- A digital customer service strategy ensures satisfied customers in the Digital Age
- The components of a digital service strategy include offering self-service capabilities, trained agents, and monitoring analytics
- The right contact center software is at the heart of a digital-first customer service strategy
The core principles of excellent customer service haven’t changed over the years. Yet, digital customer service requires a new strategy to ensure companies meet customers’ needs.
Read on to learn how to build an effective digital-first customer service strategy, why it matters, and the role of a communications platform in your strategy.
The future of customer service
The future of customer service is digital – there’s no escaping that fact. Take a look at the following statistics:
- By 2022, 70% of technologies will involve emerging technologies (such as chatbots and mobile messaging)
- By 2023, customers will prefer to use speech interfaces to initiate 70 percent of self-service
- By 2025, customer service organizations that have embedded AI in their multichannel customer engagement platforms will increase operational efficiency by 25 percent
What is a digital customer service strategy and why does it matter?
Your digital customer service strategy details how you will deliver customer service through digital channels. This strategy is part of your existing customer service strategy – it doesn’t stand apart from it.
Today, having a digital-first customer service strategy is paramount.
Customers feel comfortable with digital channels in other aspects of their lives. Gallup research shows that texting is the dominant way Americans under 50 communicate. Eighty-two percent of customers check their smartphones before making an in-store purchase. Seventy-four percent of Millennials in the US and the UK communicate more digitally every day than they do in person.
Moreover, the global pandemic highlighted that traditional methods of customer service (in-person or over the phone) aren’t adequate. Many businesses suddenly found themselves having to shut down their physical locations in the face of a deadly threat. To continue serving customers, they had to communicate digitally.
How can you build an effective digital customer service strategy?
There are several steps to building an effective digital customer service strategy:
- Understand which channels your customers use
- Give customers self-service options
- Make sure customers can always reach a human being
- Train agents so they can deliver the best digital customer service possible
- Give agents the resources they need for success
- Monitor analytics
Understand which channels your customers use
An effective digital customer service strategy is built on supporting the digital channels your customers want and use.
If your customers want to use social media chat to communicate with your company, but you don’t offer it, you can’t serve them effectively. Researching the customer journey is the first step to providing better customer service through digital channels.
Give customers self-service options
Eighty-seven percent of global customers expect brands to have self-service capabilities, while 79 percent of US customers have used a self-service portal. When you’re creating a digital customer service strategy, you must incorporate self-service options.
Here’s why: self-service is convenient. Customers don’t want to wait. If they can find the answer faster on their own, they’ll do so. Giving them that option makes for a better customer experience and frees up agents to handle more complex calls and customer issues.
Make sure customers can always reach a human being
Although self-service is crucial, customers should always be able to reach a human being. There will be times that self-service options won’t give customers the right answers, and you don’t want customers to become frustrated.
Train agents to deliver the best digital customer service possible
When customers do need an agent, agents should be highly trained. It’s frustrating for customers to reach an agent who doesn’t know how to answer their questions; research from PwC bears this out. Forty-six percent of customers will abandon a brand if employees don’t know how to best meet customer needs.
Training doesn’t need to take place in person for it to be effective. Market-leading communications software enables managers to train employees remotely, through video, telephony, chat, and file sharing.
Give agents the resources they need for success
Your representatives are the first people with whom your customers interact. You want that interaction to be pleasant, smooth, and helpful. To that end, agents need a certain set of tools.
For a start, they need to have the right information at their fingertips. A knowledgebase in the cloud bolsters agent training; if they find themselves in a tricky situation, the knowledgebase will most likely have the answers.
The next tool agents need is information about a customer. That’s where integration with systems of record (such as CRMs) comes in. We’ll illustrate with an example: Kelly calls a contact center about a recent purchase. Thanks to an integration with the company’s CRM, the agent can see what Kelly has bought from the company and how to aid her better.
Third, agents will sometimes need to connect to their colleagues in other departments. Those colleagues may be able to solve problems that the agent can’t. Internal communication tools (chat, telephony, video, and file sharing) plus a presence indicator make it easier for agents to help customers.
Your digital customer service strategy isn’t “set-it-and-forget it.” You need to understand your contact center’s performance, which means monitoring analytics.
Best-of-breed contact center software features built-in analytics that track a number of metrics, including channel performance and agent performance. Analytics help you fine-tune your digital customer service strategy for a better customer experience.
The role of technology in your digital customer service strategy
Technology enables your digital customer service strategy. With the right contact center technology, you can offer the right mix of channels to your customers, as well as self-service options and well-trained agents. Monitoring capabilities allow you to course-correct if you’re not seeing the customer service results you want.
Make RingCentral an integral part of your digital customer service strategy
RingCentral’s contact center software offers a variety of channels as well as built-in monitoring capabilities. Self-service options as well as trained agents with collaboration tools improve the customer experience. To learn more, get a demo.
Originally published Aug 09, 2021