Technology is ever-evolving and with it, brings changes to the way businesses and their customers interact with each other. It's getting to the point where humans no longer want to speak to other humans. Some may call it misanthropy (the hate of other humans), I just call it sick of speaking to people who can't or won't do their job properly.
I think we can all agree that technology when done correctly, is more efficient than a human ever will be. There’s a strong correlation between the growth of technology and customer expectations, and as technology advances, so do customer's demands.
But, is this a good or bad thing? Well, I guess it depends on how up-to-date the company is with the latest gizmos, widgets, or whatever other funny names are used. Companies that are ‘old-fashioned’ in their operations will start to notice their more 'hip', up-to-date competitors over take them in both customer satisfaction levels and as a result, the number of actual customers.
What Is The Role Of Technology In Customer Service?
In customer service, technology is used to increase the speed and efficiency of customer interactions.
Customer service technology trends have allowed companies to provide a more personalised experience, and save money. Although some companies have reduced costs considerably and also lowered the standard of service they provide to customers.
Rather than waiting hours on the phone, or days for a reply to an email, customers can make instant communication through the use of live chats or social media interaction. If you're lucky, the reason for your call can all be solved in an instant, thanks to these technological advancements.
What Is Customer Service Technology?
Customer service technology can range from having multi-channel communications, to using software to manage your customer database. It's any form of technology used to aid and enhance the customer experience you deliver.
From a manager's perspective it makes complete sense. Why have an error-prone, slow human to tell your customer something (that might not even be right), when you can use technology to personalize your message to the individual and do it instantly? It's nothing personal, people are just impatient.
Everyone wants their issues or requests to be dealt with quickly, and companies adopting customer service technology, achieve this every day.
The rise of technology might mean our robot-overlords will take over and enslave humanity, but at least the customer service will be excellent.
How Does Technology Affect Customer Value?
Technology can impact every aspect of the customer experience, whether it be placing an order, asking for help, or wanting to make a complaint. It adds value to the experience, helping the customer throughout their journey with the company.
So, just how has technology impacted the customer service industry? Let's take a look:
You're a Self-Serving Technical Wizard
No, I don't mean the kind of self-service you have at Tesco or Walmart, where you get teh infuritating 'unknown item in the bagging area' ringing out everytime you scan an item.
Instead, we're talking about the kind of self-service that results in you fixing your own issue. You may have experienced this already.
Have you ever had a problem with your internet, and you’ve been able to press a reset button on your router or computer to fix it? Self-service!
When it works, you don’t half feel good - you’ve fixed the internet yourself. Technical wizard. Everyone will be so impressed.
Not only this, but the likes of banks are taking advantage of technology. Transferring money, checking balances, cancelling direct debits, and even cashing in cheques - all can be done from a phone or laptop! The added ease of use is bringing customer satisfaction levels up, and is beneficial to both parties.
Soon we may never have to leave the house or talk to another human again.
The Robots Are Taking Over!
Whatever you call them, chatbots, webchats or live chats aim to remove the need for an agent. They’ve already been around for a while, and can be hit and miss. Customers are often left annoyed as they are asked the same question 100 different ways to get the right answer.
Currently, though, chatbots are great at dealing with the simple requests like “What time are you open?” or “How long does delivery take?” Basically anything that can be found on the companies website, but we're too lazy to search for.
As technology advances, so to will the artificial intelligence (AI) for these chatbots. IBM believes that by the end of 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be handled without the need for a human agent.
Smart robots will be able to take over the world while helping us with any problems we have along the way... how kind of them.
AI Creates More Time for the Human Touch
As robots deal with more customers, human agents have more time to deal with more complex, personal requests and complaints.
Workloads can be reduced, not having to deal with the same monotonous problems. When this is the case, you can get the more critical issues dealt with, and your customers will be happier.
There's the added bonus that if your agents don’t have to be stressed out dealing with hundreds of customers, they’ll be happier in their job. Happy agents produce a better customer experience - that's a fact.
Don't Allow Social Media Fails to Lose You Business
I doubt companies would have ever thought about handling a customer complaint via the likes of Twitter and Instagram a few years ago. Now, however, it’s becoming more and more common.
The advancement of technology means customers are online all the time - usually on social media. Whatever the latest gadget a customer uses to log in to Facebook, or other social media sites, it’s another point of access that customers can raise issues on. No longer do you have to wait till you get home to leave a complaint; you can let them know as it’s happening! You can even tweet a company from the family fridge (no, seriously!)
As the ability to complain becomes easier and the audience gets bigger, businesses have to pay much closer attention to their social media accounts to deal with complaints.
Customer Service Is The Defining Factor
Advancements in technology allow more and more businesses to produce high quality, homogeneous (similar) products. As these products get more and more alike, there are two defining factors when choosing which you want to buy: price and customer experience.
Price can play a significant role, especially if there is a big gap between what’s on offer. Having said that, customers still often believe that a lower price means inferior quality, even if it’s the exact same product.
For products which are similar in terms of price and quality, it comes down to the customer experience you provide. The better the service you provide, the higher your review scores are likely to be. The better your reviews are, the more trustworthy you appear to customers.
When yours and your competitors products similar to a customer, they are more likely to go with the company that they believe will offer them the best service.
A Tailored Experience at Your Fingertips
Have you noticed that more and more online adverts are becoming personalised towards your needs? No longer do you receive adverts for children’s toys and clothes if you’re a single male living alone (if you do then what you get up to in your spare time is your own business).
Instead, you’ll be shown adverts that are based on your preferences. The wonders of data collection! Nothing is private anymore, not even the size of your pants (I only get a bigger size for comfort, okay?).
While this may creep out the more paranoid of us, it’s enhancing our customer experience. You’re thinking about buying some new trainers, and as if by magic, the latest shoes from Nike or Adidas appear all over your Facebook feed.
It's not all bad, the more companies know about you, the more they can tailor their support and what they offer to meet your needs. After all, the ultimate customer service is one that matches the customer's every need, even before they know it themselves!
Expanding Your Customer Service Toolbox
Gone are the days of call centers being able to get away with just offering phone call support. Progressive businesses have been expanding their customer service toolbox to build multi-channel or omnichannel experiences in an attempt to strengthen their relationships with customers.
As markets get more competitive, a business must be able to support their services over any medium. Whether it be mobile, social media, live chats, or even video calling, customers expect businesses to be able to recognise them across all channels.
As more and more companies begin to offer an omnichannel experience, this further raises customer expectations. If you can’t provide live chat but your competitor can, then you’re at an immediate disadvantage.
If you’re really interested about the omnichannel model, you can read about it on our blog dedicated to it!
Technology Changes, But One Thing Won't
Technology can change as much as it likes, but one critical point still remains: you need to know what you’re doing well, and not so well. How do you go about doing this? By asking your customers!
Cxceed makes it simple to receive feedback from your customers, to gain a better insight into the specific interactions they are having with you and analyze what you can improve. This information can then be used to enhance the customer experience you provide by further targeting the areas that need improving.
Cxceed has a whole host of features to help improve your business, which you can see here.
So, It's Wise to Embrace Technology!
While it may seem a bit of a hassle to get your head around the latest programs and trends, it’s well worth doing. It’s easy to take technology for granted. Without it though, any company would struggle to stay competitive - no matter how good their product is.
Of course, this is only how technology has changed the way customer service has evolved up to now. Who knows what the future holds, but businesses should embrace it, and try to be proactive, rather than always playing catch-up.
So, how has technology impacted the way you deliver your customer experience? Let us know in the comment section!
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