Going digital: for many companies, it seems like the only path forward. The word "digital" can at first conjure up images of replacing balance sheets with spreadsheets, phone calls with video conferences, and the water cooler with chat rooms. While these can all be part of the process, they're not all that digitization has to offer your business.
For your customers, the news of your business going digital may be a big red flag. The transition to digital, when done poorly, can result in fewer human connections and a more impersonal process overall for your clientele - but you can't afford to let that be the outcome.
A recent survey from cloud-based contact center solution Five9 found that 98% of business leaders consider the customer experience crucial for customer retention, meaning that you cannot afford to sacrifice any part of the former as your business goes digital. Thankfully, you don't have to: digitization can actually afford your business more opportunities than ever to boost and refine the customer experience.
Just because your business is going digital doesn't mean that the human touch needs to slip through the cracks. Here's how the next generation of your company can continue to put your customers first:
1. Around-The-Clock Support
A traditional, brick-and-mortar business may have the guise of providing more human-centric customer support, but the model has some clear pitfalls as well. If your customer support staff are primarily working the phones in an office, there are going to be hours of the day with longer wait times for customers who call in - or even times where no one will pick up the phone at all.
According to a survey conducted by HubSpot, 90% of consumers expect an "immediate" response when some kind of customer support issue arises. If you've anchored your customer support infrastructure to a physical office, you're all but guaranteeing that at least some of your responses will be slower than your customers need them to be. Even the best, most streamlined customer experiences will have moments of breakdown; you need to have a system that can help fill in the gaps 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Thankfully, going digital can make this a reality. Remote call centers can be seamlessly connected to one another digitally, allowing for human support in all time zones, all hours of the day. Becoming a digital company doesn't need to mean that your customers will all be talking to computers instead of humans; in this case, it can mean having smoother access to human assistance exactly when it's needed the most.
2. Self-Service Streamlining
It's important to keep in mind, though, that not all of your customers need or even want the help of your customer service team. The ideal customer experience isn't the one where all of their problems are solved: it's the one where there are never any problems that require someone else's intervention in order to fix.
The vast majority of your clientele would probably prefer to be able to manage the customer experience all by themselves. While digitization can indeed make it easier for customers to connect with your human support staff, it can also help customers work out those very issues without ever needing to break the continuity of their experience in the first place.
This is most achievable through the deployment of an elegant, usable website that makes the entire purchasing process simple for all who wish to engage. Good web infrastructure also makes it easier to publish frequently asked questions pages and troubleshooting guides, useful tools for those customers who are hoping to answer their own inquiries quickly.
The holy grail of digital self-service is, of course, the chatbot. Once little more than clunky and unusable web plugins, chatbots are now cost-effective and irreplaceable parts of upholding the customer experience. For those business leaders still skeptical about how well this technology would work for them, bear in mind that 27% of consumers are unsure if their last customer service interaction was with a human or a chatbot. This strain of customer experience tech has progressed so far that it can simultaneously make the experience more human for your clientele while still affording them the breathing space they want.
3. Fewer Barriers Between Customers and Support Staff
When a customer approaches your business with a snag in their experience, it can be disorienting. Naturally, you thought that your customer experience was top-notch, but you also know that it's the customer's perspective that rules supreme. If a customer comes to your team with a problem, they're given a twofold challenge: fix the problem and please the customer.
Without the right digital tools, solving both of these issues can be next to impossible. A mere verbal description of the issue is probably not going to be enough for your team; they'll want to know exactly what's going on and how they can fix it. To this end, digitally-powered tools such as screen sharing or video calls can make a world of difference.
Being able to see exactly what's going wrong on your customer's device can be invaluable for documenting the issue at hand and troubleshooting in real time. It's no wonder that 91% of professionals in the sector that first adopted screen sharing, IT support, continue to use it to this day according to customer experience platform Acquire. Digital tools, when used correctly, actually bring you and your customers closer together instead of driving you apart. Screen sharing software and other digital solutions not only help your customers solve their problems more quickly, they also help your customer support team handle a larger volume of customers more effectively.
Going digital can feel like a huge leap for your business, but it's one that promises positive outcomes when done correctly. Not only does a digital future look bright for your business, it looks just as good for your customers.