The digital era has created new standards for businesses and customers alike. While brands navigate their way towards customer centricity, the consumer has become more empowered and as a result has higher expectations. In this context, it only makes sense to offer your clientele the service they expect, on the channel they prefer, and whenever it is more convenient for them. Enter digital customer service, the answer to all your digitalization challenges.
Digital customer service is a win-win concept because it benefits not only your customers but also your business. When properly implemented, digital e-care systems prove to be flexible, adaptable, scalable, and cost-effective. Additionally, they account for increased customer satisfaction, improved digital customer experience, and create the necessary conditions to efficiently address customer needs and communicate with them in a timely, convenient, and interactive manner.
Based on the previous, it’s easy to determine the importance of digital care for the success of your business and its overall relationship with your customer base. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the latest digital customer service trends to keep an eye out for in 2019:
- Know thy customer
- Omnichannel support
- Data privacy and transparency
- The AI invasion
- Automation and integrations
- Training programs and reskilling
- Digital customer care as a brand differentiator
Let’s dig a bit deeper on each of these trends.
Know thy customer
Okay, full disclosure. This is not a trend. It’s common sense and will remain valid for as long as your business is in business. You will never be able to provide your customers with the service they need and expect unless you really understand who they are, how and why they use your products, what challenges they are faced with, what is their journey with your brand, and so on. In this context, listening to the customers’ voice and collecting and analyzing feedback is key towards improving customer support and managing your relationship with your customer base.
Omnichannel is not going anywhere
A few years back, an omnichannel customer service strategy was viewed as a disruptor. These days, it’s considered a differentiator. More specifically, unified omnichannel services will enable you to create offerings specifically designed for the needs of your customers. Synchronizing real -time customer data across different channels is key to deliver customer support that meets customer expectations.
Data privacy and transparency
Your customers are “digital natives” and are becoming more and more concerned with data privacy issues. Last year the European Union rolled out GDPR and the new regulations heavily impacted how organizations handle personal data. As the data privacy debate further develops worldwide and with consumers growing increasingly weary of data breaches, make sure you train your customer support team to understand why privacy matters in the eyes of regulators and consumers alike.
Data privacy will become even more of an issue as more and more people welcome smart speakers and personalized voice assistants into their lives. The security of active listening technologies will be further scrutinized in the years to come and brands should prioritize data privacy when considering the value proposition of their services and products.
The AI invasion
The use of devices that feature AI (such as voice assistants, content streaming, etc.) is on the rise and is reshaping the customer journey alongside the customer experience. These devices are primarily used on behalf of the consumer to complete tasks and it is your responsibility to figure out how your support environment will engage and interact with them.
Automation and integrations
Forrester says that contact centers are expected to grow by 5% to 10% in the following year. To address the increased demand for ubiquitous customer support, businesses will turn even more to automation and AI integrations to meet with expectations. Automation and AI integrations will give your customer care representatives the necessary tools and data to complete tasks more effectively and efficiently.
Training programs and reskilling
Customer care representatives are a great asset for any business. The digital transformation we are currently undergoing has increased the skill gap which is a focal point to differentiate your e-care initiatives. Make sure you enable your employees to face the challenges that come with digitalization by offering training programs that will provide them with the necessary knowledge and attitude to solve issues the customer’s way.
Digital customer service as a brand differentiator
Customer service interactions deeply impact the customers’ overall perception of their experience with your brand. The digital era has put a smartphone in everybody’s hand and your customers no longer compare your business just to its competitors but to the experiences they access through their mobile devices offered by giants such as Amazon or Google. How does your digital support fare in comparison to them? It is important to understand that your customer service is an extension of your brand and as such needs to be designed in a way that communicates its core values and reaches bars of excellence set by industry disruptors.