It is no mystery that customer service is part of the puzzle when it comes to the success of businesses. But does it need to be a puzzle? Not necessarily. Through the benefits of technology, customer service can become one of the strongest points of the business. In fact, customer service can end up being a proof-of-concept area for most businesses where they can try out technology.
The quality of customer service will either enhance or degrade customer loyalty to the brand and the business. With the Kenyan economy on the back foot due to the pandemic, customers have more alternatives than ever. The business that proves to be responsive to customer questions, complaints, or other needs can gain a clear cut competitive advantage.
In this increasingly digital world we live in, is there any way we can define customers? Do they all fit under the category of generic customers? The short answer is no. Today’s intelligent analytics systems define a customer through an interconnected web formed of their buying patterns, social media activities, interests, online searches, food patterns and many more data points besides. This same technology helps to improve customer experience and, therefore, increase loyalty. So, what exactly is the key consideration when improving customer experience?
That new technology comes with challenges, too. There is a steep learning curve when it comes to figuring out how to adapt to new technologies, but it is worth it.
1. Bots (and AI) will help professionals, not kick them out
Bots: All hail our future robot overlords, right? Wrong.
Today, most “bots” aren’t actually any form of artificial intelligence (AI). They’re branched, piecemeal logic presented in a conversational user interface (UI) (like iMessage or Facebook Messenger). Bots are just a different interaction mode for existing knowledge, and it’s another opportunity to engage your customers. Conversational UI is a great way for businesses to make themselves appear on the bleeding edge of innovation. For example, Safaricom’s AI chatbot, Zuri.
2. Customer service decisions will be more data-driven.
No matter which branch of technology is chosen, it will include a way to quantitatively measure its success. Without that, there’s no way to prove if the added software is being effective. So, as companies continue to adopt service technology, their customer service teams will become much more dependent on analyzing the success of these programs.
With that shift, there should be a noticeable influx of valuable data circulating throughout customer service departments. Service technology records a variety of information about customer interactions which are used to identify overlooked customer needs or roadblocks. Customer support and success teams then utilize this data to improve the customer’s experience.
3. Social media will become a standard customer service tool
Remember the days when social media was considered unprofessional? Well, forget them.
Social media has empowered consumers with the ability to instantly criticise brands on a public forum. One bad customer experience can be recorded on video, then uploaded to the internet for millions to see.
Companies will have to adapt their social media accounts to handle customer service situations. Whether this is a messaging service or a dedicated rep, businesses will need to devise a game plan that manages spontaneous social media interactions. This means that social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will become viable options for customers that are looking to submit feedback.
4. New technology will create new customer service positions
Some technology will become the catalyst for new customer service positions. For example, augmented reality will pave the way for virtual assistants who can help customers learn how to use products and services.
Customers will not only be able to simulate a product, but they’ll also have someone digitally supporting them as they become familiar with its features.
Another role that will become popular is specialists. With more customer service mediums, reps will need to have specialised skills and knowledge if they want to provide adequate support. This will lead to reps dedicating themselves to individual channels so they can learn all of the intricacies they’ll need to be successful.
We all have a technology narrative that shapes our understanding of the change going on around us. For CIOs, these narratives are often transformation stories. Maybe the implementation of technology into your company’s customer service realm will end up being your transformation story.
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