Why Quality Customer Service in Healthcare Is Needed More Than Ever

What Consumers Expect From the Patient Experience TW
 

Healthcare is a sensitive topic for a lot of Americans. It’s become top of mind for many who have seen loved ones sick. We all want to be healthier and have a better quality of life, but unfortunately customer service in healthcare has one of the worst reputations, and people want to veto the experience all-together.

While doctors, nurses, and all healthcare support staff are busy trying to save lives, it’s no secret they are overworked, and the priority in the patient experience can fall to the bottom of their priorities. It is often a thankless job, but fortunately, there is an opportunity to serve the community in an outstanding way that your competitors are lacking.

Why Customer Service in Healthcare Is Important

Keeping up-to-date with the latest medical advances has always been a priority for the healthcare industry, but this means new technology and the opportunity to improve the administration and patient experience can fall behind. With lives on the line, it’s almost a no-brainer where to invest when trying to allocate limited resources.

However, latest consumer trends and research make the lack of customer experience impossible to ignore. Healthcare is contending with evolving patient demands. People want more out of their experiences. Personalized experiences have become the norm in industries like retail and hospitality. According to research conducted by SalesForce, 69% of consumers say one extraordinary customer experience raises their expectations of other companies, and 57% of Americans say the healthcare industry cares more about their own needs than the patient needs.

Younger generations are prioritizing a better quality of life and they’re not afraid to go elsewhere to get treated the best. In the same Salesforce survey, 83% of millennials wanted a mobile app for health coaching and 79% wanted 24/7 text messaging abilities. Compared with other generations, they are especially accustomed to having their needs met in a personalized way and their customer experience in healthcare has been incredibly jarring.

Common Patient Complaints

Healthcare administration staff might be surprised to know that patients dealing with unfriendly staff is not the number one complaint. Although a rude receptionist can sway their entire experience at the clinic or hospital, the biggest complaints are scheduling difficulties, waiting too long, and confusion with insurance and billing. Unsatisfied patients did rank high in feeling like they weren’t heard and did not think they had enough time with the doctor, but it wasn’t the most outstanding problem.

This provides some good news for those in healthcare. A lot of the problems can be fixed with automation and technology. By hiring additional chat support staff, which tends to be cheaper than hiring in-person personnel, you can also quickly address issues and customer scheduling concerns that can be done outside of the office and in the comfort of the patient’s home.

How to Provide Excellent Customer Service in Healthcare

A patient-centric approach is critical to transforming the overall customer experience. People want a seamless experience and this can be provided to patients by offering various communication touchpoints. You might think good service begins with the people, and you’re not wrong. However, setting up good tools and efficient systems will only make the training process easier and more scalable.

People in the end want to feel like they matter and that their concerns are heard. Doctors have limited time, so this offers an excellent opportunity for customer service staff to thrive. By having the right systems and processes in place, you can collect patient feedback and address it in a timely manner.

Kustomer: The Healthcare Customer Service Solution for You

There are a number of ways Kustomer helps the healthcare industry and their patients. First and foremost is keeping up-to-date with HIPAA compliance so that patient data is safe and secure.

Additionally, through the use of AI, Kustomer automates manual tasks, routes conversations, and answers commonly asked patient questions to help people self-serve before talking to customer service.

Kustomer has developed a handy guide that outlines what consumers expect from the patient experience here. With a survey of over 550 US-based participants, Kustomer uncovered that 79% of individuals say service is extremely important when deciding where to do business. In the guide, you’ll learn how to drive more revenue through prioritizing the patient experience.

If you’re interested in requesting a demo or would like to know more about how Kustomer helps those in the healthcare industry, find more information here.

 

Happy Shopping Recap: Here’s What’s Next in Retail CX

Happy Shopping Recap: Here’s What’s Next in Retail CX

It’s undeniable — the retail landscape has changed for good. While the past year forced consumers to shop in a whole new way, it also drastically accelerated digital transformation in a matter of months. Brands and consumers alike, who may have been hesitant to buy and sell online, are now embracing digital customer experiences like never before.

But one thing hasn’t changed: consumers still want consultative, personalized experiences throughout the buyer journey. So how do you deliver in this new digital world?

On June 24th, the best and brightest gathered [virtually] to explore what the future of CX looks like for e-commerce, what consumers expect from a modern customer experience, and how to transform service organizations into a full blown revenue driver through consultative, full-funnel support. Here are our key takeaways.

Stand Out Experiences = Standing Out From the Competition

Delivering stand out experiences — personalized and human experiences that can surprise and delight a customer — is the most successful way to stand out from the competition. Many smaller brands may not be able to compete with the Amazons and Walmarts of the world, but by building personalized relationships, direct-to-consumer brands can win.

“Everyone knows that we can’t beat Amazon on price or convenience. So as long as these two metrics continue to be the primary selling point for customers, we’ll always be playing catch up and that’s a pretty rough place to be,” said Kristen LaFrance, Host of Resilient Retail and Senior Content Marketer at Shopify. “That personal, human experience that differentiate smaller brands from the existing industry giants, now that’s the key to building an engaged community that chooses you and your brand every single time. So what does it take to build a fanatical fan base in 2021? Well, it’s all about changing the stakes of the game.”

LaFrance goes on to explain that you can’t fake community. Mega corporations simply can’t provide genuine relationships with consumers, and brands should only optimize and digitize so long as they can continue to personalize the experience for the customer, for the person who wants to invest in the brand story.

Chance Riley, Director of Growth at Cuts Clothing, explained how they are able to deliver unexpected moments via text. “SMS was a great way for us to just get those urgent new product launch announcements out, or maybe a sale announcement… and we still do that of course, when those moments arise. But we’ve been able to get more personalized and deepen those customer relationships. Sometimes even despite our best efforts, customers might receive a product launch document or a sale announcement through SMS, something that we’re really excited to share with our customers and [a customer] will respond to the text saying something like, you know, that’s great and all, but my last order hasn’t been shipped yet. So what’s up with that? And as a customer we all know there’s nothing worse than the feeling of just being ignored. And before we implemented the Kustomer integration, that’s really in a way what was happening — if you replied to a message with that, “hey, what’s up with that” response, you’d received just an automated response. And now instead of being totally blown off, with the Kustomer integration we’re able to really engage with those customers in a more human way.”

Brooklinen likes to deliver surprise and delight moments with customers to build lasting relationships. Caroline Nolan, Customer Experience Manager at Brooklinen, explains with this example: “We’re trying to bring ourselves into the world of sort of the unexpected, that sort of surprise and delight for customers. Maybe someone reached out to us over Twitter to say, you know, I love your sheets. I wish you still had this specific color. It was my favorite and my cat scratched it. We might know that in the back of the warehouse there’s actually a brand new set of that color. We can send it to customers and just sort of make their day… I think that is what everyone’s looking for, that personalized experience. Someone mentioned that they’re moving into their new apartment and that’s why they’re looking at our sheets. Maybe we have a way of giving them a little something special.”

