Improved customer service and new technology go hand in hand. However, using technology doesn’t mean that your business no longer needs personable customer service representatives to nurture customer relationships. That kind of one-on-one relationship is more important than ever, and technology can help to make it more effective.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Technology improves customer service by speeding up communications, increasing convenience, providing self-serve options and allowing for targeted marketing campaigns.
Speeding Up Communications
The most important role of technology in customer service is that it helps to increase the speed of customer interactions. Customers no longer need to wait on hold on the phone to speak with a representative. Instead, live chat on company websites enables organizations to help customers as soon as they show interest.
Many companies also provide customers the option to text them using their cellphones. This is much faster than sending an email and waiting days for a reply. Within minutes, customers can have their questions answered, book appointments or make purchases. With several options to communicate with companies, customers are able to solve their problems quicker.
Increasing Convenience for Customers
In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is of the utmost importance. It’s critical that businesses consider every aspect of the customer journey and ensure that the ride is smooth and intuitive. This means that businesses should conduct market research to understand how they can make their customers’ lives easier.
This may include making browsing features more intuitive on their website or organizing products in a different way in the store. Offering fast and convenient ways to purchase, such as through cashless payments and one-touch payments, removes obstacles for many customers and encourages them to make the buying decision.
Providing Self-Serve Options
The importance of technology in customer service is also related to choice. Customers want the option to choose how they interact with businesses. As a result, technology enables companies to give their customers different options for engagement.
At a grocery store, for example, customers can use self-checkout lanes. Software and hardware companies often provide customers with troubleshooting steps so they can easily rectify simple issues. For many businesses, offering an FAQ on a website is a simple way to give customers a choice. They can read the answers to their questions to decide if they want to engage further with the company.
Curating Tailored Marketing
One of the most exciting things technology has enabled businesses to do is tailor their marketing efforts. It is a cornerstone of customer service to not inconvenience customers. As a result, businesses can use technology to create targeted marketing campaigns based on customer demographics and buying history so they don’t overwhelm prospects with irrelevant products and services.
Through online and social media marketing, businesses can ensure that their ads only go to prospects who fit their target audience segment characteristics. They can also use remarketing to target only those prospects who have shown interest in their business by visiting their website.
Take Advantage of the Benefits of Technology in Customer Service
For many small businesses, implementing new technologies may present unprecedented expenses. While using many different technologies to improve customer service is tempting, it’s important to ensure that the technology you use aligns with your customer service strategy. Don’t be pressured to use technology for the sake of technology. Instead, select technology that helps to further the main goal for your business.
For example, if your goal is to increase conversion for your business, then technology may be able to help you achieve this goal. If you find that you have many visitors to your website, but a very low percentage of those website visitors actually makes a purchase, a live chat or SMS application on your website may help you engage those visitors and convert them into customers.
Many software solutions offer different levels that fit the needs of your business. Select one where you get the basics you need to accomplish your goal. Many solutions offer free trials for one to three months, which is a good way to see if the technology is right for your business and its processes.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.