We’re living in a digital world where changes in the customer service industry happen by the day. Over the recent years, the focus has been on enhancing customer support in every contact point so that the overall customer experience is always a positive one.
Since this trend is poised to continue for a long time, businesses should adapt and come up with different strategies to better serve customer demands and needs. Here are the top five trends for customer care service that will take your business to greater heights in 2018 and beyond:
1. Artificial Intelligence Solutions
Customers are expecting speed-lightning support due to the influx of technologies. Thanks to smart bots, this is now possible. Bot agents can be deployed to issue automated responses to standard customer queries in real time.
Since the bots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), they can predict the right answer to inquiries whether the customer is using email, messaging apps, or social. This should free up human agents from routine tasks and focus on more complex customer service solutions.
Last year, Transcosmos launched DataRobot, a machine-learning platform created by top-notch AI and data scientists. This provides end-to-end digital data and AI-related services for clients and customers ranging from advertising to marketing and customer support.
Transcosmos believe that with bot and human agents working together, customers receive the top-quality support however and whenever they need it.
2. On-demand Workforce
Business models are constantly changing as well. As an example, Amazon’s online shopping service is now gearing toward the traditional brick-and-mortar shop for its grocery business, while startups are beefing up their e-commerce sales. In the same way, the customer service workforce is no longer limited to salaried employees but will feature a more mobile workforce.
The hiring of flexible, on-demand agents with diverse skill sets will continue, especially for outsourcing companies. Telecommuters, freelancers, and independent contractors who are part of the on-demand workforce can scale up customer support during peak season and critical business periods.
3. Data-driven and Personalised Service
The digital landscape is full of supercharged customer data. Every time customers initiate an interaction with your business on digital channels – social, live chat systems, and company website – they’re leaving data that say a lot about their customer journey.
The data from these touch points allow you to personalise your offerings and strategies for various segments of your customer demographics. You could also implement a data-driven type of customer service with the help of machine learning technologies.
There are now applications that let you track your customers’ input online and analyse their emotions or behaviour, so by the time the customer interacts with a human customer support agent, the agent has already figured out what the customer needs from your company.
4. Digital Channels over Voice
More and more customers are taking advantage of private messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger Customer Chat and Twitter DM to communicate with customer service teams.
Forecasts say that roughly 1.6 billion people use at least one messaging channel on their smartphone this 2018. Contact centres have also reported that digital interactions are starting to peak compared with voice services.
This means you must put in place an omnichannel strategy for client communication, which should include chat, email, SMS, and social. Your strategy also has to incorporate video camera technologies to help resolve technical queries with customers on the spot.
5. Self-service support
The level of online connectivity that characterises the digital space is changing customers’ expectations in a way that they are becoming more self-reliant.
Digital customers are taking full advantage of the internet technology to help them find the information they need on their own. They want to solve their issues unless the problems are so complex that only a human agent can offer a relevant solution.
By updating your company website, blog, and social accounts with the latest information about your products or services, your customers will find the answers to their questions easily. This approach is perfect for the modern-day customer who wants everything delivered to them in an instant.
Customer Service with a Human Touch
There’s no doubt that many of the best practices in customer service right now are fuelled by technology, data, and automated processes, yet the human touch remains a vital factor. The successful implementation of digital strategies in customer service will remain only as a vision without the interaction and support of live agents.
If you’re looking to enhance the customer experience in your business, you could consider getting assistance from customer service outsourcing companies. In Transcosmos, we have both the technology and human expertise that will help you reach your target market and deliver personalised service to your valued customers.
Customer service has transformed dramatically over the years. In the past decades, technology was at its most basic form, and companies had to deal with limited resources. Fast forward to today, we find ourselves in an era that’s marked by the use of automation and other advanced tools in delivering customer service support.
Indeed, customer service has been through remarkable changes, but it also makes you wonder – is everything new automatically good for customer service? Interestingly, a 2016 study by Accenture says that the human touch in customer support isn’t comparable to customer service technology. Whether the focus is on the process, technology, or principle, what’s certain is that customer service is a continuously evolving industry.
Here’s a look at the past, present, and future of customer service.
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Customer interaction was the foundation of good customer experience in the early days. Since technology was still rather crude in the 19th century, companies could only establish a positive relationship with their customers by engaging them in face-to-face interactions.
Sales people in brick and mortar stores provided timely and efficient services to customers. At the time, going to a store was the only way for people to make a purchase, get help with something, or return an item they had bought.