Happy Agents Mean Happy Customers

Building trust with your consumers can be difficult — especially after something has already gone wrong. But by empowering agents to address problems with empathy and humanity, and training them to truly listen and act on customer concerns, brands are able to communicate how much a customer truly means to them. Happy agents often do directly translate to happy customers. And it’s important to ensure that agents have all of the technology and strategy at their fingertips to ensure their jobs are as easy as they can possibly be.

Says LaFrance, “We need to ask ourselves what does trust actually mean? And how do we build it in a way that’s healthy and ethical for both our brands and our customers? I always try to think of relationships between brands and customers in a similar way to relationships between two average people. And that means that those connections develop gradually. So clicking on a Facebook ad for a water bottle is a lot like swiping right on bumble. It’s not a commitment but it’s an invitation to a broader conversation… Trust grows from meaningful, open dialogue. It’s really hard to trust somebody if you don’t feel like they’re listening to you. It’s hard to trust someone that says they value your input but never act on it. It’s hard to trust somebody that treats you as a data point.”

Riley agrees that the best way to build brand loyalty is through trust. “It only takes one bad experience to completely destroy [trust]. So to us, we try to remember that and put our best foot forward. Every product we put out, every marketing message, every customer service interaction. And we’re always trying to keep that in the back of our mind because if we can consistently do that, then brand loyalty follows.”

Lauren Panken, Senior Systems Manager, UNTUCKit, also understands that building trust starts with the agent, and she tries to do all she can to ensure they feel empowered. “I think that’s the biggest part of any customer service manager’s job is keeping the agents happy, because those emotions and those attitudes directly relate to how I think the customer experience will go,” says Panken. “Let’s say you start your day off super happy and excited. And then you get thrown off because you have a bad customer experience… we’ll take care of you if that ever happens and we’ll give you the tools to kind of resolve that within yourself so that you have those tools that you can take from your toolbox to know how to manage an interaction like that. I want to make sure that all of the agents are an extension of our team… and I want them to recognize that they’re not secondary.”

Laura Gramlich, Customer Experience Manager at SKIMS, thoroughly understands the importance of keeping agents happy while also ensuring they grow within their roles. “The last thing I would want to do is lower morale with my team. I think keeping up that morale and kind of having us be a front as a group, instead of individuals, is really important in terms of just working together,” says Gramlich. “If I see anyone slipping or having obviously a lower score than normal, I’ll kind of identify that together. But I never give the numbers out as a large group like: this person got this. I think just making sure everyone feels like they’re a part of that team … is really important.”

Nolan of Brooklinen thinks that CX technology tools have a huge part in making agents’ lives easier. “The ability that Kustomer has to have everything in one timeline, [the integration with] Convey updates regularly to say: here’s the tracking information… Maybe a shipment has been paused or there might be a weather delay. We can see that on the Kustomer Timeline. So our agents don’t have to be moving around from tab to tab and trying to grab the correct tracking information… I think having everything in one place especially during our busiest time is super important.”

Customer Service Channels Are Changing

According to recent Kustomer research, preferred communication channels are changing. While older generations still prefer more traditional channels like phone and email, younger generations lean more heavily on digital-first channels like chat and SMS. Direct-to-consumer brands are seeing this as well, and reflecting it in their strategies.

Dan Brady, Customer Success Manager at Pura Vida Bracelets gleaned insights on channels through networking with other DTC leaders. “I’ve actually found that the more people I talked to, it seems like a lot of direct-to-consumer brands are kind of moving away from phones and focusing on some of these other channels that are offered in this day and age… I think anyone who’s a customer service manager realizes that phones tend to be the most expensive platform to be staffed on. They also have the longest average handle time. I know … some companies will have agents doing as many as three, four or five live chats at a time. That’s not feasible when it comes to phones. So we definitely made some adjustments but we definitely still wanted to allow customers the ability to leave a voicemail and know that they were quite literally heard and replied to in a timely manner. So true omnichannel, right?”

Gramlich at SKIMS also doesn’t utilize phones. “When we launched, it was like… what will we be doing in order to really be able to understand our customer? We didn’t really know who that customer was going to be. We had an idea but you’re never going to know until it happens, right? But we didn’t have phones. We only had email and of course, social media correspondence. We noticed that, because we are a high profile company, we knew we were going to have a large social presence. We’ve continued to have that. So DMs, Facebook, Twitter, et cetera, that’s been since the beginning. But during the pandemic we’ve launched SMS messaging, which has really been that sweet spot between phones and also live chat because a customer can still pick up their phone and message us at any time.”

Cuts Clothing thinks that usage of more digital channels will continue to grow. “SMS…. when we first started using it was fairly rare,” says Riley. “I wanna say there weren’t a whole lot of brands utilizing it. But now, of course, that’s changed significantly and I’d expect that to continue to be the case especially as customers become more used to being able to interact with brands through text. It’s kind of like the more brands that utilize the channel the more customers are comfortable interacting with brands in that way. So sort of like a flywheel effect wouldn’t be a surprise.”

But the true key to success is ensuring that the entire customer journey, across all channels, is consistent and exceptional. “Remember, your customers probably haven’t heard the term omnichannel and even if they have, it’s not something that they’re thinking about when they’re shopping at your store,” says LaFrance. “Instead of trying to set up sales pitches at every single touchpoint, our focus needs to be on creating a unified funnel where the point of conversion is flexible to the customer’s needs, regardless of how they got there. Basically true omnichannel is about a unified customer experience above everything else.”

Did you miss Kustomer’s Happy Shopping Conference? Don’t fret. You can watch the whole thing on demand right here.

 

3 Reasons Why Customer Complaints Can Help Your Business Grow

How to Decrease CX Costs by Improving Agent Productivity TW

A business could be doing everything right, but at some point they will receive a customer complaint. It can be easy to place blame on the customer. They might be rude or have unrealistic expectations. But businesses should see the unsatisfied customer as a growth opportunity. Very few businesses actually know how to handle customer complaints in a manner that is both respectful to the customer and shows them that you care about their business. Interested in knowing more? In this article, you will uncover three ways customer complaints are actually a blessing.

How to Handle Customer Complaints

If a customer is unhappy with your service or their purchase, they will likely complain. And it’s more critical than ever to address these complaints. According to Ruby Newell-Legner’s Understanding Customers research, it takes roughly 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. The same research reveals that 70% of unhappy customers whose issues were resolved in their favor said they would be willing to come back. Not only is it critical for businesses to solve a customer complaint the first time, it can truly sway a customer’s lifelong experience with that brand.

According to an American Express survey, U.S. consumers were willing to spend more when companies provided exceptional customer service. In fact, they were willing to spend about 13% more. However, in that same study, 42% of shoppers said that companies were helpful but didn’t do anything extra to keep their business while 20% thought companies took their business for granted. Furthermore, 59% of respondents said they would try a new brand just for the better customer service experience.

