiences at increasingly lower costs.

    That explains why 73% of CS leaders plan on increasing their investment to leverage automation in customer success.

    The best part? The use cases for AI in customer service are limitless.

    Here are a few crucial ways in which AI can supplement your customer service efforts:

    AI in customer service

    The big takeaway: When AI becomes mainstream in every customer-facing team, leaders can reallocate customer support reps into the customer success organization. There will be less need for the repetitive answering of questions and a greater need for helping customers grow and derive value from the products and services they've already purchased.

    6. Blockchain will change ecommerce customer support.

    Cryptocurrency itself is probably not going to radically change customer success. Paying with Bitcoin (BTC) isn't too different from paying with other currencies post-sale. However, blockchain technology has fascinating applications for contracting and how transparent payments will be in the future.

    One example I’ve seen is smart contracts. With this solution, machines get to enforce and execute contract terms and payments without human involvement. In my opinion, these contracts are a generation ahead of simple recurring payment models.

    blockchain in eCommerce customer support

    Imagine a world in which smart contracts enable customer success managers (CSMs) to spend less time bickering over overpayments and hunting down money and more time focusing on delivering value.

    The big takeaway: Although the currency change from cold hard cash (or credit) to bitcoin isn't likely to become mainstream or have a big impact on the space, blockchain technology could fundamentally change the face of commerce within the next 25 years. Customer success managers, as commercially involved parties, will need to adapt to this change.

    The State of Customer Service Report

    Unlock essential strategies for exceeding customer expectations and driving business growth in a competitive market.

    • Exclusive insights from worldwide CRM leaders
    • Analysis of modern customer behaviors
    • Closer look at the AI opportunity in CRM
    • Strategies for staying agile in 2024 and beyond
    Learn more

      Download Free

      All fields are required.

      You're all set!

      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      7. Self-service will become an absolute necessity.

      The self-service model has become increasingly popular over the years. Why? Because savvy customers want the freedom to troubleshoot problems at their own pace.

      The reason behind this push for self-serve customer service is simple.

      Big businesses are embracing self-service because it lowers their costs of doing business. In doing so, they're embracing sophisticated customer interaction methods, like interactive FAQs, virtual assistants, and community forums.

      The big takeaway: Over time, businesses that can‘t or don’t keep up with this change will look like dinosaurs to the average consumer. That’s why 68% of brands want to give customers better tools to solve issues independently.

      What is the first step to helping your customers help themselves?

      I recommend a knowledge base where you can write out answers to common customer questions. You can enable customers to find answers through this knowledge. Or share these FAQ pages through chatbots or during live interactions to solve problems quickly.

      Here’s how to build a helpful knowledge base for your brand:

      knowledge base tips

      8. Customer service training will be personalized.

      Customer service training has traditionally been one-size-fits-all. However, as sentiment analysis tools make it easier to identify each rep‘s strengths and weaknesses, training will become more tailored to the employee’s needs.

      The big takeaway: Reps who need more time learning the product will be able to master its features. On the other hand, more technically proficient employees will receive training to strengthen their soft communication skills.

      To personalize your training, I suggest surveying participants before, during, and after each exercise. When I’ve used this technique, I’ve been able to measure my reps’ performance and collect feedback. It also helped me build trust with my new reps and create a personalized onboarding flow for each agent.

      9. Customer success will become a competitive differentiator.

      Over the next five years, great customer success will become a critical competitive advantage for companies. As users prioritize faster response time and quality support, a good product simply won’t be enough to acquire or retain customers.

      To one-up the competition and win over your customers, you'll need a strong customer service setup. What goes into building this setup?

      • Airtight workflows and analytics.
      • Good cross-functional collaboration.
      • A balance between humans and technology.

      The big takeaway: Nearly half (47%) of companies believe increasing collaboration between sales, marketing, and customer success teams is the key to scaling CS operations and supporting business growth. The more connected your internal teams are, the better support you can deliver to your customers.

