The top 5 customer support trends for 2022

Customer support pioneer Intercom reveals how the customer expectation gap is widening at the same time customer support teams are overwhelmed.

After almost two years of grappling with the global pandemic, Intercom has revealed how forward-thinking businesses embraced conversational support tools like proactive messaging and chatbots to strike the balance between keeping teams efficient and customers happy.

According to the latest Intercom Customer Support Trends Report, the business world is now at a critical tipping point where all businesses need to embrace change or risk losing valuable customers and talented teammates.

“The savvy businesses that are embracing change and adapting their customer support tools, technology, processes and recruitment are thriving”

The survey of more than 1,200 global support leaders across a range of sectors from tech to e-commerce and finance reveals that support teams are facing more pressures than ever before.

How to satisfy customers and keep top talent

“With widespread change and increased pressures come new opportunities to rethink, reassess and reinvent,” explained Bobby Stapleton, director of Customer Support at Intercom.

“The savvy businesses that are embracing change and adapting their customer support tools, technology, processes and recruitment are thriving. They will continue to do so for the year ahead and beyond.”

The top five trends transforming customer support teams in 2022 include:

1. The customer expectation gap widens

A growing customer expectation gap amplified by the many challenges of the global pandemic, including spikes in inbound queries and budget cuts. Tellingly, 75% of support teams have seen customer expectations increase, but only 34% are confident they can meet those expectations.

2. Support team agility is no longer optional

Support teams are under more pressure than ever before, facing down the challenges of working from home during the pandemic (which has negatively impacted the performance of 52% of customer support teams), budget cuts and reduced headcounts (52% of organisations have had to decrease headcount due to Covid-19).

3. The need for a connected tech stack escalates

Being slowed down by disconnected tech stacks. Almost half (47%) of support teams are slowed down every week because their tools aren’t integrated.

4. Support leaders fight against team burnout and attrition

Increased team burnout and attrition heightened by reduced headcount, an influx of queries from stressed-out customers, and the dawn of “The Great Resignation.” A significant 64% of support leaders say their team have felt “burned out” in the past 12 months.

5. Customer empathy is more important than ever

Lack of modern technology to provide empathetic support at internet scale. Some 73% of customer support teams say that empathizing with customers is a top priority, but 21% don’t feel they have the tools they need to enable appropriate empathy.

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.