By the 1960s, telemarketing and call centres became popular as a way for businesses to reach out to clients and potential customers. Companies used telemarketing mainly to promote their products and services. Telemarketers had to undergo training to make sure they were effective at making sales calls and building rapport with prospects.
Meanwhile, call centres were set up to handle inquiries, process requests, and deliver customer care support for organisations of all sizes. Some enterprises had in-house call centres, while others outsourced them to BPO companies.
There were also companies who maintained both internal and offshore call centre operations, making it possible for customers to receive support 24/7 through a shifting workforce.
The arrival of internet and smart phone technologies revolutionised customer service on a whole new level. Today’s customers are always on the go, which makes it crucial for companies to establish their presence in multiple channels online. The rising connectivity between devices has also given companies the motivation to come up with modern customer service solutions.
For one, online shopping is now possible due to the emergence of credit card services and computer networks that can process sales transactions. This is a convenient way for customers to do their grocery and other shopping activities without having to leave home.
The use of digital technologies is another key component in modern customer service. Blog posts on a website are a convenient way for businesses to tell people what their company does. It isn’t just about marketing, as these tools also give customers easy access to information about their favorite brand, products, or services.
Mobile apps are also helping companies to be responsive to their customers’ needs, whether they’re trying to place an order, sending a ticket, or cancelling their subscription to a service. With a few taps or clicks on their mobile device, customers can get things done.
With the birth of social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and more – the customer service industry further evolved into something greater. Considering that billions of people are actively interacting on social platforms, companies are targeting this platform to engage followers in meaningful conversations about things that matter to them most. Do they want products that give them value for money or are they going all out for quality?
Social media users are also using this channel to give feedback on how companies could still improve their business processes. Some platforms on social like YouTube also serve as a venue for companies to showcase their products or services, complete with specifications, guides, and tutorials. As a result, customers have enough basis to help them decide if they should buy a product or sign up for a particular service.
Messenger chatbots are also finding their way into customer service channels. The idea is to provide immediate assistance to customers by giving automated responses to frequently asked questions so that customers don’t have to be put on hold for a long time before they get to talk to someone from the company.
Lately, chatbots have been programmed to use context clues to understand and respond to customer requests better. This helps human agents to focus on attending to customers with more complex issues.
Wherever customer service is headed in the coming years, one thing is sure – technology will remain a major force to be reckoned with.
Right now, the trend is leaning toward artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies where computers can communicate and interact with humans and perform tasks for customers. This raises concerns that robots may be taking customer service jobs away from humans, but in reality, it’s the technology that AI represents that can help your customer support staff to become an intelligent assistant (IA) who can make better decisions for the customer.
Customer cloud may also gain more momentum in the future customer experience. It’s giving sales and marketing teams invaluable insights about their market. When customer service staff have access to this data, they can better provide a personalised customer experience and solve problems for customers with remarkable accuracy.
Truth be told, customer service doesn’t become better right away with technology. Technology only acts as a tool to help your team take a more practical approach to customer care and support.
At the end of the day, you have to remember that customers are real people with real issues and needs. Your front-liner agents and the human interaction they provide, plus their extensive knowledge and skills in customer service technology, will ultimately define what higher level of customer service means.
Modern-day CEOs are taking a more hands-on approach and becoming the frontrunner of their companies when it comes to providing excellent customer service.
They’re channeling their customer persona when developing customer-friendly policies within their organization or establishing an up-close and personal relationship with customers. As a result, people trust and love their company and the values they represent.
Here’s a thing or two you could learn from the world’s most customer-centric CEOs.
How These CEOs Are Redefining Customer ServiceJeff Bezos
(Image source: Fortune.com)
Jeff Bezos is the CEO of Amazon, the online shopping company known for developing the smart assistant Alexa for its smart home ecosystem.
Bezos also made headlines for thinking of using autonomous drones – meaning no human pilots are operating the aerial vehicles – to deliver packages that customers ordered from the Amazon store straight to their homes!
While many were skeptical about this idea, Bezos proved them wrong when his company made actual drone deliveries for the first time to customers in the UK in December 2016.
Bezos’ propensity for using technology to enhance the customer experience comes from his belief that companies should develop “obsessive customer focus.”
For Amazon’s CEO, innovating your company’s products and services is about providing customers what they want even before asking for it. He also advises companies that have already built empires to have “the spirit and heart of a small one” to keep their enthusiasm always burning regardless of the achievements they have made.
