Technology creates the expectation for immediacy.
People expect their food delivered to their door when they want it. They expect to watch their favorite shows at the drop of a hat, no matter where they are.
And they surely expect the companies they’re loyal to, to have excellent and responsive customer service 24/7.
Even though technology has largely created this expectation, it has also made it easier for companies to address their customers’ needs quickly.
Beyond simply responding to customers’ requests, customer service can build loyalty and trust. If you aren’t using technology to boost your customer service, you’re missing out on creating a base of loyal customers!
“The goal of your business in terms of its customer interactions is to generate loyalty. There’s no better way to do that than to offer quality products and services and to be responsive to your customers,” explains the Inc. Staff.
Fortunately, explains Amanda Disilvestro from SalesForce, technology is beginning to play a larger role in customer service as companies learn how to automate processes to better respond to customer needs.
Disilvestro points to four reasons why technology is necessary for customer service: improving the lines of communication, resolving issues and responding to customers, making tasks easier, and keeping customers informed.
For one, customers expect to be able to reach customer support at all hours of the day.
The 9-5 call center template just doesn’t cut it anymore.
By opening up lines of communication via social media, text message, email, or live chat, you give your customers options. Of course, some will still prefer to call and talk to a human, but for those who prefer something else, variety is critical.
“…Customers may prefer self-service sometimes, and human-delivered service at others,” argues Forbes’ Micah Solomon, “This is a reason why banks still have branches and that financial advisors still have physical locations that clients can visit.”
However, he adds that many customers do prefer at least one human-to-human encounter.
“After they have that meeting in person and make that personal connection with ‘their’ person, they may never feel a need to visit in three dimensions again,” Solomon says.
Ultimately, customer service representatives are trying to resolve their customers’ problems and technology can make this process easier, Disilvestro maintains.
Data management and analytics, insight-driven marketing, marketing automation, self-service optimization, and workforce effectiveness are all areas that technology can help your business improve upon according to Inc.
Plus, companies can use social media to solve issues in real-time. Disilvestro points to Pizza Hut as a great example of this, they regularly respond to customer issues and complaints on Twitter.
Speaking of Pizza Hut, apps are also a great way to automate and streamline tasks to make your customers’ lives easier. By adding in a live chat option or a FAQ, customers are bound to flock to your app.
Of course, all of these tools should work to keep your customers in the know.
Social media can provide your customers with updates, issues, or news about your business at any point. It keeps you connected to them.
While this all may sound great, Solomon says businesses do need to practice some caution when implementing technological customer service solutions.
He emphasizes the importance of using technology below eye level, meaning that the technology does not interfere in interactions with the customer.
“You don’t want to be one of these companies that gives every customer-facing employee a tablet with proprietary software that is either so clunky or so foreign to the employees using it that the employee spends more energy and attention on interacting with the tablet than with the customer who’s in front of them,” Solomon describes.
Of course, all businesses should practice caution and implement cybersecurity plans to protect the data these systems collect as well as their customers’ privacy.
Utilizing technology – the right way – to improve your customer service is good for your business and your customers.