Why Customer Services Must Change
Have you ever wondered how to improve customer satisfaction using technology?
We live in a time where we all want things faster and cheaper than ever before. Technology is very much at the heart of this as it continues to fundamentally change the way we all do things, whether we are a consumer or a business.
As we become increasingly reliant on technology in our day-to-day lives and our level of online interconnectivity reaches new horizons, we begin to demand more capability as well as seamless user experience (UX).
So, what’s next?
Most people now have access to smartphones, with statistics showing that 79% of adults in the UK are smartphone users.
Despite this, younger generations shy away from having phone conversations, opting instead for communicating in a way that suits them. This means less time spent communicating via phone and email and an increase in Chat, messaging, SMS and social media as forms of communication.
The common denominator is that the tools younger generations are using require minimal effort and maximise on that all-important UX.
So how can we use technology to stay ahead of the curve and develop the customer experience within your business while simultaneously improving efficiency and reducing costs?
Adopting a Single Customer View
Your customers want you to have a single view of their interaction with you. For example, if their communication with you starts on Chat, they will expect when they phone or message in later that your CRM has an up to date record of the conversation.
If the customer calls, and you have no way of aligning their call with the previous communication you had with them, the customer will be left feeling frustrated and more likely to opt for one of your competitors.
But what technology do you need to implement to make sure this doesn’t happen? Your phone system will need to have a speech-to-text conversion so that your agents can quickly scan conversations for relevant information.
It wasn’t that long ago when the vast majority of communication was done via phone calls, that then went to email. However, we are constantly propelled forward by digital disruption, so whatever means of communication we’re using now is most likely going to change in the future.
Right now, messaging is starting to dominate. A digitally native population will happily use whichever channel is most convenient and will expect the same seamless experience across every channel they use.
The Changing Role of the Customer Services Agent
The increase in the number of methods by which a customer can communicate with you means that the traditional role of somebody in a customer services role is changing considerably.
An individual agent will need access to all channels that a customer may use. This means not only having access to the phone but also Chat, messaging, SMS and social media. They also need a CRM system that integrates and supports all these technologies.
Talk to the Right Person
With new advances in technology, there is a greater expectation from consumers that they will be directed straight to somebody who can help them.
Traditionally on phone systems, this has been executed via the voice menus that present you with a few options. However, this can generally be a frustrating process for the caller and so tends to be avoided if possible.
With better speech analytics, increased use of Chat and artificial intelligence (AI), customers being able to make a call or start a Chat and, after being asked a few targeted questions which are interpreted by AI, being put through to the right person should be common practice.
Having this kind of system in place dramatically improves the customers’ experience and reduces double handling of calls and the need for repetition of information from the customer.
Managing Peaks in Demand
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to have the right number of staff answering customer service calls. There will always be peaks in demand.
This can make it challenging to meet customers expectations. A recent survey found that a fast response time is the most important aspect of the customer experience for 75% of customers. If during your peak times you aren’t reaching customers fast enough, the statistics indicate that you’ll have a big customer drop-off rate.
So what’s the solution? Those who are about to start waiting should be given an opportunity to hold their place in the queue while being able to can go off and do something else in the knowledge that their position in the queue is secure, and when an operator becomes available, they are immediately called back or notified that the agent has become free and is able to handle the query.
Implementing this kind of customer service can immediately set you apart from your competitors, especially if they’re still stuck using traditional phone systems, or even worse, only playing hold music until someone is available.
With more people living a “blended” lifestyle, where work and home life are often intermixed, customers want access to resources that will help them solve their problems regardless of the time of day or day of the week. This means that technology has to be used to provide self-service support.
Better Data on Customer Behaviour
In order to improve customer satisfaction using technology, we ultimately need better data on the behaviour of our customers. We need to be able to collect and analyse data easily. We need tools like speech analytics that understand tone and emotion so that we can understand what drives customer behaviour.
By using technology, we can bring together all the communication channels to the right customer services person and present the right information so that the customer never has to repeat themselves; the employee has a single view of the customer regardless of which channel has been used in the interaction.
Overall, how to improve customer satisfaction using technology is all about embracing new technologies and digital disruptions that fundamentally transform the customer’s user experience.
From quick response times and self-service to in-depth data collection, every system needs to be aligned and work in conjunction with the other to avoid fragmentation within your customer service strategy.
If you’ve only just begun to consider implementing a more effective customer service model, it can be challenging to know where to start. If you’re in this position, get in touch with a digital marketing expert who can provide you with the right help and advice.
If you’d like more information on how to improve customer satisfaction using technology, KUB is here to help. Get in touch to see how you could be growing your business by innovating your digital marketing strategy.