For any online business, it is essential to maintain up-to-date customer information, so that they can provide exceptional customer service. When they learn about their customers, they are able to evolve over time, which allows them to;
- Better understand their customer’s needs
- Get an idea of what kind of offers will be able to generate the most responses from the customers
- Be able to address any complaints so that they can work on their customer service
However, understanding customers is still considered a challenge for many online businesses, with the added pressure of keeping up with the changing times, and it will be discussed in this article.
Why is the Customer Service Changing?
Information technology is always changing in ways that we couldn’t even imagine a few decades ago. Everyone is hooked on their devices wherever they go, and they use these devices to perform every activity from banking transactions to booking flights. With the help of technology, artificial technology is gradually permeating into our lives through voice-activated assistants such as Siri, Alexa, etc.
In the customer service industry, the customer has complete control over all their interactions with the brands; they decide how and when to make a service request, what channels to use for complaints, etc.
In response to that, businesses have the choice to transform the way they engage with their customers by developing new means of online communication. The priority of every business should be where they want to meet the customer, rather than making them use a particular channel to reach out to them. Nowadays, if businesses only have the option of phone numbers for customer support, it creates a bad image of the brand in the customers’ minds. Comcast Xfinity, which is one of the largest internet service providers in the US, has multiple channels of communication, such as email, phone, live chat, social media, etc., for customers to use to be able to get to the Xfinity customer service department.
New Digital Customer Service Channels
An average customer uses around 20 different channels to reach out to the customer service of any business. Phones and emails still have a near-universal adoption level, but the following channels of communication still beat them at being the best digital customer service channels of communication;
Live Chat. Customers can send an on-screen message to any customer support agents. Live chats are cross-matched to the customer’s profile, through which they are transferred to appropriate experts or even receive multilingual support if required.
Social Media. Currently, many companies are using social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. to identify and interact with their customers. There are language detection techniques (which include the use of keywords and classifiers) that allow for sentiments to be tracked accurately.
Chatbots. This is an example of AI in customer service. This was designed to gather case information from the customer and enable self-service, all the while allowing customer support agents to focus on more complex queries. The technology of chatbots can be used on mobile devices, messaging platforms, and web browsers.
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Improving Customer Support
When businesses don’t understand their customers’ needs, it can create a huge gap between what kind of online support that customers want and what the business is delivering. Brands should consider the following strategic points;
- Improve product knowledge; the online customer support teams should know about the products, inside out
- Consider customers’ needs; if your customers are navigating your website, make sure they find the answers right there
- Provide options for self-service; some customers don’t prefer asking for help about every little thing
- Create content; create e-books, webinars, and videos, as to help customers find information from there
Adopt an omnichannel strategy. The customer interaction with the agent should not be limited to just one interaction or one department. The omnichannel strategy allows for collaboration across all departments or units of the company. For instance, a customer who makes an online purchase should be able to return the product to the company’s nearest physical location, which can be anywhere in the country. Or if a customer reaches out to an agent, that agent should have access to the customer’s previous interaction with another agent.
In the end, caring about the needs of the customers and exceeding their expectations is what great customer service is all about. There might be so much hype about how AI is taking over customer service jobs, but in actuality, it is a way of equipping the customers with the best possible technology to get their issues across.