At first glance, customer service isn’t the sexiest of business topics to discuss. But failure to offer a high-quality service to your customers will likely lead to those customers going elsewhere!

This begs the question, in 2024, what makes great customer service? Well, the younger generation has  actually answered that question for us. To them, it’s not so much about customer service but personal service. 85% of Gen Z consumers are interested in receiving personalised offers from brands. Here’s why that should be music to the ears of every small business owner.

Customer service trends in 2024

There’s no doubt that the internet has made things a little more personal. Companies can address customers by name in emails, discount codes can be sent via email on your birthday and so on.

But as the use of tactics like the ones mentioned above increases, their impact goes in the opposite direction. Customers and web users have become savvy to marketing tactics, and what was once seen as a personal touch now goes unnoticed.  

In 2024, brands have to think again when it comes to customer service. AI and technology make it easier than ever for brands to shove customers into a one-size-fits-all, or rather a one-email-sent-to-all, approach. And the vast majority of big brands are grabbing this opportunity with both hands.

In short, customer service is struggling in 2024. As consumers demand a more personalised experience, brands are going in the opposite direction.

Customer service as an opportunity for small businesses in 2024

As the old saying goes, one person’s loss is another person’s gain. Or in this case, one business’s loss is another business’s gain. The lack of personalisation from big brands presents a golden opportunity for small businesses. 

Small businesses have fewer customers, fewer stores and fewer employees to pass proposals through. As a result, they can be more spontaneous than global corporations and be a little more off-the-cuff when it comes to customer service and marketing strategy.

How to offer personalised customer service  

Hand-written messages

Starbucks staff writing your name on your cup is a tiny gesture that goes a long way towards making your experience with the brand more personal. It’s also a rare example of a global brand getting personal with its customers.

In fact, hand-written messages trump an email or mass-printed letter every day of the week when it comes to offering a personal touch. It creates a 1-of-1 feeling; that Starbucks paper cup suddenly becomes unique to you. 

Remember this if you’re in an ‘unsexy’ industry like insurance; maybe you’re a credit insurance broker or you offer types of insurance like bad debt insurance or pet insurance. You might think you can’t offer a personalised experience for clients but this isn’t true. Let’s say a client looks to claim on their insurance after a pet becomes ill. In this case, a hand-written ‘sorry for your loss’ note could be the perfect act of personalisation and customer service.

Personalised gifts

Speaking of pets, Chewy, an online retailer of pet products, goes one step further and demonstrates how personalised gifts can be used to retain customers. Pet owners who have cancelled their subscriptions due to the death of a pet have reported receiving flowers upon leaving the company. A great example of personalised after-sales customer service and one that is likely to see them return as a customer again in the future.

Telephone service

Finally, in a world full of chatbots, don’t underestimate the power of speaking to your consumers. And by that, speaking does not mean typing! Offering round-the-clock support via telephone is a great way to differentiate yourself in 2024.

Many small businesses can get by with only a handful of customers. In this case, businesses can even strike up a personal relationship with shoppers or clients. But big businesses, don’t think you’re too big for this one; Zappos offers a 24/7 customer service phone line despite being a billion-dollar business!

By lalae

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