Uncovering New Capabilities for Customer Services in the Face of Digital Transformation
The digital age has completely transformed the way customers shop and share their experiences. A reformation of customer service has taken place as it has become more radical, far-reaching and is being fully driven by customers. Customers are wholly exploiting the online mediums such as websites, social media and blogs and by the time they decide to buy anything, they know what they want and how much they want to pay. Even when the sale is closed, they do not afraid to use those same channels to shame those brands that do not meet their expectations in terms of product or quality of service. This seems to be a major concern for businesses these days.
However, it has a positive side as well. The emergence of new channels and technologies have brought along fresh and better opportunities for brands to stand out from the competition. It has opened up opportunities to stay close to the customer always, to build an ongoing dialogue with the customer, to learn from the customer and to create a product that perfectly resonates with the needs of the customer. Building and fostering long-term relationships with customers is the need of the hour which means focus on customer journey and not just on a single purchase.
By developing these 4 new capabilities, organizations can improve their customer service and gain competitive advantage in this era of digitalization:
Omni-channel Customer Interactions
Organizations need to focus on the entire customer journey and not just optimize individual contact points. Today, customers use multiple touchpoints, irrespective of time, place, device or channel, to get in touch with a service provider and expect an integrated and seamless experience. In order to drive loyalty and repeat sales, businesses must differentiate customer experiences by building unified and proactive cross channel services.
Omni-channel customer service requires businesses to blend digital channels (mobile, website, social media) with traditional channels (call center, physical stores). Users should be empowered to switch between channels with ease and without needing to repeat information.
Customers should be allowed to interact with a brand on their preferred channel. Companies must also invest in up-front service notifications as customers expect them to be proactive and send advance notifications on product launches, discounts or payment reminders.
Creating Loyalty through Customer Service
The adoption of technology has created greater transparency of business practices. Customers have huge access to information than ever before. They rely on online mediums and ask for suggestions from others to take a purchasing decision. Both good and bad customer experiences may reach a million of potential customers within seconds. So, businesses need to create lasting relationships with any customer whom they win as can’t afford to loose any. Customer service agents must be trained to act like relationship builders. They should not just be capable of handling customer’s issues but should also be well equipped with enough information and responses that can guide the customers along their buying path.
Customer service staff should be measured on appropriate KPIs and not merely on efficiency metrics such as average handling time and call volumes per agent. Companies should give more value to metrics like Net Promoter Score and Customer Lifetime Value that can measure effectiveness of service teams. There is a need to balance both efficiency and quality of service.
Nurturing Customer Communities
With the advancement in technology, businesses can easily leverage their customers as a resource to provide product development ideas. They are the best people to know where your product falls short and what are the solutions to the common issues. Building customer communities on online platforms and social media will enable companies to drive greater engagement and contribution from its customers. If executed well, this approach can lead to reduced inbound support calls, improved word of mouth and better product design.
Engaging User Experiences
As customers heavily use online channels to interact with a brand, there is a need to improve the quality of user interfaces as it significantly impacts customers’ perception. Companies must invest in user experiences along with the implementation of digital services. They need to focus not only on fostering innovations that result into the best possible experience but also on testing those innovations frequently and at an early stage to ensure everything is in place. This will help in improving customer satisfaction and brand recognition and help businesses to gain competitive advantage.