While there’s always room for improvement, customer service provides a huge opportunity for your business to shine. If you can deliver an exceptional customer experience, your business will be able to steal market share from the competition.

A Personalized Touch Counts

The next step to navigating customer complaints is to train your customer service team to handle customer complaints empathetically, ensuring the customer feels valued and important. Businesses must capture customer feedback and respond to the dissatisfied ones immediately.

When a business ignores an unhappy customer, it makes them feel like their voice and opinion does not matter. Writing any wrong shows that the business cares and wants to continuously improve by addressing customer feedback instantaneously.

Active Communication Is Key

Customers are turned off by being kept in the dark. If you’ve received their complaint, acknowledge it and act quickly. The best way to handle customer complaints is actively communicating with your customer and letting them know you’re working on the problem right away. Your customer is already frustrated that things aren’t going their way. Don’t add to the frustration!

It’s important to apologize and listen carefully to what their needs might be. If the problem looks like it may take a few days to resolve, be sure to list out the next action steps and what a resolution would look like. Customers don’t want to wait four days to see if they’re eligible for something as simple as a refund. If you can answer some of these questions right off the bat, it’s going to make your customer feel better about the situation.

Empower Your Support Team to Go Above and Beyond

Support teams have a tough job and their hands are often tied when it comes to how to handle customer complaints. Additional positive touches can be critical, especially when a customer has complained. Can your support team give the customer a gift without having to escalate to a manager? How can you empower your support team to go above and beyond while they are in active communication with an unhappy customer?

For example, The Ritz-Carlton is known for its high-end customer service. The tourism and hospitality company has been able to create a loyal fan base. One of the many reasons they are known for their impeccable service is because they have empowered every employee to provide additional touches to make their guests’ experience exceptional.

If the bellhop, for example, overhears a complaint, he or she is able to take it into their own hands and offer free dessert, or another positive touch point, to that client. They do not have to go to the manager for permission or to escalate the issue. This gives power to the employee to quickly react to a customer’s complaint, and they are not held back by company processes in order to make a customer feel valued.

Connect With Kustomer:

Interested in knowing more about how you can deliver excellent customer service in the modern era? Feel free to download our free ebook about four key ways to deliver on customer needs. You can also check out our free report, What Consumers Expect From the Customer Experience, so that you and your business can begin implementing a great customer experience that goes beyond what your competitors are able to provide.

 

4 Elements of E-Commerce Customer Service

How Consumer Behavior Is Fueling the Future of Retail CX TW

The world is rapidly changing and that’s good news for businesses in the e-commerce space. In a study conducted by The Global Consumer, more than one-third of global consumers purchased products online at least once per week. This means it’s more crucial than ever to focus on the e-commerce customer service experience.

There’s been a huge bump in online purchases ever since the pandemic began. As more consumers practiced social distancing and stayed at home, their online shopping habits increased. In fact, on a global level, 49% of consumers shop online more than they did pre-COVID-19 and the amount spent online with U.S. retailers alone in Q2 of 2020 was 44% higher than the same period in 2019.

These new statistics mean there’s a lot of room for growth in the e-commerce sector. If you’re a retailer, one of the most important points of contact for new customers is your customer service team, which means it’s imperative that they’re trained and up-to-date with the latest knowledge and know how to go above and beyond for your customers.

What Is E-Commerce Customer Service?

E-commerce customer service is the act of assisting new or existing online customers when they encounter questions or challenges they may have throughout the customer journey. It is the goal for an e-commerce customer service team to provide a pain-free, digital shopping experience for consumers.

An e-commerce business should look at all the ways a customer would interact with their brand and provide assistance for them throughout the digital customer journey. This could mean answering their questions directly on the brand’s website, via social media, or by telephone calls and emails.

The ideal e-commerce customer service experience means customers are never left hanging — no matter what. If you’d like to improve your customers’ experience throughout the buyer journey, here are four important elements you should be incorporating in your e-commerce customer service strategy.

1. Reduce Redundancies and Customer Friction

According to HubSpot Research, the most frustrating thing about interacting with an e-commerce brand is having to repeat their problem to more than one customer service representative. You can prevent this from happening by incorporating an omnichannel communication strategy that allows a customer service agent to see all the ways a customer has connected and interacted with your brand. Don’t take their problem for granted. If a customer doesn’t feel like you’re able to accurately, and consistently solve their problem, they will look elsewhere for a brand that does.

2. Provide Self-Service Options

Customers often dread having to reach out to a customer service agent. They prefer to find the solution to their problem on their own before having to interact with someone. Some of the cheapest ways to improve the customer experience is by providing more self-help and FAQ documentation for that customer.

If you’re noticing a pattern within your e-commerce customer service channels where customers are asking the same questions over and over, you might benefit from creating additional documentation on the website to help customers get what they need quickly without having to ask for help.

3. Replace the Sales Rep with E-Commerce Customer Service Agents

Customer service agents are wearing a lot of hats in today’s market. They’re not only expected to solve tough customer problems, but they’re also an extension of the brand’s image. They need to know how to best service their customers’ unique  needs and personal tastes.

Today’s consumers are turned off by pushy sales reps, but they do love someone who is in their corner and recommending products that are relevant to them. However, it’s a fine balance to juggle these two worlds. It’s important to provide training for your customer service team so they can understand the difference, and learn how to recommend the best products in a way that’s authentic to the brand. Consumers want a personalized experience and you can deliver by having your support team lead them down a path that’s unique and relevant without being seen as salesy.

4. Take Customer Reviews Seriously

Many customers feel like they’re shouting into a void when it comes to delivering feedback to a brand. They’ve taken their time to answer a customer satisfaction survey and, if their feedback was especially negative, often don’t see changes in how the company handles the shopping experience. This is an area where you can really stand out from your competitors.

If you notice a customer has had a bad experience, don’t let their feedback go unnoticed. Reach out to them, offer to make it right, and let them know you value their opinion no matter what. Some of your harshest critics can turn into your biggest supporters if they see first-hand that you value their business and will do anything to make sure they’re satisfied.

Connect With Kustomer:

It can be hard to stand out from the crowd and grab a bigger piece of the pie in the e-commerce market. However, Kustomer is here to help! If you’d like to know more about how to differentiate yourself in the market and improve the agent experience for the customer, you can watch our ondemand webinar here. Delivering exceptional customer service requires companies to empower their team with the tools they need to succeed. Feel free to request a free demo right here and start creating stellar customer experiences today.

 

How To Turn Your CX Organization Into a Revenue Generator by Engaging Customers in the Digital Age

How To Turn Your CX Organization Into a Revenue Generator by Engaging Customers in the Digital Age TW

To facilitate more meaningful, long-term customer relationships, companies must focus on implementing solutions that offer both valuable and seamless support. With customers relying on agents to support their entire pre- and post-purchasing journey, there is a clear opportunity to optimize the customer experience by leveraging critical insight and assistive technology.

By equipping agents to support complex interactions and promote more proactive communication, companies can secure loyal customers that drive bottom-line results and prompt consistent growth in revenue.