      10. Customer service decisions will be more data-driven.

      23% of leaders want to centralize customer data for strategic decision-making across all departments. This signals another trend in the customer service industry: As companies adopt new technology, CS teams will become much more dependent on analyzing the success of these programs through data.

      Not just that, support teams will also rely heavily on data to map the entire customer journey and identify roadblocks or points of friction in this journey. It’ll help them enhance the overall experience and build loyalty. Here’s a typical customer journey map:

      customer journey map

      The big takeaway: Customer service data will also help marketing and sales teams approach potential customers with stronger messaging and objection handling.

      For example, sales teams will want this data to understand relevant customer needs that they can touch on during their sales pitch. They can be one step ahead of buyers in answering key questions and driving sales.

      11. Social media will become a standard customer service tool.

      With social commerce on the rise, customers expect to access support on social channels more than ever before. They don’t want the hassle of finding a number to call or waiting in line to chat with a service rep.

      Social media is a convenient channel to access. But brands who don’t embrace this channel will likely damage their reputation. Most unhappy customers jump to Facebook, Instagram, or X (formerly Twitter) to share a grievance or criticize a brand.

      As a customer, I’ve been tempted to do this, too. If my package arrives squished or my hotel room isn’t clean at check-in and I can’t get a resolution, I want to post angrily on X. This criticism can create a domino effect, preventing potential customers from buying your products/services.

      The solution? Make customer service a core part of your social media strategy.

      The big takeaway: Whether this is a messaging service or a dedicated rep, businesses will need to devise a game plan that manages spontaneous social media interactions. This means that social media channels will become viable options for customers who are looking to submit feedback.

      Here’s a roadmap for companies to offer support via social media:

      social media customer service

      A great example? Once, I had to cancel my internet so I could move to a new apartment that had a different provider. I was able to get help on X through Astound Broadband’s profile. I had my questions sorted quickly and wished I could keep them as my provider.

      social media customer service, astound

      Image Source

      12. New technology will create new customer service positions.

      Some technology will become the catalyst for new customer service positions. For example, I expect augmented reality to pave the way for virtual assistants who can help customers learn how to use products and services.

      The big takeaway: With this tech, customers simulate a product with someone supporting them virtually to explain all the product features.

      Another role that will become popular is specialist. With more customer service mediums, reps will need to have specialized skills and knowledge to provide adequate support. Reps will dedicate themselves to individual channels to learn all of the intricacies they'll need to be successful.

      Some roles that we can expect to see are chat specialists, social media specialists, and onboarding specialists.

      13. Customer service reps will solve fewer problems.

      With AI and self-service channels gaining more ground, it’s clear that human-driven support will drastically decrease in the future. This is because smaller, less complicated issues will be solved by either the customer independently or by an AI bot.

      And that’s a great thing! As a rep, closing out an easy ticket felt great. However, if a more complex challenge came up, I knew that’s where I was needed.

      The big takeaway: Your reps will have more time to solve more difficult problems. In fact, 54% of customer success leaders expect support reps to be assisted by AI to resolve complex service requests.

      This scenario can significantly improve the customer experience because it allows your reps to deliver more personalized support. Instead of feeling the pressure of a growing case queue, customer service teams can be more thorough in their work and avoid costly troubleshooting errors.

      Additionally, with more support cases being solved by frontline customer service, your product experts can spend more time improving the product or service.

      14. The frontline service rep will be more flexible and empathetic.

      New technology will empower customer service reps and give them the tools they need to succeed in their roles. Reps will spend less time worrying about standard operating procedures and more time focusing on customers' needs.

      The big takeaway: With more time, customer service personnel will become much more flexible and empathetic. With fewer points of friction in their workflow, they'll be more encouraged to provide exceptional customer service.

      Get Ready for A New Approach to Customer Service

      Customer interactions are very different from what they used to be 10 years ago. And they’ll be completely different 10 years from now.

      That’s why you have to constantly revamp your customer service strategy to stay in tune with evolving expectations and keep your customers happy. This post will serve as a helpful checklist for iterating your CS strategy and building a clear roadmap for the next 10 years.

      Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.



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