Each year in Silicon Valley, we look forward to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report. This year’s 355-page presentation covers global and regional internet trends, explores consumer behavior data, and even dives into healthcare and gaming. Meeker’s recent report included several notable trends that contact centers can leverage as their customers and the technology they use evolve. We’re sharing the seven top customer service trends. Here are the key contact center takeaways from Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends report.

Contextual ads drive purchasing

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On page 23, Meeker dives into data showing that clicking on contextual ads on Facebook increases the likelihood of purchasing a product. The powerful stat here is that 26% of Facebook users that click on ads report making purchases based on the advertisement. This is incredibly high and is dependent on a number of factors including the urgency of needing an item, the context of the advertising content, and the relative cost of the purchase. Individuals who click on ads are more than 3x likely to make a subsequent purchase.

Contact center takeaways:

The contact center is the final piece of this purchasing puzzle. Once a customer sees an ad (for instance, a Facebook dark post or an ad embedded in Messenger), they need a reliable way of continuing the conversation. At Sparkcentral, we believe that your customer support team should be ready, willing, and able to provide helpful responses to Facebook advertisements. Whether or not you’re setting up bots and AI to aid customers, keep your digital care team in the loop with marketing efforts, especially when personalized messages are involved, as shown in Meeker’s slide.

Social media provides opportunities to improve service

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Meeker moves from social media advertising to the customer service experience on social channels. Customers report their top four ideas for organizations to improve in customer service:

  • Easier access to online support channels
  • Faster agent response times
  • Consistent customer experience across channels
  • Faster access to live support

Contact center takeaways:

This is huge for the contact center! The number one request your customers have is to be able to access online support channels easier. While this isn’t new information (hello, effortless experiences!), it is something to keep in mind as you continue to build, grow, and optimize your customer service initiatives. Are your customers able to easily locate your support channels? Have you provided them with the information they need to get service? Are you proactively reaching out to customers who mention your brand? Once you know that your customers can find your online support channels easily, work on improving response times, creating a consistent experience, and ensuring a smooth handoff from self-service or bots to a human agent.

Social media drives brand accountability and increases customer loyalty

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Customer expectations are higher than ever. With the prevalence of social media, it is easy to hold brands accountable when products or services fall short of these expectations. 82% of customers report being disloyal to a company following a bad experience.

Contact center takeaways:

This isn’t a concept that is unfamiliar to the contact center. Customer service agents have been resolving issues and answering questions for years. What Meeker’s report indicates is that providing a great customer experience is increasingly important. When four out of five customers will stop doing business with you after a bad customer experience, the contact center is key in reducing this disloyalty. Customer support teams can mitigate disloyalty by fully resolving customer issues.

The Facebook ecosystem continues to rapidly grow

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In this portion of her report, Meeker highlights the growth of video in the Facebook ecosystem (Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram). She includes an awesome chart revealing the monthly active user (MAU) data for each of these channels. Facebook Messenger, one of the newer channels in the Facebook ecosystem, is the star of this chart when it comes to MAU growth.

Contact center takeaways:

The best time to invest in digital messaging was years ago, but if you haven’t started yet – it’s today! Facebook Messenger is a great place to toe-dip into digital messaging channels. These messaging channels also include WeChat, in-app messaging, and aspects of social media channels like Twitter. Your customers are using Messenger at increasing rates and it’s easy to set up. As the ecosystem continues to develop, expect your customers to begin transacting on Messenger, not just interacting.

Consumers have doubled the amount of time spent on mobile devices

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Meeker, on slide 170, highlights the daily time spent by Americans consuming media. Here, “analog” includes television, radio, DVD/Blu-ray, and game consoles. While “digital” includes viewing media on multimedia devices (for example, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, smartphone, computer) in addition to spending time on the internet. From Q4 2014 to Q4 2016, Americans doubled the time spent on mobile and internet devices.

Contact center takeaways:

This presents a great opportunity for contact centers. As your customers spend more time on mobile devices, there is a great opportunity to interact with them on digital channels. It’s hard to ignore that customers want better access to online support channels, especially when they are already spending more time online.

Each generation is reducing time spent on traditional media channels

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In the next slide, Meeker breaks the Q4 2016 data down into age ranges. The younger the American, the less time they spend on traditional (“analog”) channels. This data from Nielsen also indicates that each new generation is moving toward a balance between “analog” and “digital” channels. 18-24 year-olds spend nearly half their time on “digital” channels. Compare that to 65+ year-olds who only spend 13% of their media time on mobile and multimedia devices.

Contact center takeaways:

Again, this is reinforcement that contact centers need to innovate for each generation. As younger generations spend less time consuming media in general, but more of that time is spent on mobile devices, you must be prepared to meet them where they are. The future of the contact center is highly personal, digitally engaging, and effortless for both customer service agents and the customers they are serving.

China has doubled time spent on mobile devices since November 2014

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Later in her report, Mary Meeker takes a look at internet trends in China. Since November 2014, the Chinese population has doubled their time spent on mobile internet. The leading channel is a messaging ecosystem, WeChat. WeChat is an over-the-top messaging application (think Facebook Messenger, but in China) that has soared in popularity in Asia and is expanding to other regions. In China, WeChat users can make purchases, send messages, and more, so it’s unsurprising that it is the application of choice.

Contact center takeaways:

If you do business in China, WeChat should be on your radar. Like many popular messaging apps, the API is relatively new, but contact center software can support WeChat along with Messenger to fully serve a global customer base. As WeChat continues to evolve in China and expand throughout the rest of the world, contact centers must keep this platform in mind.

Leverage Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends report with software built for a modern contact center

Has Meeker convinced you that it’s time to prepare your customer service team for the future? Don’t waste a single minute! Get software that is built for your contact center both today and in the future. Leverage technology built to scale effortless experiences. To learn more about Sparkcentral’s Customer Engagement Platform, send us a message!

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