Focus on Omnichannel Support

To operate in the digital era, companies must be equipped to support an omnichannel experience. With customers spending more of their personal time validating their purchases with pre-transaction support, they require access to agents who can effectively understand their entire contextual journey. By focusing on an omnichannel approach, companies can work to better understand their customers intentions and adapt support as needed.

According to Gabe Larsen, VP of Marketing at Kustomer, “Omnichannel support can often seem intimidating to businesses because they think they need separate teams to manage these separate channels through separate systems. Your customer data is powerful, but it often lives in other disparate systems making it a challenge to provide a complete picture of your customers. You need to implement a support solution that unifies that data and makes it easily available and actionable for your support team. And since your omnichannel strategy connects all your channels, data on customer interactions travels with the customer and moves as easily between channels as they do.”

As customers continue to utilize different channels, switching between self-service options, live chat, and traditional phone service, it becomes necessary to gain a line of sight into every aspect of the overall journey.

Additionally, when customers increase touch points by requesting support pre-transaction, companies must work to identify these moments to piece together a 360-degree view of the customer later on.

To achieve a more seamless approach, companies must implement Al solutions that ensure flawless escalation and increased efficiency. With modern Al technology, customers using a chatbot service can be swiftly routed to the most qualified agent to receive individual support. By pinpointing the exact moment of frustration or inefficiency, Al works to seamlessly adapt to the customers’ momentary needs, while providing the agent with the necessary contextual information to adequately handle the case.

Once agents gain access to this in-depth customer insight they can more effectively handle the unique influx of questions and services they are currently expected to provide. Companies can then work to provide a simplified experience as customers effortlessly switch between channels without ever having to repeat their inquiries.

Says Ryan Patchitt, Customer Experience Manager at Waldo, “Having that 360-degree customer view, it allows the agents in one click to have an understanding of, from the beginning, from that first order that the customers had with us, has there been any pros or cons throughout their journey? When looking at that, it allows the agents to say, ‘you’ve been with us for X amount of time, we can see that you needed your contact lenses now, a month ago, you seem to be running out at this time of the month, why don’t we change your plan to this?’ and it really helps the agents get a more personalized experience for our customers and it also saves a lot of time which is great for us.”

Leverage Personalization

Once agents can effectively handle a more seamless flow of interactions, they can work to provide the more personalized and empathetic version of support customers are currently seeking.

We know customers do not want to be treated like a ticket number; they want agents to consistently recognize them on every platform and actually understand their intentions and goals. Identifying the customer is one thing, but providing meaningful and personalized support at every touchpoint takes a more comprehensive approach.

This level of support requires access to detailed customer data to go beyond simple recognition and support complex, meaningful interactions. Additionally, it demands streamlined back-end processes to allow agents to direct their focus on the most substantial cases.

“There’s no need to waste the customer’s or agent’s time by asking for repeat information Instead, that information is available at the click of a button, allowing the agent to personalize the customer’s experience by giving fine-tuned advice, addressing problems proactively, and suggesting other products or services the customer might enjoy. The result? An efficient but personal interaction that builds a lifelong customer relationship,” says Gabe Larsen, VP of Marketing at Kustomer.

To leverage comprehensive customer data, empower agents with Al tools like customizable insight cards that curate the context and tools needed to facilitate an interaction. With this technology, agents can process returns, issue credits, or rebook reservations all in a single platform. This keeps the most critical information in one place, allowing agents to focus on each interaction by avoiding distracting searches and inefficiencies. Additionally, it allows agents to more effectively act in an advisory role, recommending new products and services that may align with their value-driven mentality — increasing potential revenue opportunities.

To learn more about how to transform your contact center into a profit center, download our latest report produced in conjunction with CCW, right here.

 

How Consumer Behavior Is Fueling the Future of Retail CX

How Consumer Behavior Is Fueling the Future of Retail CX TW

A whole new demographic of buyers were forced to do their shopping online in the past year, and leaned more heavily on customer service teams to feel comfortable and confident about their purchases. While post-transaction support, like order status and return initiation, likely will never subside, CX teams can now take on more of a revenue-generating advisory role, answering product questions or directing customers to better alternatives.

Kustomer talked to thought leaders in the customer experience space to understand what they think the future of retail CX looks like, how to re-create the in-store experience in an online world, and what tools and strategies brands should tap into in order to achieve this. Read on for a preview, and access the full e-book here.

The Shift to Digital-First

With most businesses closing their storefronts (at least temporarily) or minimizing capacity during the global pandemic, consumers were forced to shift their shopping online. While it is inevitable that commerce will partially shift back to brick-and-mortar once things go back to “normal”, there is now a massive new pool of consumers that are comfortable shopping online, and you can expect this increased volume of e-commerce and digital inquiries to continue. In fact, according to Shopify, a whopping 84% of consumers shopped online during the global pandemic, and 48.8% of consumers will continue to shop online more frequently after the pandemic is over.

It is imperative to consider how new online shoppers will be interacting with your brand in a digital-first world. How do you make it easier for them to get their questions answered? How do you make sure you’re able to surface the correct information and resources to a customer in their times of need? How do you ensure you are able to deliver a seamless experience when consumers switch channels or move from in-store to online?

Creating a Unified and Effortless Experience

According to Alexander Richards, Director of Partnerships & Business Development at Medallia, the future of retail involves seamless and connected shopping experiences. “For a long time now, online and in-store shopping have been treated as separate entities that fall under the same brand, and sell the same goods, usually leaving advocates frustrated. Just because a brick-and-mortar store uses one POS platform, an online store uses another, and they don’t talk to each other, this shouldn’t impede the sales and support teams. Most of all, it shouldn’t impede the customer,” says Richards. “Brands are becoming smarter, more customer-centric, and know they need to meet their customers where they are in this omnichannel world. Our jobs as technology companies are to provide solutions to enable and support these effortless experiences.”

Incorporating digital-first support strategies into the overall online customer experience will make a huge difference when it comes to brand equity and loyalty. Consumers that perhaps would walk into a store to check out a product or ask a question to an in-store representative, now require that service in an online environment. Instead of tracking down a phone number or e-mail address, a chat widget or in-app messaging may be the most convenient option to get a question answered. In fact, according to recent consumer research conducted by Kustomer, live chat continues to grow in popularity with consumers, now ranking as the second most popular channel to get customer service problems solved.

Keeping Things Personal

However, digital CX should not mean impersonal CX. Customers still want to be treated like real human beings, with unique thoughts and preferences — not like anonymous transaction numbers. According to Kustomer research conducted during the pandemic, the top three most valued customer service attributes are:

  1. Empathy
  2. Personalization
  3. Speed

In order to truly deliver the in-store experience in a digital world, retailers must not lose the human touch. Consumers expect to be treated with empathy and personalization, even when they aren’t interacting with a company representative face-to-face.

Says Blake Morgan, Customer Experience Futurist, Bestselling Author, and Keynote Speaker, “The future of retail is personalized. Retailers will use technology to create bespoke experiences that are completely tailored, at scale.”

