In the age of customer experience, buyers no longer just compare your products to those of your competitors – they now also compare the experiences and the support they receive throughout the buying process.
Therefore, adopting different digital channels to reach today’s customers serve as a key driver to digital customer service success. This means adopting new and improved technologies in digital marketing, including marketing automation platforms such as smoove and the organization of digital support on your website, social media and messaging apps such as, for example, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
Some reports show that by 2020, 85 percent of all B2C interaction will be automated. Still, developing a customer-centric model of business is not possible without leveraging customer data and information and building an integrated strategic plan to merge the efforts of sales, marketing and customer service. This basically means that the human factor in this interaction cannot be completely replaced by technology, regardless of how fast it develops.
To find the ideal balance of human factor and technology in approaching customers, let’s look at the following three things SMB’s can do to improve their digital customer experience:
1. Automate for the right reasons
By automating more tasks in the area of customer experience, we give our digital teams more time to focus on other valuable tasks such as designing the strategy and delivering personalized content. Personalization is one of the best marketing investments and it gives customers exactly what they want, including products, services and experiences that truly matter to them.
By asking ourselves what are their needs and preferences and reaching out for necessary data, we can predict the answers customers are seeking, provide a positive digital customer service and keep them buying from us.
In this example from Spotify we can clearly see how personalization of content can be very effective and make customers feel like they’re being rewarded for their loyalty to the company.
Integrate personalization into every digital communication channel you use and make sure that the content of your emails, newsletters or feedback forms is not stripped off a human touch.
2. Don’t force customers to be digital
Businesses must determine how human and digital channels can support each other in resolving the issues or questions their customer may have. Human-assisted channels such as live chats, social media chatbots, and also other means of communications such as email and community forums, often cannot compare to a real human-to-human conversation via phone.
Don’t hesitate to make your company’s phone number visible on your website, newsletters and social media pages. Also, include it in your answers to customer enquiries and even in the answers to the feedback they leave across social media.
The simple “Call us if you have any questions” and actually having someone to pick up the phone is still of huge importance for providing the best customer service. Leaving your customers to wait or to look for answers themselves can easily lead them to your competitors which do this the right way.
Also, this leaves customers with more time to get used to the new digital channels of customer support you may have. In the meantime, you need to make sure that they know a digital channel exists and can meet their expectations with as least effort as possible.
You can promote your new chatbot on your website or in an email you usually send as the part of your after sales care strategy, or you can even offer some incentives such as special product offers to those who decide to subscribe to it, such as in this example from the e-commerce website Lazada.
3. Focus on the data and improve digital pain points
Understanding customer behavior by analyzing data and information they leave across all channels will prevent you from making the same mistake twice and enable you to provide a remarkable multichannel customer experience.
• Segment the data and personalize the content
Linking the customer’s personal data with their buying habits, browsing history, feedback they leave and channels of communications they prefer, will allow you to identify both the strong and weak points of the customer support you provide.
By segmenting your customer’s database into different email lists you’ll be able to create personalized emails, newsletters, text messages and landing pages which is truly relevant to them.
These segmented lists can be used to provide specific support to the specific customer regardless of which channel of communication they use most. Some of your customers may prefer detailed answers by email, while others would rather save some time and receive the support via SMS, live chat, or a social media chatbot.
• Provide consistency
When talking about digital pain points, another important thing to add is that many businesses still don’t provide the same digital experience across different devices such as tablets and mobile phones. Your content needs to be displayed properly and offer the same support wherever your customers are at the moment, such as we can see on the right side of the image in the example below.
• Introduce carefully
When it comes to the new channels of communication such as Facebook and WhatsApp, these need to be introduced carefully. This is usually done by repeatedly and politely asking your customers if they would like to receive any updates and support via messaging apps so that people can use them when they’re ready. Making a new channel an imperative so you can save more time and money on customer service provided by humans can drive many of your customers away.
Along with the promoting the bot on your website and your newsletters, you should always promote it on your social media channels. For example, adding a “Send Message” button on your Facebook page will enable your page visitors to connect with your chatbot in one click.
A good idea on how to promote the new channel for customer service is to make a short video of its flow which you can later pin to your Facebook page, website, newsletters and emails you send to customers, such as in this chatbot video screencast made by Ray-Ban.
Also, remember that the secret of success in not only in introducing and developing more and more of these channels, but rather on concentrating more on the data you have to minimize the customers’ needs for frequent support inquiries in the first place.
If, for example, you often receive questions related to a slow delivery process or the issues they have while browsing your website, you need to be there for the customers, but also invest your money in resolving these problems as soon as possible.
Once you have resolved the issue, you can use the segmented email lists and send out the announcements about changes and improvements you made and problems you resolved so that customers know you really care.
You can also ask them to help you with more feedback while making the improvements, such as in this example from Squarespace.
The customer service industry in 2018 is experiencing yet another digital shift, as customer experience experts seek to expand channels, leverage data and analytics, adopt automation offered by platforms like smoove and embrace digital self-service via new channels such as live chats and different messaging apps. Still, the importance of the human factor in this process remains an important part. To find the right balance of human touch and technological advances in providing the best digital customer service, we should have in mind the following:
- By automating different tasks to improve customer experience, we ensure that our marketing team can dedicate the right amount of time to develop necessary marketing strategies and create personalized content which will satisfy the needs of different groups of customers we may have
- By offering both traditional and new digital channels of communications, we leave customers with a choice to reach out to us in ways they find most convenient, while getting used to new, self-service digital channels
- By focusing on the data and improvement of digital pain points, we are able to provide an excellent multichannel customer experience