Over the past decade, the importance of digital customer service has increased tremendously as more and more people start using digital devices. Customer service has always been one of the most challenging domains of a business, since every customer has unique needs. The popularity of technology presents another challenge to deliver quality customer service experience through online means. A recent report published by McKinsey & Company, titled ‘Why companies should care about e-care’ revealed that customer satisfaction levels increased from 57% to 76% by going digital. Customers are active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which means customer service needs to be up and running every second of the day too. Here are some essentials for businesses that are vital to enhance digital customer experience!
The use of internet for communication and customer service has made the process a lot faster and convenient, but it has its own set of problems. Companies need to go an extra mile to address these problems in order to effectively serve their customers. Communication is spread over multiple channels, which tends to create confusion for customers, in addition to complex designs and clutter which further add to the confusion and complexity. The 2012 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer revealed that at least 8 customers of out 10 have abandoned a transaction due to poor customer service experience.
Companies should develop online portals and interfaces in such a manner that it allows users to navigate easily without requiring technical help. The interface design should make the customer feel in control, which can be done through removal of superficial layers of complexity in the system. Moreover, the check-out mechanism should be easy to understand and navigate. Digital customer service revolves around pro-active assistance covering all bases including social media, emails and live chat.
Nothing makes customers more reluctant to conduct online transactions than running the risk of identity theft or fraud. In the internet economy, customer service is not only limited to assistance and communication, but it also includes assurance of safe and secure transactions. Companies need to put in place all necessary security protocols in order to protect customers’ privacy and security of their transactions. Companies need to deploy multiple encryption layers and follow stringent payments protocols, so that customers feel comfortable while carrying out various transactions.
One of the perils of digital customer service includes a loss of personal touch and excessive mechanization of the process. Customers appreciate and demand some level of personal touch, even via digital channels. This can be achieved through personalized recommendation based on users’ search history, preferences and profiles when they are looking for products/services. Additionally, availability of telephonic assistance should also be arranged to personally deal with customers. Some websites offer customized products and services, where customers can design their own products according to their needs and have them delivered without any extra cost or expenses. Adding online customer support with tools such as live chat can help improve the customer experience with chat representatives helping out customers in real time.
A survey of US consumers in 2014 revealed that 91% of US consumers believe that their mobiles phones are as important as their cars. This reflects the increasing presence of mobile phones in the lives of consumers, which is why companies need to develop mobile apps in order to facilitate seamless and smooth customer service experience. Mobile apps come with a unique ability of being tweaked to meet the needs of the customers. Many apps allow favorite menus with flexible app structure to allow convenience and refined experience for customers. Apps enable customers to conduct transactions and communicate with customer service staff on the go, regardless of time and location. Customers are able to have their complaints and issues resolved immediately without waiting or unnecessary delays.
It is often wrongly assumed that digital customer service entails leaving customers to their devices, once the digital infrastructure in set in place. There is a constant need to proactively engage with customers in order to ensure premium customer service. Customers often transit from one channel of communication to another, which requires all communication to be in sync so that the transition is smooth and does not lead to wastage and delays. Companies should aim for multichannel support to ensure effective communication, hence, encouraging customers to interact with CSRs and have their queries answered and problems resolved.
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