Still spending hours and dollars talking to your customers on the phone? It’s a good thing, the talking. The dollars however, could use some saving. Businesses could greatly cut back on costs and provide seamless, more satisfying customer experiences by digitizing their customer service. Especially when you are selling online, it’s only fitting that the service be online too.
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The global management consulting firm McKinsey and Company conducted detailed studies concerning what they like to call e-care, and insist that e-care is the future of customer service. In a survey, they found that customer satisfaction could be raised by 33% and costs could be cut by 25-35% by digitizing customer care.
They concluded that the more digital the experience, the higher the customer satisfaction.
Take a look at why digitizing customer care can help improve your customer experience.
Provide Better Service And Still Reduce Cost
For decades, the preferred way for consumers to resolve their problems has been by calling the company’s customer service department and talking to a live agent. While this still remains a largely preferred mode, both businesses and consumers can greatly benefit from getting help online instead of over the phone.
If offered correctly (and I’ll get to that later), integrating digital customer care or customer service solutions that allow customers to find answers to their questions, receive immediate support or sort out any issues they have with your company, will not only make for a better service experience, but also cuts costs.
For the consumer, it means getting rid of hold-times and unpleasant experiences with the live agent. For the business, it helps alleviate call-center traffic and reduce costs. McKinsey found that chat support is just over half of the baseline call-center operation cost. FAQs and forums are just about 12% and community solutions are a mere 9% of the total customer care cost.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
Customers are no longer doing business the 9 to 5 way. With the Internet taking over and mobile becoming the most powerful thing in any customer interaction, customers are always on. They are researching products, comparing features, reading reviews and buying products on their devices, all the time. Needless to say, they expect to receive customer service whenever they want it.
If a customer has a question about a problem at 2:00 am, he or she expects an answer or a solution no later than at 2:01 am.
Having a live agent available at that time may not be feasible for a midsize to small company and having the customer wait for morning could greatly sour his experience. The answer – digitization. If there is online support available at that time, such as provided by digital assistants, things would look much better: the customer can use it to answer a few questions and find solutions quicker.
McKinsey’s research found that the integration of digital in the customer service journey leads to higher satisfaction:
76 percent of telecommunications customers are satisfied with a customer service journey that is fully digital, compared with 57 percent satisfaction for interactions through traditional channels.
According to a PwC report on customer care solutions, the most important features that customers mention when talking about a good digital customer care experience are clear, easy-to-understand information (73%), quick, effortless resolution (67%) and simple navigation (50%). Telecommunications (34%) and banking or financial services (30%) enjoy the best reputation when it comes to digital customer care. Next are retail (22%) and technology (20%). Healthcare (7%) and business services (5%) rank lowest and have a lot to catch up in order to meet customer expectations.
Higher Brand Advocacy and Loyalty
Despite a million new ways to promote a business, word-of-mouth advocacy still remains a key factor.
Survey respondents who experienced poor service penalize companies more than they reward good service – in two crucial ways: those who had a bad experience will
a) first and foremost express their displeasure and share it with others e.g. on social media and after that, will
b) refrain from purchasing the product again or avoid future interactions with the company that provided the bad service.
Almost one-third of dissatisfied respondents will elevate their issue to a higher management level (28%) or write a negative review (27%).
To avoid hitting the customer’s pain point and to prevent negative word-of-mouth, you have to make sure to employ digital care solutions that
- Resolve a customer’s issues swiftly — the faster the better the experience.
- Offer knowledgeable, helpful service.
So, How Do You Successfully Digitize And Speed Up Your Customer Care?
Get more customer queries answered online as opposed to on the phone. Sounds pretty simple, right? However, without a proper strategy, you could face significant trouble making this model work for you.
Despite its advantages, companies struggle to convert customers from high-touch and more expensive channels such as live chat and contact centers to digital solutions. This is mainly related to a poor digital experience, unclear migration strategies, fear of losing revenue, haphazard organisation and operations as McKinsey listed as some of the key obstacles to digital customer care.
Choose the right channel!
Most companies integrate their digital customer service strategies in three main channels, which are apps, social networks and their websites. Although social media is a promising channel for online customer care, e.g. responding to problems on Twitter or Facebook, adoption rates are slow. Also, while 50% of surveyed companies use live chat and e-forum support, only 2% of customers actually use them. When it comes to offering digital customer service, websites and apps are still the most preferred channels in terms of offer and reach.
Here, Guided Self-service and Digital advice solutions offer businesses a quick way to integrate digital customer care in the customer service journey. In fact, McKinsey found that when designed properly, digital solutions that are able to answer the most common consumer problems can help cut call center costs by half.
Digitized customer care needs to be a holistic customer experience strategy and not just an add-on feature to your existing setup. Here are the major steps McKinsey define in their treatise on e-care.
1) Identify Problems in The Existing Setup
Collecting data and analysing it well is the first step to building any strategy. Do a study across all your existing touchpoints to see where you need to make improvements. For instance, of all the calls coming into your call-center, what are the issues that can be resolved on a digital platform instead of going to the call-center? A lot of problems are quite straightforward and both the customers and the business can benefit from having digitized solutions in place for those.
2) Build A Strategy Map
The next step is to carefully map out all the different customer requests that can be addressed at different touchpoints. This is where it gets intricate as you must understand that a consumer may be using different means of contact at different times for the same issue. Your response systems must be well synchronized. It is also imperative to figure out which type of requests can be handled digitally alone and which need to be addressed more flexibly. In some cases, it is important to not push digital solutions and instead leverage live interaction.
3) Employ The Right Mix
To maintain control and to keep on improving, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the various touchpoints of customer contact. It has been observed that often, digital platforms can get confusing and difficult for customers to navigate, and they end up calling for customer care. Identifying such issues and designing better solutions for them, employing a mix of traditional and digital customer care technologies must be managed very carefully. Only then will the entire model truly work like a well-oiled machine.
Example: Integrating Live Chat with Digital Advice (Guided Troubleshooting) solutions
Users can answer questions to find a solution to their problem or question and can contact an agent if further assistance is required. To prepare for the call, the agent will be able to access the previous interaction log to provide more personalized and quicker support, without having to ask the customer the same questions again.
4) Use A Mix Of Push And Pull Strategies To Migrate More Customers Online
The right mix of pull and push migration strategies will help customers adopt the digital platforms for resolving their problems instead of going the convenient old way and picking up the phone. Pull customers towards the digital platform by showing them how doing so will make things easier and save more time.
Additionally, you can use push migration strategy to proactively nudge customers into quitting their old ways and doing things digitally now. This can work by making some services only available digitally. However, due caution must be exercised here about user-friendliness and easy navigation or you could end up with some very frustrated customers.
Digitizing your customer care with the right strategy can streamline your entire business process in unprecedented ways. From cutting costs to minimizing customer problems and optimizing positive customer experiences, digitization can help you phenomenally.
Just be sure to throw in the right mix of human touch where required. From digital assistants, interactive web pages to chat support, email, and social media, digital customer experience platforms provide multi-dimensional care and support, keeping customers feeling engaged and satisfied. Word of mouth advocacy by a loyal customer is still the strongest marketing tool for a business. Keep it sharp with the right digital customer care.