We truly have entered the fourth industrial revolution and it has fundamentally changed how we spend our time, how we socialise and crucially, how we conduct business. This brave new revolution is often referred to as the digital age, or the information age, and it has transformed mankind at such an incredible rate that it is often difficult to keep up.
What is clear, is that it has had a major impact on every type of business, whether they it has a shop on the high street or operate exclusively online. What is not clear, is when it comes to customer service, how should companies react in order to make sure they don't fall behind. So, let's take a look at why it is of the utmost importance for your website to offer high quality customer support in the digital age...
Here are the four topics we will use to address why and how customer support is so important in the digital age:
• Multi-Platform Customer Service
• The Human Touch
• Knowing What They Need Before They Do
• From Word on the Street to Word on the Web
What is Multi-Platform Customer Service?
First things first, every customer is different and likes to communicate via different mediums. As a business, you need to ensure that you don't alienate certain people because you don't offer the line of communication that they find preferential.
Your website should clearly advertise your address, opening hours and telephone number. While customer service has largely moved online, you still need to have these aspects covered or you risk a potential customer going elsewhere before you even know they were interested in making contact with you. The customer is more king than ever before and thanks to technology, the importance of now should dictate every customer based decision you make.
The customer is in control of where and when they will contact you, so you need to ensure that emails are swiftly responded to, and that chatbots and/or real time chat is available in order to ensure that customers can get the answers to their questions instantly.
Does the Human Touch Still Matter?
Just because we are living in a technologically driven society, it doesn’t mean that we still don't desire a human experience. If anything, because of the options available, a personalised approach is now more important than ever.
It is the reason why customer relationship management (CRM) technology is talked about so often. CRM software has the ability to keep detailed track of all of your customer's data so the next time they get in touch, you can instantly access every previous dealing you have had with them. This reassures them that you are not just another number, but a valuable and respected returning customer.
How is Word on the Web Different to Word on the Street?
Firstly, recommendations from friends are still of the utmost importance when it comes to potential new clients. What has changed is that the impact of a negative customer experience now has far greater reach.
In the past, a negative customer experience meant you could lose out on a handful of customers, but those days are long gone. In a 2019 consumer shopper survey conducted by Bizrate Insights, a staggering 92% of people said that they read at least one online review before committing to a new purchase. This means that in the digital age, a negative review has the potential to be seen by almost everyone who is interested in your business for years to come.
Simply put, technology changes everything. It should come as no surprise that the most successful companies, no matter what line of business they are in, take customer service seriously. A selection of business that offer comprehensive customer support online include sears.com (retail), netflix.com (entertainment), karamba.com (online casino), buildbox.com and quickbase.com (gaming software). All of these businesses know well that establishing trust is the difference between an action and a thought.
How Can You Know What Customers Need Before They Do?
A major part of customer support on a website is the FAQ, or frequently asked questions, section. Yes, the human touch is important, but customers also want the opportunity to find information on their own, with 70% of customers expecting a company's website to include a self-service application.
Customer expectations are higher than they have ever been before and ensuring that you can earn the trust as well as meet the customer service needs of your customers can be the difference between a successful company and a soon to be failed venture.