The Role of Customer Service in the Digital World

|  Posted: June 14, 2019  |  Categories: Customer Support

Welcome to the digital era. A world where the majority of people, prospects, and customers spend their time in front of a screen. As technology and culture have shifted, digital engagement has risen. And so, with people spending more time than ever engaging with digital interfaces, devices, and channels, it’s essential businesses catch up and have the digital customer service skills necessary to meet prospect and customer needs.

Digital evolution and its impact on customer service

Over the last two decades, the digital transition has fundamentally altered the way customers engage with businesses like yours. There is now much less face-to-face, human-to-human contact, as prospects and customers alike choose to do their own research and make their own way through the buying cycle, without the explicit input of vendors. This has meant customer service has had to evolve to reflect the changing needs of the buyer.

customer service in-digital-world

Companies must now look to help the buyer help themselves and so the focus has switched from training your operatives to deliver the very best customer experience, to developing the tools and resources necessary to empower the customer to find the information they need on their own.

Modern customer service should be like a concierge, helping prospects and customers realize where they need to go, and how to get there. Businesses who offer prospect/customers the power to explore their area of interest easily and find the data they’re looking for are delivering a great customer experience – and this is a skill in itself.

The modern buying experience

In the modern buying experience, customer service should be available to prospects and customers alike from website entry, all the way through to the very end of the buying process, and beyond (upsell and support included). Resources must be easy to access and clearly showcase how they can help customers find or do what they’re looking to achieve. Customer service is there to help your customers and prospects help themselves, so it’s worth keeping that in mind when developing your own customer service skills and offerings.

What do good digital customer service skills look like?

While you may provide great customer service away from your website, offering high-quality customer service in the digital landscape requires a totally different set of skills and capabilities in order to deliver customer/prospect satisfaction. Here’s how you can improve your digital customer service skills:

Be responsive to your customers

The internet is all about speed and immediacy, both customers and prospects will expect to be able to contact you and receive a response almost instantaneously, and if they don’t get what they want, they will go elsewhere, as a competitor is only a click away. Never have the stakes been so high in such a short window of time. With this in mind, it’s essential you can respond quickly to the yields of customers who want to engage with you, whether this is through live-chat, email or telephone, you need to be where they are when they want you. This is absolutely critical to good digital customer service and can genuinely make the difference between business growth and decline.

Offer a diverse range of contact channels

In the digital world, prospects and customers alike should have access to multiple opportunities for contact, this includes live chat, a support helpline, a knowledge base, and an email address.

Offering this variety of choice is essential as it gives the customer the power to choose their level and means of engagement. For example, if their query is small and potentially inconsequential, it’s unlikely your customers will be prepared to ring and wait on the phone, however, they’re much more likely to use live chat or access a knowledge base for the information they’re looking for. In a digital ecosystem, the choice is everything.

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Develop Omni-channel communication capabilities

When customers/prospects choose to engage with a company across multiple communication channels, they do not see each as a silo, they often see and expect everything to be a single conversation. So if a statement is made via an email, they expect that statement to be known when they later contact via telephone – or at the very least, expect the operative on the line to be able to access the email. This avoids the need for repetition and improves efficiency for all parties involved.

Omnichannel-customer-support

Companies operating a digital customer service function without omnichannel capabilities are likely to incur higher costs and provide an inferior customer experience. Knowledge sharing and coordination are critical to a successful and scalable digital customer service offering and an omnichannel approach ensures all relevant information they need to deliver high-quality digital customer service.  

Omnichannel capabilities are arguably the most important digital customer service skill in your arsenal as they optimize efficiency, output and customer satisfaction.

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Adopt a Knowledge Base to help customer help themselves

Empowering your customers in the digital space is half the battle when it comes to customer service. They often won’t care where the answer for their query comes from, as long as it solves their problem – so if you can develop a way to give them the power to find the information they need on their own, without input from your customer service team, then you can effectively manage your costs without sacrificing the quality of your digital customer service skills.

This is where a knowledge base comes in. With a knowledge base on your website, you can offer your customers a searchable information database that can answer the majority of their questions, without the need for human input. By offering large quantities of data that are easily searchable at the touch of a button, a knowledge base can provide quick and easy answers to your customer’s biggest queries. And as your knowledge base grows and develops based on customer engagement history, it’s always expanding and enhancing the value it can deliver. Armed with a knowledge base, digital customer service becomes an iterative process, every question unlocks the opportunity to improve its value.

On top of all this, a knowledge base can also help enhance your other channels too. With such a powerful tool at your customer’s and service operative’s fingertips, your knowledge base can guide prospects to the right areas within, minimizing the time it takes to solve queries and enhancing the quality of the customer experience.

Try a demo of our knowledge base, Document360 today and see what it can do for your digital customer service capabilities.

It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating, digital customer service is all about helping your customers help themselves. It’s about giving them the power to do what they want and engage with your brand the way they want. They will expect you to be able to not only provide the information they want but also provide it quickly via the channel they desire. This is what good digital customer service looks like, and remember if you can’t deliver, a competitor will.
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