Want to learn more from CX experts on how to recreate the in-store retail experience online? Check out the full e-book here.

 

Kustomer Debuts Next Generation Chat Platform, Enabling Businesses to Deliver AI-Powered, Personalized Customer Service at Fraction of the Cost of Phone Support

Kustomer Debuts Next Generation Chat Platform, Enabling Businesses to Deliver AI-Powered, Personalized Customer Service at Fraction of the Cost of Phone Support TW

Businesses Can Now Resolve the High-Frequency Needs of Digital Shoppers Faster and More Efficiently, Providing Personal, Empathetic & Helpful Chat-Based Support to More Customers

 

New York, NY – January 19, 2021Kustomer, the top-rated CRM platform for omnichannel customer experiences, today launched its next-generation Kustomer Chat platform. The intelligent, easy-to-deploy conversational messaging platform leverages AI and historical customer data to enable secure, personalized engagement from websites and mobile devices throughout their buyer journey. This reduces shopping cart abandonment, empowers customers to resolve their own issues and inspires customer loyalty with a smarter, more convenient and cost-effective support option that helps businesses stay on top of support volume triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also helps businesses scale cost-effectively by replacing phone-based support that can cost over $8 per contact, with an AI-powered messaging experience at 1/10th the cost.

“Customer service has become a lifeline for consumers struggling to adapt in the post-COVID era. They need personal, informed support throughout their buying journey, and they need it on their own schedule. Unfortunately, the crushing volume and complexity of requests has left businesses struggling to keep up and searching for smarter, digital solutions to address customer demands,” said Brad Birnbaum, founder and CEO of Kustomer. “As one of the most popular and efficient support channels, chat is the answer, but it must be smarter, more personalized, and less frustrating than legacy chat experiences. That’s why we are so excited to introduce our newest version of the Kustomer Chat platform with AI chatbots powered by rich customer data to help businesses deliver highly-responsive, smart, and personalized support at a fraction of the cost of traditional channels. By allowing customers to easily resolve problems on their own and engage with CX at their convenience, Kustomer Chat provides businesses the tools to deliver on customers’ expectations and grow their business. Using AI-powered advanced triage and recommended agent actions, CX organizations can deliver faster answers to their customers’ needs.”

Brand New Kustomer Chat Platform Packed With Features

The new version of Kustomer Chat delivers benefits for both consumers and businesses by making chat-based support interactions smarter, faster, and frictionless. Businesses can now automate, deflect, or instantly resolve customer issues using chatbots powered by machine learning and customer data from the built-in CRM platform. Businesses can also improve agent productivity by using AI and the customer’s full history to eliminate guesswork, accelerate triage, and recommend or automate actions. The platform features an extensive set of capabilities, Kustomer Chat empowers businesses to deliver seamless support around the clock, dramatically improve the customer experience quality, and reduce the costs and complexity of their service operations.

  • Embedded Knowledge Base: Enable quick access to FAQs and deliver instant resolution with AI-Powered Knowledge Base that can be accessed from within the chat widget.
  • Persistent Conversation History: Keep conversations continuous even if the customer has momentarily left, with a persistent interaction history that allows anywhere, anytime engagement, without losing context or needing to repeat themselves.
  • CRM-Powered Chatbots: Powered by machine learning and CRM data, deploy powerful bots across the entire journey to automate routine agent interactions, deliver personalized experiences, and drive faster resolution.
  • In-App & Push Notifications: Reduce abandonment and churn, and eliminate frustrating waiting on hold by using in-app and push notifications to instantly notify customers when there is a response from an agent.
  • Multi-Brand Customization: Deliver customized experience across multiple brands. Manage unique settings to create brand-specific experiences including branding, styles, language, conversational assistant, automations, SLAs, reporting, and more.
  • Build Your Own Chat Widget: Create your own conversational interface and experience using turnkey tools and developer configurations.
  • Targeted CSAT Surveys: Collect meaningful, in-the-moment feedback by targeting CSAT surveys based on customer data.
  • Enhanced Performance and Reliability: Completely rewritten in industry-leading modern programming languages Swift and Kotlin, along with simplified implementation, and super-light SDKs, the new chat platform delivers top speed and reliability.
  • Support for the popular Dark Mode and Landscape mode.
  • Intelligent Agent Suggestions (Coming Soon): Using AI and entire ticket history, brands can eliminate overhead manual triage, accelerate response times, and recommend or automate actions for agents.

“Chat is the most cost-effective and fastest way to support and win over our customers,” said Becky Leader, VP of Customer Experience at Rent The Runway. “Kustomer’s chat platform is a critical part of our omnichannel support strategy. Agents can efficiently deliver seamless web and in-app chat support, quickly switch to another channel if needed, and follow up on any missed messages.”

New Research Shows Customers Want Chat-Based CX

Kustomer recently conducted a study of consumer chat preferences that can be downloaded for free at www.kustomer.com. The research showed consumers aged 18-24 rate customer service today as slower, more difficult, less personal, and less convenient than all other age groups, meaning that current customer service strategies are falling short when it comes to this generation. But their appetite for self-service via chat reveals an easy way to improve upon these negative feelings: 61% of consumers 24 and younger prefer self-service, compared with only 23% of those 65 and above.

About Kustomer
Kustomer is the top-rated CRM platform for omnichannel customer experience, helping leading businesses create customers for life. With an advanced, AI-powered, omnichannel customer experience platform, Kustomer delivers a unified single view of the customer, automates manual tasks, and scales easily to deliver the efficient and effortless CX that businesses, agents and consumers love. Today, Kustomer is the core platform of top customer-centric brands like Ring, Glovo, Glossier, Sweetgreen. Headquartered in NYC, Kustomer was founded in 2015 by serial entrepreneurs Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel, has raised over $174M in venture funding, and is backed by leading VCs including: Coatue, Tiger Global Management, Battery Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Cisco Investments, Canaan Partners, Boldstart Ventures and Social Leverage.

Media Contact:
Cari Sommer
Raise Communications
cari@raisecg.com

Join us for our webinar on January 26th, 2021: Servicing the Modern Consumer With Chat.

Register Now

 

How Smart Technology Can Power Efficient, Digital-First Experiences

How Smart Technology Can Power Efficient, Digital-First Experiences TW

In 2020, the whole world went digital at a rapid pace. While it is inevitable that commerce and customer service will partially shift back to brick and mortar once things go back to “normal”, there is now a massive new pool of consumers that are comfortable shopping online, and you can expect this increased volume of e-commerce and digital inquiries to continue. Many organizations are tapping into the power of technology to deliver on this digital shift, and scale without sacrificing their quality of support.

Artificial intelligence still sparks some suspicion or nervousness that robots will take all of our jobs. But instead, AI in customer service can truly enable businesses to be more efficient and productive by eliminating menial work. International delivery company Glovo knows this first hand. After implementing Kustomer IQ, the artificial intelligence tools embedded throughout the Kustomer platform, Glovo was able to instantly solve 84% of their inquiries through pure self-service and chatbots, versus contacting an agent.

