We are moving past the days of waiting on hold while a representative from somewhere around the world tries to answer our questions. Technology has changed the way we do business and the relationships between consumers and firms. These digital optimizations will only grow more commonplace as both parties begin to see more value.
To maximize the potential of this technology, firms need to get ahead of these trends so they can plan an implementation strategy.
The most obvious trend going forward will be the necessary increase in data protection and privacy laws. For our purposes, this blog will focus on the adaptations of digital customer service rather than the security aspects moving forward.
Customer Self-Service vs. Agent-Assisted Service
Customer self-service is electronic support allowing the consumer to use information and techniques online to resolve a pain point. This process does not need a live customer service representative, as the consumer finds the solution using the available resources.
Agent-assisted service is the more traditional approach to customer service, where the consumer contacts a live representative to discuss potential solutions to their pain point. This can be established through in-house technical support or from an outsourced customer service provider.
A consumer's goal when reaching out to customer service is to solve a pain point quickly and easily. Yet, finding the most efficient way to address customer concerns is still up for debate.
In the early days of customer service, picking up a phone and reaching out to a call center was the only way to address concerns. Over the years, technological innovations have introduced new forms of communication including in-app support, text messaging, and chatbots.
Yet, are these forms of communication more effective for consumers? It has been found that 2 out of 3 consumers prefer to contact a representative when facing a pain point. Altering consumer behavior is a challenge for all firms, so the value of investing into these advanced service assistants will be debated until consumers are more comfortable using the technology.
Customer Service Through Social Media
In recent years, social media has become a powerful tool for both word of mouth marketing and influencer marketing. Now, firms are finding value in customer service through social media platforms because it allows them to live-track customer concerns. But, this strategy only works if proper business standards are created. Customer service standards tend to address three primary information needs…
- Message timeliness
- Information accuracy
- Posting appropriateness
Using social media best practices is critical when addressing customer service because a large audience of current and potential customers will be watching.
The growth of analytics in business has allowed firms to become more proactive when handling customer concerns. Firms can now find consumer patterns allowing them to create predictive models to hone in on potential problems and address those consumers before they have a negative experience. This predictive model optimizes the customer service experience because firms can limit service calls, resulting in reduced costs.
In recent years, software companies have found success with messenger apps such as WhatsApp, Yahoo Messenger, Snapchat, and Nimbuzz, to name a few. Based on the success of these “chat apps” it was only a matter of time before they were integrated into business strategy.
What if instead of sitting on hold or waiting for an email response, you could have all your customer service questions answered on Facebook? That’s the goal of Facebook’s leadership, to encourage users to choose their messenger app or WhatsApp for all their consumer communication needs. This software repositioning would roll out customer service capabilities that would end the need for private vendors to handle customer support. It’s clear that the value of quick, convenient communication will make messenger apps a viable and cheaper option for future customer service needs.
Customer Experience Strategies
A customer experience strategy is a framework that defines guidance for all interactions between a consumer and the firm. It’s important that all levels of the firm are incorporated into the strategic development because it impacts many layers of corporate positioning. Each team within a firm has a different perspective on how the customer experience should be presented. Effective customer experience strategies combine creativity and customer intelligence data to best pursue customer retention.
As firms continue to strive to better understand consumer behavior, digital customer service trends will only grow in use. A few of these trends may become cornerstones of future business strategies, while others may become obsolete as customer service technology continues to develop. No matter what the future holds, digital customer service strategies will become discussion points for firms across the business world as customer satisfaction remains the key to long-term success.
Illumine8 Marketing & PR would enjoy hearing your voice on the impact of technological innovations moving forward in 2018. Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.