7 key ways technology will reshape customer service
Customer service is an integral part of any business. A good customer service strategy is a linchpin requirement for the existence of an organization. The world at large has increasingly become tech-savvy thanks to technologies like cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data analytics, blockchain, etc.
Technology has scaled unfathomable heights that today we have services based on ‘anything‘, known as Anything as a Service/ Everything as a Service (XaaS). Satisfying the customers has become all the more important for organizations in this test for survival.
In Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report,96% of the customers identified customer service as the major metric in determining customer loyalty.
Customer expectations are changing day after day, breaking the barriers of demographics. The ultimate answer to this ever-changing customer demand is adopting the appropriate technology. Technology plays a pivotal role in providing the most appropriate service at the right time in the ‘right manner’ to your customer. The ‘right manner’ is ultimately the discretion of the customer. What you may think of as the ‘right manner’ may not be the one for your customer. Merely having the technologies at hand will not serve the purpose.
You should have the best combination of technology, a well-trained and dedicated workforce, organizational commitment, etc to ensure that you offer your customer cent percent success. Having seen the importance of technology in providing quality customer service, let’s see how technology reshapes the future of customer service and how staying updated with the latest technologies will help you in this ongoing quest for customer success.
How Technology Impacts Customer Support and Services
1) Omnichannel Service based Customer Support
Omnichannel support involves the syncing of the available customer channels to provide a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints. Gladly’s 2020 Customer Expectations Report says that 86% of customers expect organizations and enterprises to support them across channels. A survey conducted by Zendesk reveals that about 64% of customers expect real-time support and assistance.
There are numerous channels that customers rely on for support like email, phone calls, service desks, live chat, in-app chat, chatbots, text messages, social media, self-service channels, etc. Omnichannel support ensures that customers can reach you through multiple channels and they need not get to the bottom of an issue while reaching out each time. There is a seamless flow of information in an omnichannel system and hence customer agents can track the history of conversations they had with a particular customer thus enabling better redressal of the problem.
Starbucks, one of the leading beverage chains in the world has implemented this service model. They make use of in-store interactions, mobile applications, etc to stay connected with their customers allowing them to order, track, pay or get the latest updates via their devices.
2) Data-driven decision-making to Gain Better Customer Insights
To improve customer experience, you can leverage the insights that are gained from data using analytics tools. A data-driven approach to customer service comprises three elements: people, data, and processes. Technology has grown beyond limits thus enabling enterprises to gain exhaustive and comprehensive information about their customers.
Data management and analysis tools can enable you to make better sense of the data by organizing and contextualizing it to derive better insights. This data can be sourced from customer experiences, customer interactions, surveys, etc. By carefully analyzing and studying customer interactions that have taken place for the past few months or so, you can get to the core of the issue and gain deeper insights into the general concerns that commonly plague your customers.
3) Customer Self-Service
There are quite a few customers who may not be looking for the service of customer service personnel. It is in this context that self-service resources come into the picture. Trivial and less complicated issues can easily be addressed without reaching out to service personnel. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page comprises the common and generic issues regarding a specific product or a service.
FAQ pages are an integral part of navigation and the customer journey for most websites. You can create a detailed FAQ page consisting of the commonly addressed questions and provide access to related tutorials, automated responses, backlinks, etc. Self-help resources also enable you to offload the customer service teams thus enabling them to direct their time and energy on addressing high-priority customer concerns. An FAQ page also serves as a great channel for organic search. It can redirect people who may not even know about your company to your website as their search query provided an answer that was on your website.
4) Video-Based Customer Support
A study conducted by Webhelp research reveals that video chat for customer support has seen 70% growth. Video Marketing Statistics 2016 Survey: The State of Video Marketing, reveals that 61 % of businesses use video as a marketing tool. You can provide video support either through video voicemail services like Loom or Video conference-based platforms like Zoom.
Video support solutions enable customers and clients to directly connect with a customer support agent and get their concerns resolved in real-time. Video support has replaced reactive customer support channels like phone and email. Also, the responses are assured and faster. Video chat solutions also help in establishing a strong relationship between the customer and the organization in general. This can enable you to cross-sell and upsell some of your products. Video chat also serves as the best channel for customer engagement and ultimately provides a better customer experience.
5) New Customer Support Positions will be Created by Advanced Technology
Some twenty years before or so, there were no job designations like social media manager, social media consultant, community manager, etc simply because there were no social media at that time. New technologies will revolutionize the operations of customer service. There will be new customer service designations will be created in the immediate future with the arrival of new technologies. For instance, the prevalence of Augmented Reality (AR) will lead the way to virtual assistants which can assist customers in using your products and services. Customers can simulate your product and they will be supported by your agents who can enable them to get acquainted with the product. With more and more customer service channels and mediums coming to the fore, customer agents need to have the proper skills to provide the required support.
6) Remote work will become common
The modern workplace is no longer characterized by large and furnished office spaces but is correlated with remote working, teleconferencing, cross-functional environments, etc. Workspaces are no longer confined to any specific location and have become interconnected, thanks to remote technologies. Customer support agents are no longer confined to call centers. Technology has enabled customer service representatives to sit within the comfort of their homes and assist customers. The customer support channels like live chats, emails, in-app chats, etc can be operated outside the office limits even from devices like smartphones, tablets, etc breaking the constraints of geographic limits.
7) Internet Bots
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has resulted in the emergence of chatbots. Chatbots are mainly used to provide customer support at a first-line level. Bots are mainly trained to act upon an existing knowledge base and hence cannot assist customers if their queries are beyond the precincts of the knowledge base which is used to train the bots. In such cases, human intervention is required. Bots are capable of handling only trivial and repetitive tasks. Also, the bots cannot compensate for the level of personalization that is provided by a customer service agent.
Technology has changed the very concept of the workspace. The COVID-19 pandemic has in fact presented us with the untapped potential of digital technologies and how these technologies spearheaded white-collar services like IT to function when the whole world was brought to a state of inactivity.
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