Thriving in today’s economy requires talking to customers wherever they are. Delivering support via phone might have been enough in the past, but today’s tech-savvy customers want as many channels of communication as possible. From messaging apps and emails to tweets and emojis, people use many different ways to engage online.
According to Deloitte, almost 80% of millennials expect brands to “service customers through multiple digital channels.” On top of that, the average value of an online transaction increased 74% over the past year.
Optimal customer service is thus essential for strengthening your brand and driving sales. Digital channels are the cornerstone of your digital expansion. And with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing people further into the digital domain, now is the perfect time to transform the way you serve customers.
Digital tools allow you to meet customers on their terms
Some businesses have already realized the power of digital engagement. Domino’s, for instance, communicates with customers using various channels. From AI-powered robots to intelligent chatbots to website apps, the company meets customers across multiple touchpoints. So it comes as no surprise that it has doubled its market share since transitioning to digital-first customer engagement.
This example offers a number of lessons for other businesses.
- Know your customers well. Whether they’re young students or wealthier 65-year-old entrepreneurs, each individual has specific needs. Students might prefer to communicate using a quick WhatsApp message as they run to a lecture hall, while mature entrepreneurs would like to talk through a variety of options for services they need.
- Self-service is a must-have. A survey found out that 67% of customers would rather avoid talking to agents and solve their own problems. One way to go about that is by creating well-designed websites that preemptively answer questions on topics such as shipping times or service disruptions. FAQ pages are an efficient solution as well. And chatbots and other automation tools can support customers looking for answers to simple problems.
- Digital tools should make your support team more efficient. Ideally, at least 80% of communication needs to be directed through a digital channel for a ‘customer service triage’. Customers in need of simple answers could talk to chatbots. Those with complicated issues would be connected to an agent. And digital tools enable reps to deal with multiple customers at once and get more done.
- Collect customer data for intelligent insights. Given that digital channels collect a lot of data, you need a platform with robust real-time reporting and analytics. This capability makes it possible to spot trends and make adjustments. Agents benefit as well by having access to past interactions with customers. And company-wide cooperation improves as departments can share data instead of keeping it siloed.
Taking the first step towards digital support
Implementing digital-first customer service, however, requires careful planning. Even giants such as Apple initially struggled. The Cupertino-based giant didn’t even enable its customers to reach out using Facebook, and communication on other digital channels, such as Twitter, left much to be desired. To avoid similar problems, it’s important to make customers aware of digital support channels and leverage the right tools.
Your agents will benefit from a platform that aggregates multiple communication channels. Whether customers send email, social media, or phone inquiries, everything should be delivered in a unified stream. This way reps don’t have to master each communication channel individually but can focus on delivering stellar service.
A unified stream of customer inquiries allows companies to merge profiles of individuals who reach in different ways. A person might complain about billing inquiries on Facebook and then call to upgrade to a new plan. A week later, she might email your team about a technical difficulty. A communication platform should connect all of these interactions to a single profile that agents can access.
Agents must connect with colleagues from other departments, too. Their collaboration is vital for boosting performance and morale. No agent is able to solve every problem alone, which is why they need to be able to quickly access a pool of experts.
And advanced tools, such as RingCentral’s cloud-based system, help both employees and managers. Supervisors get to organize, motivate, and coach remote agents, ensuring their skills keep improving.
If you want to learn more about how to realize these benefits and ensure supervisors transition into their new roles easily, read our ebook here. And if you prefer to watch, check out the full Spotlight on the Supervisor Masterclass series here.
Originally published Dec 01, 2020, updated Jan 20, 2021