We interviewed our expert in Customer Service technologies, who explains the new requirements of this sector undergoing full digital transformation due primarily to social media
“Brands are more interested in improving the experience of more demanding clients.”
What is the most important change that customer service has undergone in the last five years?
Brands have always known that clients are important to their business, but now they are really concentrating part of their business strategy, their efforts and their available resources on creating better client ‘experiences.’ The most significant change is that clients now have better information and are more demanding and better able to ‘choose.’ Therefore brands need to be prepared not only to offer the best service, but also to establish their difference – to create a differentiating feature that will make clients want to stay and trust their brand.
What will customer service look like in 2020?
As we touched on in the previous question, we believe that in 2020 client experience will be the determining factor in whether a brand manages to hold on to its clients or loses them.
2020 users will be completely Digital, so, unlike brands – which have to adapt their strategy, their technology and even their values to this Digital Age – users won’t have had to adapt anything, as they will have been born and raised with the Internet. The clients will be the ones who decide how they want to best interact with the brand (the millennial concept, self service, etc). Therefore, brands must start today designing their customer service future and their goals to build loyalty among that new, objective public.
Do you think brands are on the right path or are they disconnected from their clients’ needs by obsolete service?
Brands have realized that technology has to be an additional tool rather than a substitute for human customer service. Centralized platforms, omnichannel, ChatBots and Big Data are ways to maintain a permanent connection with their clients. As we were saying, clients are very demanding, and brands must move forward to get to know their clients and to take good care of them so they feel that the brand truly takes their needs into account.
What do you mean by omnichanneling?
Omnichanneling refers to directing all communication (and the efforts of customer service personnel) towards one platform in which there are synergies between, for example, the information available on a Help page and the information mailed to the client. Clients are multichannel and will communicate with us by whatever medium they find easiest and most comfortable (telephone, e-mail, social media, instant messaging, etc). The result of unifying and centralizing communications and above all doing it sensibly and with goals in mind is as simple as having a more efficient and productive support team that provides clients with fast responses that meet their needs.
Is there any particular case in which improved customer service has yielded exceptionally good results?
In the Ecommerce sector, in which clients are very digital, we are enjoying excellent results, thanks to our technology and experience. In particular, in several brands we have been able to improve in only three months the response times they had from a few days down to barely an hour. And this has led to improvements in satisfaction from 30% to 85% and in response ratios from 10% to 30%. Although we do not know the direct impact of this improved satisfaction on sales, we are convinced that it is high, and that it also contributes to customer loyalty that will improve long-term sales as clients return.
Though technology helps, it’s not enough to simply implant a tool. We must understand the brand, its customer service strategy, its market, and its available personnel resources. That yields exceptional results.
It’s more and more common on websites to be attended to by a ChatBot. Do you think this is positive?
There is a lot of controversy about ChatBots. We think it is positive that brands evolve thanks to digital transformation. But how this technology is used is key. We think there are badly managed cases that are too automated. But we also think that the ChatBots like the ones we use at Zendesk – entirely connected with the agents, enriched by an updated base of knowledge and open to real time agent monitoring of the client-Chatbot conversation – are a great savings for brands. They relieve agents of repetitive work and allow them to take control to offer personal and agreeable service to the clients. One of the Chatbots’ main functions is to expand the attention of brands that don’t have a team on duty 24/7 or multilingual personnel. This way the client is always attended to one way or another.
Social media, it is often said, are a forum in which everyone can voice an opinion. What is the brand’s role when opinion gets mixed with complaints or questions?
Millions of people interact daily on social media. It’s the social phenomenon of the 21st Century. The importance of social media to brands is obvious; they are their products’ shop window, the line of communication with their clients and the focus of their reputation. So it’s of the utmost importance that brands take care of their image and reputation on these media.
Brands should pay attention to everything that is said about them. As these mentions can occur on innumerable digital portals, fora, webs…it’s impossible to manage them without a tool like Websays, which allows for centralization of all external mentions captured in order to respond and act fast in any case. In many cases we are seeing brands stop separating their marketing and their customer service channels for customer ease. Now brands have to make an effort to find those mentions, whether or not the nickname or hashtag have been properly used. That’s why natural language processing technologies like Websays are key to making sure no customer complaints are lost.
Good client management is not only good for the consumer but also for the agent. What positive effects do the workers get from client management software?
Omnichannel management software isn’t good just for clients and brands. We shouldn’t forget that the agents work closely every day with our clients. So it’s quite important to offer them motivating, pleasant work with easily manageable tools. That way they will better transmit positivity to the brand’s clients.
Do you have any final recommendations?
I recommend that brands concentrate their efforts on making this big change towards the social/digital age. It’s more than just being present in social media and/or the digital world; It’s being social, being digital. It’s very hard to reach the entire public. So our recommendation would be: Make yourself heard, and get followed by those who want to listen to you. The results are very positive. Brands that have already done it have created unique customer service experiences, and this has translated rapidly into increased client loyalty and sales.