Customer Support Academy

Customer Support Trends 2023

Discover 2023's hottest customer support trends  — sourced from the newest reports, leading experts, and our own in-house, fresh-off-the-shelf market research.
Start module

By the end of this module you’ll know:

  • Why business leaders are betting on retention next year
  • How CS departments can not only save your business money, but actively generate revenue
  • Why it's a good idea to start serving customers asynchronously vs. only on real-time channels
  • How CX will power more creative and rewarding careers in 2023 -- and how business leaders will benefit
13 min. Clock

2023 trend stats at a glance

#1 The majority of business leaders say that zoning in on customer retention is the #1 change they want to implement next year
36% of businesses are generating direct revenue with customer support automation
68% of business leaders say channels like email and WhatsApp have most rapidly grown in popularity in 2022
90% of organizations have a Chief Experience Officer or Chief Customer Officer

Trend 1: Customer retention as priority #1


Except for the 2008 crisis, economic growth across the globe in 2023 is predicted to be the slowest it’s been in 20+ years. 

“I haven't been on a customer call in the past two months where someone didn't mention ‘do more with less’ as their top priority for 2023,” recalls Ultimate's CEO and Co-founder, Reetu Kainulainen. And this sentiment is shared by the top CX leaders out there, according to our research.

One of the most common ways businesses across the world are meeting this challenge head on is by shifting their focus from acquisition to retention. There are two simple reasons why: It’s cheaper and way less risky than trying to wow new customers from scratch.

How to retain customers in 2023


Check in with your customers

Put together a customer journey team to follow CX journeys and optimize them where customers are getting stuck.


Dive into your customer data

Track Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) and repurchase rates to measure the value brand loyalty brings.


Offer cohesive experiences

Customers hate unpleasant surprises - especially those that'll cost them time or money. Dependability builds trust.


As businesses are forced to grapple with new and creative ways to drive profit, they’re reevaluating the traditionally reactive role of customer support. They can't afford not to.

So how do you get your support to start paying for itself?

Incentivize your agents, reduce silos between sales and support, and systematically harness your CS team’s proximity to customers for insights to better serve them. Then, invest in the right tools to track the additional value you're generating this way.

“Return rates drastically increased in 2022. Your support team can do more than just process those returns. They can suggest items that can be exchanged at equal or higher value.”

Hosam Hassan
Solution Architect, Ultimate

How to generate revenue with CS


Upskill to cross-sell

Train your support agents to know more about your product, then involve them on every step of the customer journey, including pre- and post sales.


Incentivize for long-term value

Disengaged reps are much more likely to look for a new job than engaged reps. Incentivize your agents with a raise or promotion to generate value instead of footing the bill when they churn.


Track your revenue with tech

44% of our respondents weren't sure if CS automation was helping them generate revenue. Follow Telia's example and use technology to scale proactive support and track results from it!

Customer support trendsetters to follow in 2023


Shameem Smillie

Founding member, Women in CX


Hosam Hassan

CS Automation Expert, Ultimate


Brittany Hodak

CX Expert & Keynote Speaker


Maneesha Bhusal

CX Leader of the Year


Hans van Dam

CEO, Conversation Design Institute


Jo Causon

CEO, Institute of Customer Service

Trend 3: Customers want you to meet them when & where is convenient for them


Consumers have had it with phone queues, and businesses are taking note.

It's become commonplace to handle our life admin while brushing our teeth, between meetings, or while we’re stuck in traffic. The way we communicate digitally supports this shift: Asynchronous messaging, meaning messages we send over hours or days (vs. in real time), is on the rise.  

WhatApp and Facebook messenger are quickly rising as go-tos for this type of support, but the old customer support evergreen email continues to hold its own.

“Smart CS teams need to wake up and prioritize communicating with their customers whenever and wherever they want.”

Kimberley Wood
VP of Customer Success, Ultimate

How to go async


Take your time & do it right

More channels = more volumes. Take your time to understand how new channels work and make sure you don't overwhelm your team -- and risk your customers' trust -- with a sudden spike in requests.


Adapt your success metrics

Async comms is a different beast to real-time chatting. For example, speed won't be your top KPI, resolution will. Focus on resolution and CSAT over AHT.


Manage all channels in one place

Async conversations can stretch over days, weeks, even months. Use automation to manage them all in one place -- your CRM -- so your customers NEVER have to bring you up to speed.

Trend 4: CX goes C-Level


Customer experience is a key differentiator when it comes to consumers’ buying decisions, with 86% of consumers willing to pay more for a better experience. Knowing this, industry leaders are allocating funds to an area of business that has become more than a nice-to-have.

In 2023, a forward-thinking CX strategy has become a non-negotiable. It's connected to all of the trends we've covered on this page: retaining customers, creating revenue, and harnessing a growing appetite for async comms. This is why we’re going to see more top talent starting careers in CX — and making it to the very top.

“It’s been a revelation to see the C-Suite incorporate CX roles. This means CX is top of mind within senior leadership.”

Shameem Smillie
Founding member, Women in CX

How to create more rewarding CX careers


Turn CS agents into CX leaders

Customer support doesn't have to be a stopgap for anyone. Leverage their knowledge of your product, customers, and processes for more strategic roles.


Invest in enablement

Provide management and strategy training to equip your team with all the accompanying skills they need to move up to the C-Level and beyond.


Improve ROI with automation

Use automation to take care of the simple, repetitive tasks that are holding your agents back on their trajectories to more rewarding careers.


Be a 2023 trendsetter

Want to dive even deeper into 2023's hottest CS trends and statistics? Grab your Ultimate 2023 Trends Guide now.



These trends were forecast by collating data from three sources.

First, we conducted two Ultimate-led surveys — one with respondents who have already embraced automation, and one with business leaders from our wider community that includes influencers and industry experts. The findings from these two surveys were then triangulated with anonymized usage data from more than 100 of our customers. 


Keep learning

Browse the Customer Support Academy for more courses on how to improve customer support