While it's certainly been overused, the old saying is still very true – the customer truly is king. Most organizations struggle with multiple time-consuming customer service manual processes and siloed functions that collaborate little with each other.
According to Salesforce research, 92% of senior executives believe that customer experience is a key competitive differentiator and that they view customer service as the primary vehicle for improving the customer experience.
Today’s demanding customers want instant gratification. Many organizations are grappling to cope with all the advancements, while they are still stuck with the traditional customer engagement model that is primarily centered around telephonic interactions and emails. No wonder, customer support is looked upon by many organizations as a separate cost center.
The quality of support extended to customers directly impacts the brand value in the market. No longer can an organization afford to be a customer support laggard. According to Forrester, 72% of businesses say that improving the customer experience is their top priority.
Unlike the traditional customer engagement model that focuses on revenue creation, the modern customer engagement model is focused on value creation and that offers an excellent end-to-end customer experience and real-time customer support.
So, let us explore the 10 best strategies to modernize customer support operations and transform it into a growth engine.
Digital – Analytics to Predict Behavior and Journey Mapping
To deliver a superior-quality customer experience continuously, businesses must embrace Journey Analytics that combines big data, advanced analytics and functional expertise. This helps them leverage multiple data points across customers, channels and touch points, and empowers CX experts to predict their future behavior. Using the journey map, CX professionals can formulate the roadmap to engage customers via their preferred channels and offer personalized customer experience.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of the most recent frontiers in customer support. Regulated industries with high volume and transactional business processes can employ RPA to build more cost-effective, compliant and optimized business processes, while driving customer experience. However before incorporating the robotic technology, it’s imperative for businesses to do thoughtful due diligence and identify the opportunities, risks and needs for effective delivery.
Channel choices have empowered customers of today. Conversational commerce has revolutionized the way brands interact with customers. Mobile experiences are more optimized than ever. Omni-channel customer support is a fundamental component of customer experience today. It’s critical to delivering personalized customer experience. We live in an always-on world. A Forrester Research report states that only 36% of contact centers have implemented multichannel integration to provide consistent experiences; 70% do not train agents to support multiple channels. Being an omni-channel brand makes it accessible to customers 24/7 in today’s highly connected modern world.
Mobile Based Customer Support
Frantic use of mobile devices for everything has urged organizations to rethink their customer support strategy. Customers prefer to contact brands on their mobile devices. Businesses need to adopt a mobile-first mindset and align it with their customers’ journey to stay competitive. A mobile-based customer support approach added to the corporate website makes it more user friendly and the brand accessible to customers round the clock. “By 2020 40% of sales organizations will rely primarily on mobile digital technology for their sales force automation initiatives.” Source – Gartner
Conversational interfaces blend voice recognition and NLP technologies with AI that understands a user’s intent and context. These interfaces can disrupt the customer support department. CS representatives can optimize the chatbot experience and interact directly with customers only when required. SMBs with limited bandwidth, in particular, can leverage conversational interfaces for customer engagement, without dedicating additional human capital. This conversational intelligence can help organizations establish customer trust, driven by contextual conversations.
Self-help and DIY
Many customers report a dip in satisfaction post sale about slow response times, no resolve product issues or questions, issues related to product use, etc. Today, customers are increasingly choosing self-service over contacting a CS representative. Self-help and DIY is the quickest and one of the most effective ways to rev up the customer support function. An analysis by Gartner predicts 50% of online customer self-search activities will happen through a virtual assistant for at least 1,500 large enterprises.
Innovative Pricing Models – Outcome Based and Gig Economy
The gig economy is a unique environment in which it’s difficult to command a monopoly since the customer needs to pay low cost for switching between sharing economy services. Some good providers like Uber offer transparent, dynamic pricing model that ensures that all customers are aware of its dynamic rates, company policy, etc. Such initiatives establish customer trust and bring in revenues.
Virtual Personal Assistants
Virtual personal assistants will be the leading theme for customer support in 2020 and beyond. These work well within budget; can do multi-tasking; help an organization stay connected with customers 24/7; empower businesses to delegate; and eventually grow as your company grows. More so, these are intelligent and effortless customer support channels that help customers find the information they need, anytime, anywhere.
AI led Workflow Optimization and Process Modernization
Unlike traditional customer support function, AI-fueled workflow optimization involves using pattern recognition and algorithms to make data predictions. AI collates the knowledge of subject matter experts and makes that available to support agents, who use this information to optimize workflows or processes and hence, cut down on customer resolution windows. AI tools also help collaboration processes.
Customers are increasingly flocking to social media platforms to provide feedback to brands, make pre-sales enquiries and also throw their complaints at brands. Organizations can assign social media responsibilities to marketing and product teams, who can offer a great support to customer support function in solving customers’ questions or problems at a faster rate.
The new pressures emerging due to the ever-changing customer and technology environment have led to innovation and disruption in the customer support function across industries. By improving customers’ experience and problem-solving facet of the customer support function through multimedia and online support, a business can build customer relationships, customer loyalty, and increased revenues.