Here are 5 actionable ways to improve customer service with technology.
Customer Service is the lifeblood of any business. You can have the best marketing strategy and a powerful sales team, but without customers, you would have no cash flow and no way to build your business’ success.
A rule of thumb says it costs five times as much to create a new customer than is does to keep an old one (Forbes). Having good customer service, and improving your customer service through technology makes good business sense.
How has technology changed customer service?
Arguably the most significant change that technology has brought to customer service is the increase in speed at which customers can contact you. AI chatbots can now sit at the bottom of your website. Customers can instantly ask questions, get some basic answers, and then be led to a Customer Service Representative via chat, quicker than ever before. 63% of customers are happy with a bot service, so long as the option to speak to a real person is available.
Technology has also increased the number of channels customers can use to find answers. The aforementioned chatbots are one, but also personally manned chat windows are available. 92% of customers are quite happy using live chat for their enquiries. SMS communications, emails and social media customer service chats are options too.
Still, real people are always the best option for customer service. They can answer most questions on the spot, or promise to call customers back with resolutions. Technology has improved even human-to-human interactions. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus have customers answering questions, so the representative is ready to expertly handle the query once the connection has been made.
In which direction are customer service technology trends moving in 2023?
This is a great question, as it goes both ways, according to Hootsuite. During the lockdown, customers embraced the online model of customer service, with live chat and chatbots.
Now that we’re out of lockdown, people are rushing back into the stores for face-to-face interactions, and abandoning digital customer service. However, what people are discovering is, that live customer service, in-store, is not as good as the quality they received online.
The antithesis of this is businesses that are struggling financially, with supply-chain issues, labour shortages and more. They’ve embraced the cost-effective online models of customer service. The right tool can allow you to reduce wait times for customers without having to employ more staff.
The dark horse in this conversation is chatbots. Only 26% of businesses use them for customer queries. The potential to burst into this market share by improving AI is huge.
How to improve customer service with 5 simple steps
Hague can help you improve your customer service in 5 steps. Happy customers are loyal customers, who will tell their friends about you. It makes sense to give your customers a positive user experience. Here’s how:
1. Ensure you take advantage of online appointment booking
Even though 90% of businesses have a website, not many allow for the convenience of online booking. With more people using mobile devices to research services, the inability to make bookings online is turning many customers away.
Online booking has been around for a few years now, however, in sectors such as Education and Counselling, only 5% of businesses offer online booking appointments.
The advantage to having online bookings for your clients is they can view the services you offer and choose which best suits them, and then go through to book right then and there.
Traditional models of customer service in these industries had people visit a service centre, take a number or wait in line to be seen. This can be very time-consuming and confrontational. With online booking, they can choose a time and date which best suits them.
Online booking solutions also benefit the business. Most booking systems are cloud-based, meaning no licensing or hosting costs. These systems can be integrated into your website, and staff calendars, in hours, rather than days.
They can also save you money on staffing. You know beforehand how many clients you will have, so you know how much staff to have. It takes the guesswork out of rostering.
Here’s a tip- don’t just implement online appointment systems and expect people to use them. You need to promote this option and market it as a benefit to your clients. It is not a case of- build it, and they will come.
2. Go one step further and offer virtual appointment booking
From online bookings, you can offer your clients the option of having online consultations. Through the pandemic, tools such as Zoom, Teams, Whatsapp and Messenger rose in popularity. You could meet up and talk to people, face to face, virtually.
Giving time-poor students, or customers who are distanced, the ability to choose virtual meetings at a time that suits them or the in-person option is a great benefit. Even with all this technology, people still crave human contact, especially when they need help or guidance.
A benefit for your business is that you don’t need to have staff in an office to service your customers. They can work remotely and still provide excellent customer service.
3. Consider people of all abilities
Online booking and virtual appointments can be very inclusive. People with poor mobility can benefit from Zoom meetings, and listening to advice. Those with poor hearing can feel confident chatting online with someone who can help them.
Businesses need to offer multiple channels of customer service to cater to people with differing abilities and conditions. Touchpoints can include mobile phone access, touchscreen kiosks, audio and visual assistance, and personal assistance in-store.
Much like your online booking systems, you need to let your audience know these channels exist and that you cater to all walks of life.
4. Say goodbye to old-fashioned queues with automatic notifications
Waiting in line is not fun. If your customers have to stand in a queue, they will have a bad experience. A virtual queue, with notifications, is a more efficient way to work with your customers.
Again, time-poor students cannot waste their day lining up. With notifications, customers can select a time they’d like to have an appointment, spend their time productively, and then receive SMS notifications that it is their turn for service.
Always update your customers about queues and approximately how long until it’s their turn.
These notifications can also be customised. Add in some marketing or helpful tips, perhaps some humour. Always build the relationship between you and your customers.
Setting expectations of wait times and allowing interactive messaging has become a real game changer for student and customer service solutions.
5. Stay responsive to customer feedback in real-time
Well done! You’ve implemented the first 4 aspects of improved customer service with technology. Fantastic! Are your customers happy? Are they satisfied with the new technology, and how to use it effectively? How do you know?
You need feedback from your customers to fully understand the customer experience. A short survey at the end of the customer service journey can help you improve your user experience so much.
Ask your customers to rate you out of 10 for various aspects of the experience. Ask for any feedback or ways to improve. For all your work, the best people to ask about your customer service journey are the customers themselves.
How can I implement all of the above simultaneously?
The Hague Queue Management System (QMS) can help you do all of the above with one simple solution. Online bookings, which you can continue through with virtual meetings. Virtual queues, where your customers can do what they like until it’s their turn to be served.
Once the service has been supplied, your customers are invited to fill in a quick feedback survey, allowing you to continuously improve your customer service.
All of this can be done through a mobile device, further increasing convenience.
To wrap this up, at the core of our article is the message that customer service is key, and the better you can serve your customers, the better you can serve the business.
- Customer service technology is charging ahead, so you need to have a handle on what developments are occurring.
- Thanks to our time in lockdown, people are demanding better customer service online and more convenience through online booking and appointments.
- It is not difficult, through implementing Hague QMS, to improve the full customer journey with technology.
Get in touch with Hague Australia today, and let’s talk about how we can help your business and your customers have a better experience with you.
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