Natasha Bougourd, Copywriter, Kura
Excellent customer service is essential to any business. Delivering outstanding experiences increases customer loyalty, while poor service will rob you of valuable business. There are many factors to consider when it comes to delivering a high-quality, memorable service to customers, from people to customer service channels.
But what about technology?
Gone are the days of manual switchboards and call centre workers crammed into a squashed space, equipped with headsets and little else. Technology has revolutionised how we deliver, measure and improve customer service.
Kura covers four ways technology can help you enhance your customer experience.
Omni-channel customer support
Customers have more options than ever when it comes to getting in touch with businesses. We’re seeing digital channels rise in popularity, with social media and website live chat taking a larger share.
While the usage of these digital channels is increasing, this shouldn’t come at the expense of more ‘traditional’ contact methods. In fact, according to UKCSI research, the share of customers using the phone to contact businesses increased between January 2020 and July 2021, along with digital methods including websites, email and webchat.
Allowing your customers to contact you in the way that works best for them is essential. Self-service and chatbot options on your website are great for basic queries but customers need the option of talking to a human advisor. Whether they prefer to email, use live chat, or talk over the phone, offering them multiple options is critical to their satisfaction.
Next-level customer service analytics
Once upon a time, the deliverables and the impact of your customer service were difficult to measure. As technology has evolved, we’ve been able to track key performance metrics such as first-time responses, call waiting times and average time to resolution. These metrics can be used to measure how well your business is doing against its KPIs and help you identify areas of improvement.
Customer feedback has also long been critical to measuring the success of your customer service efforts. Operatives can elicit feedback on calls and live chat and you can send customers automated follow-up email surveys once they’ve had contact with your business or after their query has been resolved.
The next step in customer service analytics is using AI to analyse qualitative feedback, such as customer comments. While quantitative metrics, such as scores out of ten, can be measured easily, quantitative data has historically been much harder to work with. Instead of manually trawling through thousands of answers to open questions, new AI tools are analysing this feedback to identify trends and themes, allowing you to quickly turn this insight into action.
Customer profiling improves communication
Communicating sales messages and business updates to customers once used a scattergun approach. With easy access to critical customer information in CRM systems, we can be more targeted in our approach. We can update customers on changes in their specific locations, versions of products they’re using and much more.
Customer profiling is getting more powerful than ever and we have access to data at a granular level. We can see customers’ history on our company website or app, which gives us an indication of their areas of interest and any difficulties they may be experiencing. By bringing this real-time data together with the existing information we hold on our customers, we can offer highly personalised services and communications.
Personalisation has long been key for sales and marketing, but research has shown that it’s important to customer satisfaction too.
As well as a 10–15% sales increase, a McKinsey survey found that personalisation also increases customer satisfaction by 20%.
Improving human interactions
When we talk about technology improving customer service, there’s a misconception that it will come at the expense of human advisors. But that isn’t – and shouldn’t – be the case. Technology greatly enhances the ability of human operators to deliver excellent customer service. We can deliver more personalised support or sales service via the channel that our customer is most comfortable using.
According to Awaken Intelligence, not being able to reach a human is the biggest frustration customers experience, so ensuring they can easily speak to a live advisor is essential. AI and chatbots are seen as potential replacements for human operatives, but this could spell disaster for customer satisfaction.
Instead of replacing people with technology, it should be used to enhance the service they can deliver. Many businesses have implemented chatbots as a way of filling in the gaps in their customer service team, but there are better ways to go about this. Outsourcing is a great way to expand your vital frontline customer service team, and it can plug any gaps that you might be experiencing – especially if this is impacting customer waiting times.
Customer service has evolved massively in a few short years. We’re able to offer more channels to our customers, analyse our performance more deeply, and deliver a highly personalised service. These innovations can vastly improve your customer service and ensure your clients stay loyal to your brand.