This is the fourth article in a series about digital transformation and its impact on business operations. Other articles include:
- What's The Deal With Digital Transformation?
- Why is Digital Transformation for Sales so important?
- How Digital Transformation is changing Marketing
Customers expect instantaneous service, quick answers to their questions, and a seamless buying experience. These trends have since made their way over to the customer service world and are here to stay. Many companies are trying to figure out how to convert their existing service processes to meet these new expectations. The current approach is to swap out pieces of the service lifecycle, much like switching out pieces of a puzzle. But much like a puzzle, if the service experience is not closely integrated, with each piece nestled close together, it looks and feels wrong.
Companies that do this successfully lead the way in being customer-centric.
Customers quickly pick up on the fit of an organization’s customer service process. Rather than swapping out pieces of the puzzle, what works well overall, and provides the best experience, is completely rethinking the overall journey. That rethinking is where digital transformation plays a key role in adopting the best technology for the situation, and integrating them in a way that gives the feeling of cohesiveness. Companies that do this successfully lead the way in being customer-centric. That is, putting the customer’s experience and success as the first priority. To make your customer experience journey a success, this article covers the top three things you can do to embed digital transformation into your customer service.
To self-service or not
Customers want to interact with your business. They have billing questions, support inquiries, and product improvement ideas. While each of these could be an article in their own right, the importance of meeting customers where they are at, and how they want to connect, cannot be understated.
In 2021, all businesses need a self-service hub where basic account management tasks can be quickly accomplished by the user. The easiest place to start is with billing. If your customers have to call in to switch their payment method, you are losing customers every time someone opens a new bank account, as some people will not go through the hassle. Paying for a service is already painful, so making forking their hard earned money over painless, is a great starting point on your digital transformation journey.
Next, start by consolidating documents so that customers can access them at their convenience. New tools like Glovebox makes this easy to set up. The best self-service portals also make product and service changes something that the customer can do. There will be times that a customer, while in the portal, determines that they need speak to someone. Having an integrated chat option, or the ability to call from the portal makes getting a hold of someone easy on the customer journey. It’s also the next place on our customer success journey.
Meeting your customers where they are at
There are times when communicating with a company is unavoidable. Before starting, make sure that you and your team are aware of the significant generational differences in how people prefer to interact with companies. While it can be difficult to optimize for all, start by looking at the predominant customer demographic and build from there.
From the customer perspective, their account is universal.
Even in 2021, there is no avoiding the fact that some customers will prefer to call. There may even be situations where they have to based on the question they have or change they are trying to make. If your company is structured around dedicated account managers, this process is fairly straightforward. If your company centers around call centers, things get more complicated. From the customer perspective, their account is universal. Regardless of whom they are connected with, the expectation is that you have their account information at the ready.
Data silos limit the effectiveness of customer interactions. If the customer cannot get the purpose of their call resolved by a single individual, expect churn. Therefore, every successful customer experience journey starts with centralizing information. You can read more about how one agency did that here. For other customers, a live chat option or text message service may be preferable. Regardless of the specific mechanism of contact, quickly resolving the concern is key. After interacting with a customer, make sure to gather feedback. Measuring success in a digitally enabled way is the next stop on our customer-centric journey.
Measuring success is key to success
Businesses measure the things that are most important to them. So every business should measure how effective their customer service is. This can be quite time intensive though if not well planned out. Digital transformation not only makes this easier, but also enables the information to positively affect other operational areas.
The key to measuring success is making it simple. After waiting on the line to speak with someone for many precious minutes, asking a customer to remain on the line to answer a 3-question survey is a surefire way to get biased feedback. Ultimately, that is the biggest limitation of gathering customer satisfaction - it will be skewed to either great feedback, or those that had a poor experience. Gathering feedback for those in the middle is critical to determining actionable steps to improve the entire experience.
If possible, customer surveys should be short - with no more than three questions. If you can measure that same feedback with two: do it. With one question? Even better. It is also important to make completing the survey as simple as possible. Ideally, the mechanism you use to ask for feedback should be the same as the one the customer used to reach out. It is also appropriate to ask for feedback through multiple channels if the first survey was not acted on.
Customer Success = Digital Transformation
Customer feedback is key to improving business operations and delighting customers. In order to gather this information at scale, and make it actionable across the entire business, digital transformation is necessary. Digital transformation is not necessarily a certain set of systems, nor a way of procuring them. Rather, it is the ability of the business to think through the customer journey end-to-end, and document requirements to best serve their customers.
When companies are constantly able to improve, they succeed. Not only are they more innovative than their competitors, but they are more memorable to their customers. Digital transformation for customer service is therefore more about measuring impact. Companies with high impact are more likely to be customer-centric than those that are not. In order to stay ahead of the pack, that customer-centricity is key, and is why measuring it in an actionable way is so important.