Customer service remains to be a top priority among companies regardless of how technologically savvy the firm is. Customers are the lifeblood of any business. As such, delighting them is one way of ensuring that they will come back and continue doing business with you. Let’s take a look at how customer service had changed at this Digital Age.
Why digital matters
Before we can map out the changes, it would be advisable to discuss the importance of digital channels. Primarily, the advent of these channels dramatically changed the way consumers are searching for products and services and communicating with the companies.
According to John Joseph, co-founder of DataGravity, a data solutions provider, we are living in an age wherein everyone is constantly connected to one another. Technology provides modern firms the capability of corresponding with customers in a more efficient manner.
Thereby, digital channels help in further bridging the gap between the customers and companies. These channels now represent a paradigm shift in making customers 100% satisfied.
What are the changes
1) Customer support
Assistance given to the prospects and customers is limited with manuals, marketing materials and phone and email conversations. In lieu with phone conversations, customers are passed on from one person to another before it reaches the manager. That was before.
Today, there are how-to’s, video demos, buying guides, etc. Some companies offer an interactive experience before the prospect makes an informed decision. In some instances, a customer can post a question on the brand’s Facebook page and receive a response in real-time. No more waiting on long queues in front of customer service booths.
2) Customer feedback
Firms usually disseminate customer survey form and hope for a high response rate. Some firms simply put the form atop the reception table for customers to pick one and answer while there are early adopters that cold call and email blast previous customers. Given the long process, in time the survey results are generated and analyzed, these results would not be as relevant as they would be earlier in the process.
Presently, soliciting feedback at the point of experience is possible. Publishing reviews – good or bad – is also real-time due to the availability and accessibility of mobile devices. In fact, customers can share their experiences with the brand almost instantly. Further, customers now find an ideal venue to complain about a product or service. On the part of the companies, they are given the opportunity to respond and solve the issue at the fastest time possible. Polls and surveys can be easily administered online, leading to forming real and qualitative insights from the customers.
3) Customer relationship
Relationships are built, and it almost always took several months and transactions to earn a loyal customer. Unfortunately, the relationships built tend to be ‘segmented’ wherein companies contact them again for purely promotional purposes.
Nowadays, brand advocacy is easier now that connecting with the customers on a consistent basis is possible. Engagement at the individual level is much more appropriate in gaining insights regarding what the customers really need and want. With this, modern firms can now offer personalized value at all touch points even without a face-to-face interaction.
Customer service is non-negotiable more so today where firms are engaged in a form of digital channel. Most of the aspects of customer service improved especially in terms of cadence and style of interacting with the customers. However, going digital is not an excuse to abandon the traditional customer service channels. There should be a right service mix between traditional and digital customer service provision.