 

Beyond AI-driven efficiency tools, leveraging a true customer service CRM, where all information is unified and actionable, is the only way to deliver a modern experience. Legacy CRMs were built to manage cases, not customers. Many digital disruptors, who put the customer at the center of their business models, realized this early on and put a CX CRM in place to deliver a seamless, customer-first experience. Says Lauren Panken, Senior Systems Manager at UNTUCKit, “For us, the CRM is the place that we get a full view of our customer in regards to customer service. It’s honestly just been such a great addition to the way that our team functions… and has improved the way that we’ve been serving our customers.”

 

More “old school” organizations are also quickly realizing that in order to service their customers effectively, they need to move into the twenty-first century, with modern technology. Ernest Chrappah, Director of the DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs, chose to work with Kustomer to ensure they were putting their best foot forward. “It was simply about finding a way to respond to our customers by elevating the services that we provide to meet the needs of customers in the digital age,” said Chrappah.

 

Before switching to Kustomer, Ritual was using a system that didn’t allow them to scale. Instead of logging into half a dozen different systems in order to solve a single ticket, Ritual found a modern CRM that would allow them to be both efficient and effective. “Having everything under one roof was really the driving factor,” said Andrew Rickards, Director of Customer Experience at Ritual.

 

A modern CRM like Kustomer can not only allow businesses to scale by unifying all data and making it actionable in a single screen, but it can also surface data points that can make your business better. By understanding data-driven trends, shortcomings, issues and wins, and putting technology solutions in place to better your operations, a true customer service CRM can transform a business from a cost center into a profit center, says Amy Coleman, Director of CX at Lulus.com:

 

Want to learn more about how switching to Kustomer can power both efficient and exceptional experiences? Explore how we stack up to Zendesk here.

 

Consumers Love Live Chat, but Businesses Aren’t Adopting It. Here’s Why.

Consumers Love Chat, but Businesses Aren’t Adopting It. Here’s Why. TW

One of the biggest shifts over the past few years? A digital-first mindset. While phone support isn’t going anywhere, when you force consumers to switch platforms in order to get their questions answered, you give them a reason to abandon their purchase or generate negative feelings. The less effort, the better — and with the digital-first consumer, chat is often better.

In an effort to understand how brands are currently using live chat for business, why some have not yet done so, and whether there is a disconnect between customer needs and brand expectations, Kustomer went out and surveyed over 100 CX professionals and compared these findings with our recent consumer research.

What is Live Chat for Business?

Live chat is a customer service widget that allows your questions to be answered effortlessly within the web browser. Live chat allows customers to effortlessly communicate with customer service representatives in real time, without having to leave the platform they are already doing business on. The live chat allows customers to communicate with customer service at stores or brands in real time without having to talk with a customer service representative.

Why Consumers Love Chat

Think about the online shopping experience. You find the perfect Christmas present for your son, but have a question about whether batteries are included. So, instead of picking up the phone or searching for an e-mail address to contact the business, there is a chat window right there on the page that can allow your questions to be answered effortlessly. While switching channels may not sound like a deal breaker, the data says otherwise.

According to recent consumer research conducted by Kustomer, 79% of consumers get frustrated when they can’t contact customer service on their preferred medium or platform, and 81% of consumers would abandon a purchase due to a poor service experience.

Chat, as well as social media messaging, allows you to instantly meet your customers where they are, whether that is browsing online for products, checking their shipping status, or perusing your social channels. Research from Matt Dixon revealed that only 9% of customers who have low effort experiences display any kind of disloyal attitude or behavior, compared to 96% of those customers with high effort, difficult experiences. And chat does a great job of delivering this effortless quality customer service experience.

The Business Disconnect

Curiously, businesses are not aligned with these consumer preferences and wants. Only 25% of surveyed customer service organizations are currently using chat, and 18% report they currently use chatbots. When taking into consideration the effortless, fast service that modern customers demand, the vast majority of businesses are missing a huge opportunity and leaving themselves open to competitors.

The top two reasons that companies have not yet adopted chat software, speak to a lack of time, resources or strategy internally: the organization does not know where to start, or they have staffing constraints when it comes to managing more channels. However, the third most popular reason speaks to the massive disconnect between CX organizations and consumers: businesses report that they don’t think their customers want or like it. However, according to Kustomer’s recent consumer research, customers rank live chat as the second most popular channel or tactic for contacting customer service, right below phone.

Top Reasons CX Organizations Haven’t Adopted Chat
  1. Don’t know where to start
  2. Staffing constraints
  3. Customers don’t want / like it
  4. Lack of customizable solutions
  5. No budget
  6. Lack of executive buy-in

Additionally, many organizations report that they are prevented from adopting chat because of the lack of customizable solutions. Seventy-five percent of CX teams say that matching the chat experience to the overall brand experience is important, so slapping any old chat widget on your site just won’t do. Make sure that your customer service CRM can allow your business to build or integrate chat widgets seamlessly, ensuring that all customer data and history is integrated within the chat experience, while maintaining brand guidelines.

When it comes to chatbots, the reasons for lack of adoption differ slightly from live chat:

Top Reasons CX Organizations Haven’t Adopted Chatbots
  1. Not sure of the benefits
  2. No budget
  3. Lack of resources to manage chatbots
  4. Customers don’t want / like it
  5. Tried, isn’t effective
  6. Lack of executive buy-in

As chatbots are quite new, and often involve buying a pricey solution or building one with an internal team, the top reasons for lack of adoption make sense. But 61% of the younger generation prefer self-service over talking to a company representative, meaning that the benefits are clear: your customers now expect chatbots as an option.

Additionally, chatbots free up agent time for more complex and proactive support. They can be used to collect initial information, provide responses to simple questions, and even complete standard tasks like initiating a return or answering an order status question. While there is always fear of losing personalization when using AI and automation, with the right platform, businesses can actually do the opposite. For instance, if a business leverages customer data properly, chatbots could ask personalized questions based on an individual’s purchase or browsing history. These interventions save time for both the customer and agent, and increase the time spent on the actual issue rather than information gathering and low-level support.

Look for a platform that leverages chatbots and AI-enabled deflection to act as a first line of defense, optimizing a customer’s ability to self-serve so agents can focus on the most important cases and deliver the highest impact.

Want the complete findings from our research on chat? Download the report here.
 

5 Common Digital Transformation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

5 Common Digital Transformation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them TW

You’ve no doubt heard of digital transformation before. Maybe the term has been batted around the boardroom, maybe you already have a strategy in place, or maybe you’ve skipped over it, deciding it wasn’t necessary for your business.

Digital transformation is more important now than ever before. Smart technology is allowing people to work remotely, and the future of healthcare has embraced telemedicine. But what does that mean for you?

Digital transformation will look different for each business. What works for one company will not necessarily work for another. Because of this, creating a digital transformation strategy is not always straightforward. There will be hurdles and pitfalls along the way, but that’s what makes it fun, right?

