In a world where nearly 60% of the global population has access to the internet, technology is rapidly on the rise. Today, users create nearly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day and distribute it across social media, messaging, email, and other online platforms.
Many people now have a strong appetite for digital content and instant gratification. This shift has customer service departments struggling to give consumers the solutions they want as quickly as consumers want them. Simply put, the speed and diversity of the digital age have changed the way that customer service teams operate to meet consumers’ expectations in today’s tech-driven world.
Customers Desire Independence
Though customers depend on technology providers, they still want the ability to troubleshoot issues on their own. This trend is particularly true of younger users, who feel proficient enough in their technology skills to fix their problems.
Despite a desire for freedom to troubleshoot problems, many of these users still value input from manufacturers. While users are less likely to wait hours on the phone to speak with a customer assistance representative, they will often consult online manuals for fast answers.
In certain cases, customers will also reference online websites and forums for help, where other users can provide insight and advice. These forums are often public and unregulated, though sometimes they are moderated by representatives from technology companies. Many companies will sponsor one or more forums to ensure that responses are both correct and regulated.
Customers desired independence from assistance representatives has forever changed customer service. Traditionally, users with issues would consult the company’s customer service department for help in identifying and eliminating issues. Today, users are taking their technological futures into their own hands, eliminating the middleman in certain instances.
Create an Online Presence
Customers have come to expect that businesses will provide information about themselves online. A company’s website is typically the starting point for customers who want to learn about available products and services. These same customers will often visit third-party review websites, seeking unbiased opinions on your service offerings.
If customers cannot access information on a company’s goods or services online, it could deter them from ever making a purchase. By contrast, customers who find the answers they’re looking for online are more likely to purchase.
Your company’s online presence also helps clarify how consumers feel about your brand. Consumers use their phones, tablets, or other mobile devices to read business reviews and recommendations from past purchasers. Nine out of 10 global customers consult reviews before making a purchase. Customer reviews identify how well a product performs over time, often in comparison to other available options.
Generating online reviews can take time, but it doesn’t need to be a tedious process. The best companies automate online review acquisition, slowly accruing positive feedback while avoiding negative online reviews.
It’s Expected To Be Automated
Companies looking to keep pace in today’s digital world are automating processes wherever possible. Sometimes, this means using software that identifies the quickest-possible routes for package delivery. At others, it might simply mean automating payroll and budgeting processes.
Whether you’re a technology manufacturer or an exterminator using a pest control software solution, automation helps improve productivity while reducing the possibility of human error.
Customers are well aware that many companies today use automation. As this software becomes more commonplace — particularly across customer service departments — customers may begin to expect automation from companies they purchase from.
Prioritize Real Connections
While this use of automation is certainly helpful, it can create distance between customers, customer service representatives, and your organization as a whole.
Customer service departments often rely on automated replies to handle their large volumes of consumer questions and troubleshooting requests. Automatic replies are useful in helping satisfy simple customer concerns, but they can also deprioritize real connections between companies and the customers who support them.
When creating automatic replies, it’s important to balance efficiency and connection. Without the ability to respond to each phone call or message from a customer at the moment, you’ll need to identify which customer concerns require real-time responses and which don’t.
When fielding customer calls and messages, you can use automation to help you segment requests and questions. For example, you might send all customer calls about credit card issues directly to a sales representative, so that payments go through. However, you might redirect less urgent messages about new products to a team that replies via email. By separating messages by type, you can create meaningful connections with as many customers as possible while still relying on automatic replies to handle simple concerns.
They’ll Notice if You Don’t Listen
No matter the need, customers connecting with a company’s service department expect immediate help. In the past, you might have allowed a day or two for a response, but many companies now depend on comprehensive customer service teams to field and satisfy customer concerns as they come in.
Customers who desire instant feedback can quickly develop negative opinions on a business that makes them wait. These negative opinions can quickly become negative reviews. In this way, even a single negative interaction between a customer and a company can prevent other consumers from purchasing and harm your reputation.
However, companies can improve client satisfaction by prioritizing customer concerns. Prompt responses to customer questions help to build brand trust. And today, brand trust is often enough to sway customer opinions.
In the digital age, customer experiences take on a heightened sense of importance. One bad impression can turn a customer away from a company. Just as easily, a positive client-company interaction is enough to generate an equally positive review and long-time loyalty.