This year, consumer expectations are higher than ever before due to the growing long-term impact of real-time communication tools such as live chat and texting, both of which consumers have grown accustomed to using and rely on to resolve customer service issues. And as more companies adopt these tools to meet consumer expectations, some may argue it’s certainly more crucial than ever to join the pack.
Consumer satisfaction levels have plateaued since the first quarter of 2017, taking a slight dip after they reached an all-time high following a year of growth, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Effective implementation of technology helps account for the recent peak in consumer satisfaction.
But for companies that aren’t embracing these innovations, it makes it difficult to keep up with competitors that do embrace new technology and processes. Case in point: 7 in 10 consumers say the proliferation of customer service technology has made it easier than ever to stop doing business with a particular company if they experience poor customer service before finding a brand that better caters to their needs, a Salesforce survey found.
Staying competitive today means not falling behind the customer service technology curve. With that in mind, here are three ways to use technology to deliver superior service that builds lasting customer relationships.
Deliver Integrated Omni Channel Support
One area where many companies aren’t keeping up with consumer expectations is through the delivery of integrated support via various support channels. At one time, it was enough to provide email and live chat options in addition to traditional in-store and phone support.
But now, as consumers have grown accustomed to using email, live chat, self-service and social media for customer support, expectations have shifted to demand service that integrates all these channels. For instance, if your company delivers quality support via phone and email but falls short on other channels, these customers will likely grow upset and may decide to do business with another company that can offer superior customer service across all communication channels.
To that end, the most efficient way to meet consumers’ omni channel expectations is to deploy a call center in the cloud, which provides support reps with a single interface, allowing them to see a slew of customer information from various support channels in order to help resolve customer service issues more efficiently.
Use IVR and Chatbots Effectively to Reduce Customer Wait Time
Another key to delivering superior customer service is using technology effectively to reduce customer wait time. However, clumsy deployment of new or existing systems can wind up wasting customers’ time. In fact, today’s top consumer complaint is the inability to get through to a live support rep over the phone. But automated interactive voice response systems can compound this issue even further when they’re not set up correctly with proper menu options.
In order to address this, it’s important to select an IVR solution that uses artificial intelligence to filter calls and which can be handled through automated menu options. AI can understand natural language voice input and then use the information to present the customer with relevant menu options, rather than forcing them into a one-size-fits-all solution. Meantime, chatbots can perform similar functions via live chat to help quickly identify issues that need to be escalated to a live support agent.
Provide Personalized Service
The ability of artificial intelligence to process natural language is an example of how AI can provide more personalized service, another key to satisfying today’s customer. Today, many companies collect a great deal of data on consumers — and they expect businesses to use that information effectively in order to deliver a more personalized brand experience. Still, most consumers are dissatisfied with the lack of personal attention they receive, with 71 percent expressing frustration about the overall impersonal nature of customer service, according to Segment’s 2017 State of Personalization report.
However, AI can help deliver more personalized customer service by mining and analyzing big data on your customers in order to uncover theirtheir individual needs. For instance, recommendation engines can help suggest purchases for customers based on their account history and shopping patterns. You can also generate customized discount offers for customers based on their personal profiles and location.
Omnichannel integration, automated IVR support and personalized service are three keys to satisfying the expectations of today’s consumer. By putting these strategies into practice, you can provide more seamless service, reduce customer wait time and deliver a more customized experience, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and ultimately increasing your revenue.