We want to help your digital transformation happen as smoothly as possible. To that end, we’ve put together five common digital transformation mistakes and (most importantly) tips on how to avoid them.

1. Lack of Responsibility

While everyone in your company might agree that digital transformation is important, they may not consider it to be their responsibility. Directors pass the buck to managers, managers decide it falls under the marketing team’s remit, and the marketing team pawn it off to IT.

This doesn’t work. Everyone needs to take responsibility. Without the human resources team’s involvement, how will you know the best way to digitize HR? Do you know what software will best suit the sales team’s needs? Or if the CX team had a say in helping the marketing team create their roll-out of promos? Cross-organizational cooperation and accountability is essential.

How to Avoid it…
Make sure that everyone is on board. Ask each team to identify any current problems they have, and ensure they understand how digital transformation can resolve these issues.

5 Common Digital Transformation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Inline 1

2. Waiting for the Competition

You might think that it’s sensible to wait for the competition before investing in digital transformation. Why spend unnecessarily when none of your competitors are? But this is a dangerous game to play.

Waiting for your competition is a great way to get left behind. You may not know what digital transformation they have going on, until it’s too late.

Let’s say your competition is suddenly closing twice as many sales as they were before. You do a bit of digging and find out that they’re using new software in their contact center that provides advanced reporting and analytics plus remote screen sharing to enable team-wide collaboration.

How long would it take you to put those same call center solutions into place? A week? A month? A year? You’re now playing catch up because you chose to wait.

How to Avoid it…
Focus on the needs of your own business before worrying about what your rivals are doing. If your business can be improved by digital transformation, then do it! Stay ahead of your competition and make them catch up to you.

3. Focusing on ‘What’ Instead of ‘Why’

Digital transformation is exciting. You get to invest in new, exciting technology. However, if you’re not careful, it can be very easy to end up focusing on what you’re going to invest in next and lose sight of why you need to invest in it.

Biometric technology throughout the building and VoIP phones on every desk sounds great! But they only make sense if your business actually needs them. If they don’t enhance your business, then they’re just a resource drain taking up funds that could have been invested in something else. Like offering superior customer service, for instance.

How to Avoid it…
Instead of making a list of all of the gadgets and software you’d like to use, make a list of the problems that you’re trying to solve. This way, you’re focusing on your business’ needs. By doing this, any digital transformation strategies that you put in place will actually serve a purpose.

For instance, you may want to reduce call handle times in your contact center to boost customer satisfaction. With that aim in mind, you can find the best tech solutions for the task.

5 Common Digital Transformation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Inline 2

4. Transforming Bit by Bit

The meaning of digital transformation has become somewhat diluted, but it’s important not to lose sight of what it is. It’s right there in the name. Transformation.

Transformation isn’t gradually implementing digital strategies here and there. You can’t just invest in a video hosting platform and hope for the best. Transformation is changing the very structure of your business. It can be daunting, and it can be expensive. But you shouldn’t shy away from it.

It may be tempting to focus on just improving today, rather than taking a long term view of your business. It’s a little easier, it costs a little less. But ultimately it’s not enough to stay ahead of the competition.

How to Avoid it…

Budget. Find the funds to properly tackle digital transformation.You may need to shift around budget allocation or put some spend on hold. But this will future-proof your business for 2020 and beyond.

5. Getting Weighed Down in the Nitty-Gritty

It’s important to plan, but you don’t want to fall victim to analysis paralysis. Digital transformation is about doing, not planning.

Endless and unnecessary planning will slow down the transformation process. You run the risk of falling behind your rivals, and your plans may end up out of date. Digital customer service is changing constantly. If you spend 18 months planning, your goals will have changed and you’ll need to start over again.

How to Avoid it…

Understand that digital transformation involves experimentation. You won’t necessarily get everything right the first time around, but there’s no problem with that. Aim for a minimum viable product and get it out there! You can then improve and evolve this with testing and feedback.

5 Common Digital Transformation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Inline 3

Implementing a solid digital transformation strategy won’t be easy, and you’ll almost certainly run into issues along the way. But by avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll put your business in the best position to improve your customer experience, stay ahead of the competition, and embrace the digital world.

How to Deliver on Consumer Expectations

The Top Customer Service Qualities Your Customers Expect TW

Optimal customer service is a must for companies that want a stellar reputation that keeps business flowing. In fact, according to our own research, 79% of consumers say customer service is extremely important when deciding where to shop, so delivering on consumer expectations has never been more important. Retailers need to tailor the way they interact with consumers in a way that exceeds their expectations in an effort to not only maintain their business, but also to gain customer loyalty. It’s not just about delivering on consumer expectations ⁠— it’s about exceeding their anticipated desires to drive loyalty.

Focusing on opportunities that go above and beyond, personalizing interactions and providing services that ensure a competitive advantage are imperative to surviving and thriving as a business today.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common new and existing consumer expectations, the importance of meeting these desired outcomes and how your brand can properly deliver on exceptional customer service and engagement:

What Do Customers Expect From Customer Service?

When it comes to creating the optimal customer experience, brands know how important it is to embrace technology. The digital age has made it easier than ever to connect with customers via outlets like social media, solve issues in a timely fashion, and build brand loyalty and awareness. Taking advantage of technology to address, manage and resolve traditional problems is essential for businesses that want to thrive in 2020 and beyond.

“It’s clear that the digital age has transformed what the modern day consumer expects from retailers,” Brad Birnbaum, CEO of Kustomer, explained. “The younger generation not only wants instant resolution to their problems, they also demand personalized interactions and availability across all channels. Retailers must put a customer service strategy in place, and leverage the right tools, to deliver on these expectations.”

According to data gathered from The Customer Service Situation, a 2019 customer satisfaction survey conducted by OnePoll for Kustomer, there are opportunities for brands to bounce back from a mistake, but not all consumers are willing to give businesses more than a few chances. In fact, our research shows that the average customer gives a retailer three mistakes before he or she decides to return to the business or never make a purchase with them again. This information may show that customers are willing to give brands the benefit of the doubt, but additional majority data might say otherwise ⁠— 80% of shoppers agreed they wouldn’t continue business with a retailer if they had a bad customer service experience.

So what should companies focus on when it comes to providing optimal customer service? Be attentive to quality control and making as few mistakes as possible to retain customers and gain their loyalty.

In our Customer Expectations During the Holiday Season man-on-the-street video, consumers said that if they had a bad customer service experience, they would return their product and go somewhere else. Another said she would call the bank and dispute the charge, while another customer admitted to the willingness to go elsewhere and shop outside of his budget knowing that it’ll be a worthy exchange because he’s going to get optimal customer service. This ties right back into our survey, where 59% of customers agreed they’d be willing to pay more money if it meant better customer service.

Timeliness is also a must. Our survey found that customers tend to get annoyed with customer service agents if they’re placed on hold for more than 3.5 minutes, which means representatives need to have solutions ready as soon as possible.

Consistency in great service is a major expectation for consumers. Failure to do so could result in permanently lost business — according to the survey, the average consumer admits to swearing off at least four businesses after having bad customer service experiences.

What Does It Take to Deliver Exceptional Customer Engagement?

Creating a personalized customer experience is essential for businesses to flourish in today’s fast-paced world. As covered in a previous blog The Importance of Empathy, Compassion and a Truly Human Customer Experience, simple moments of kindness in customer service, like a laugh over the phone, a smiley face emoji via chat or an e-mail that asks how the customer is doing, can facilitate a positive reputation for any brand and can be one of its greatest assets, especially today.

In another one of our man-on-the-street videos, Personalization in Customer Service, consumers shared that they expect a certain level of personalization from a customer service agent, especially when personal information is provided during the initial conversation. When you don’t have to reiterate your issues over multiple instances with an agent, the interaction between the customer and agent becomes more worthwhile.

In essence, delivering on consumer expectations is all about understanding what the consumer wants and creating personalized customer service experiences based on those needs. A mixture of automation and human interaction allows you to meet said expectations while providing quality assistance that leads customers back to your business.

For more information on personalization in customer service, download Kustomer’s how-to guide, Customer Personalization: 3 Ways to Deliver Personalized Support and Earn Lifelong Brand Loyalty or request a demo to learn more about upgrading your customer service software today.
 

Digital Customer Service: What It Is and Why It Matters

credit card and laptop

In the realm of customer care, there’s tried-and-true, traditional customer service, and then there’s digital customer service. While there’s certainly plenty of overlap, the latter takes a more focused perspective and is designed to support digital consumers by taking their omnichannel customer journey into consideration.

This might have you wondering, what is digital customer service, exactly? And how can digital customer care improve the overall customer experience? Read on for answers to the most common digital customer service questions, plus tips and strategies for delivering a top-notch digital customer experience (DCX), no matter where your customers are.

What Is Digital Customer Service?

Digital customer service has come about because of the demands of the digital customer. Digital customers use online channels to connect with businesses, branded content, and the ability to make purchases using digital channels such as web, mobile, social, and email. Digital customers can maintain a relationship with a brand without ever setting foot in a brick-and-mortar establishment, but may communicate with brand representatives over live chat, email, text or the phone. Importantly, a digital customer may engage with a company across multiple channels.

Customer support has drastically changed over the past two decades to accommodate these somewhat elusive digital consumer behaviors and high customer expectations. Over the next few years, customer service experts predict that ensuring consistency across customer touchpoints will be a top priority for businesses.

But even today, customers look for a rich support experience that efficiently and effectively meets their needs. Simply put, digital customer service, or digital customer care, is what businesses must provide to help meet the needs of their digital customers.

But it’s not just about solving a ticket in a transactional manner; it’s part of a whole new customer engagement philosophy. The best digital customer service approach works toward building and cultivating a great relationship with customers. In this relationship, the brand treats the customer as a real person with a name and a history and a habit of hopping from one digital channel to another.

Additionally, it requires a proactive strategy wherein the business anticipates as many of its customers’ needs and expectations as possible ahead of time — and addresses these with the right infrastructure. Then, when a particular issue arises, the digital customer service team can work toward a personalized solution within an already supportive environment.

What Is Digital Customer Experience?

The digital customer experience (DCX) encompasses all aspects of a customer’s interactions with a brand through digital channels, and the overall brand perception and satisfaction rate they’re left with as a result. This includes touchpoints like:

  • Visiting a website on mobile.
  • Viewing social media ads, like Twitter and Facebook.
  • Browsing through products online.
  • Reading customer reviews.
  • Logging in to their personal account.
  • Testing out a promo code in the checkout.
  • Completing an online transaction.
  • Receiving an order confirmation email.
  • Messaging with an AI chatbot for assistance.
  • Processing a return online.
  • And every other step along the digital customer journey.

The collection of these activities and impressions, DCX, is also sometimes called digital client experience or digital consumer experience. In most cases, it can also be considered an omnichannel customer experience, given the way in which customers will approach the same brand from various channels.

As a result, another important aspect of DCX is the customer’s experience when switching between channels. For instance, when hopping from a mobile device to a laptop to take a closer look at a product saved in their shopping cart, most online shoppers wouldn’t think twice about the logistical considerations related to making that a seamless experience. But, if siloed systems require the customer to run the same search and provide the same basic information over and over again, the experience probably won’t leave a great lasting impression.

How Can Digital Customer Service Improve Your Customer Experience?

To provide successful digital customer service, brands must be able to support customer needs anytime, anywhere. And, the customer should always be able to pick up right where they left off. One-third of consumers agree that the tedious process of having to re-introduce and explain themselves to multiple agents is one of the most frustrating aspects of customer service experiences, according to Hubspot.

However, Accenture found that 91% of customers are more likely to purchase from brands that recognize them by name, remember their purchase history and provide personalized offers and product recommendations. With the right tools in place, brands can deliver the best digital customer experience possible, solve issues as they arise and even provide incentives and suggestions that are tailored to the customer’s interests and past activity. Great digital customer service promotes customer satisfaction and retention.

Moreover, exceptional service can increase customer acquisition through word-of-mouth and reviews. A study from American Express revealed that, on average, U.S. consumers will discuss a negative customer experience with 15 people but would share a good experience with 11 people. The numbers go up to 17 and 15, respectively, for millennial consumers. So, a positive DCX not only stops negative feedback from spreading like wildfire, but it also leaves favorable brand impressions with about a dozen additional consumers for each satisfied customer.

How Can You Provide Excellent Digital Customer Service?

In order to provide seamless digital customer service and a seamless DCX, you’ll need to direct your efforts toward digital customer experience management. Let’s explore a few best practices to work into your strategy.

First, take advantage of automation, AI and self-service tools that can quickly collect data and diagnose problems. When a customer need arises, these tools can allow customers to access immediate information — and potentially a quick solution. Or, they can collect the most important details and open a customer support conversation. The best tools will be able to manage or assign conversations and even deliver automated messages based on certain triggers you’ve identified, saving you time and energy to address more complex customer needs.

Next, make sure you’re set up with a system that stores and transfers customer data to support more seamless customer care. For instance, a skilled customer service agent who is prepared with the background information gathered by a chatbot can get right to work solving more complex issues. The customer service team will appear more capable and expedient when they don’t have to backtrack. Plus, customers have come to expect customer service handoffs that are as seamless as their digital browsing and buying experiences.

Finally, remember to gather customer feedback on the support and overall DCX you’re providing after each digital customer interaction. When customers have a chance to offer their opinions, they typically feel more satisfied with the interaction overall. Plus, you can use customers’ valuable feedback to improve your processes.

Does Your Digital Customer Service Strategy Deliver?

Our tools equip some of the best digital customer experience companies and most beloved brands out there. Request a Kustomer demo to find out how.

Deliver personalized, effortless customer service.

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