(Image source: Fortune.com) Photographer: Francis Specker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Alan George “A.G.” Lafley was the CEO of multinational consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, from 2000 to 2009 and from 2013 to 2015. Lafley cared so much for P&G customers that he wanted P&G products to build on their personal lives and experiences.
To achieve this, he initiated consumer immersion programs for P&G employees, so there was personal contact with people who were directly benefiting – or otherwise – from goods that they were bringing to the market.
The company then used those encounters to determine what kind of products would better answer the needs of its customers.
Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla, a car company that manufactures electric cars and trucks, as well as the aerospace company, SpaceX, which works with NASA in sending rockets to space.
With his fleet of companies, you might think that Musk is out to run the world and cannot afford to deliver personalised customer care service to followers of his enterprise.
In several instances, however, Musk has gone out of his way to engage with Tesla customers directly. He finds the time – or should we say, he spends a lot of time on Twitter – to address queries, concerns, and complaints from his followers and customers.
With this kind of approach, Musk is allowing customers to have a say on how to design or configure Tesla’s product line-up to deliver the best customer experience possible.
Spencer Rascoff is CEO to online real estate company, Zillow. In this line of business, it’s quite tempting to think first and foremost as to how realtors can close deals with potential customers.
Rascoff and Zillow, however, have taken on a mission to empower families in low-income brackets through an affordable housing program. Rascoff believes that companies should always prioritize customers over anything else because ultimately, your corporate value will be measured by your ability to provide products and services that are accessible to a large part of society.
Making Customer Success Happen
As the CEO of your own company, you can take inspiration from these words of wisdom coming from the world’s most customer-oriented business leaders:
“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.” – Jeff Bezos
“ …we just want people to look forward to their next visit. That’s what really matters.” – Elon Musk
A major takeaway here is that you have to invest in customer care for your company to stay relevant in today’s highly competitive business landscape. It starts with the mindset that customers come first in your order of priorities. You could also take advantage of new trends, technologies, and services by hiring outsourcing companies that are trained and committed to providing professional support to your customers at all times.
Perhaps what CEOs like Bezos, Lafley, Musk, and Rascoff are trying to show us is that there’s more to the business side of running a business. Instead, they’re using their vision and passion for coming up with ideas and solutions that can help improve not only the experience of customers toward their company, but also enhance people’s quality of life.
Customer service is one of the pillars of success for many businesses. Companies cannot expect to achieve optimal growth and increase their revenue if they do not have a solid customer service supportin place that allows them to maximise their interactions with customers.
Every company needs a system to organise, manage, monitor, and enhance the quality of service and experience they provide to their customers. This is where the value of a customer relationship management (CRM) system lies for your business.
You could look at CRM both as a software that helps you manage your customer database and a business philosophy that helps you improve your relationship with your customers. In short, CRM is both a tool and a strategy that you use to keep customers satisfied and loyal to your services.
CRM applications may look like spreadsheets, where your teams fill in data in tabular form to record, analyse, and interpret customer data. A 24-hour call center that BPO companies operate is also a type of a CRM system which customer service representatives connect with and gain access to information about their customers.
1. Process Automation
One of the ways that a CRM system lets you automate your workflow is by incorporating triggers in the system that you use for your sales and marketing tasks. These triggers include sending follow-up reminders and automated notifications to your sales agents to help them monitor their respective client accounts.
Your account managers may also use the CRM to identify customer accounts that are up for renewal. The sales reps could then contact the customers to get them to renew their contract with your company.
In terms of customer service, a CRM enables the support team to respond to customer issues through a ticketing system that simultaneously notifies the concerned CSR about the matter and sends an acknowledgment email to customers while a resolution is being worked on.
2. Flexible Security
When you’re handling sensitive data such as credit card numbers, medical records, and other personal information, you could use the CRM to store and secure all these types of data in such a way that only select authorised personnel will have access to them.
Your CRM infrastructure should, therefore, have the highest levels of data security controls to protect your customers, as well as your organisation from both internal and external risks.
3. Simple and Easy to Navigate
When choosing a CRM for your business, your primary consideration should be ease of use. Its technology should be simple enough to learn, along with features that are relevant to your needs, so that your staff will be encouraged to make full use of it.
An intuitive and easy-to-navigate user interface, automated features, and properly placed links are good indication that you have an efficient CRM system in place.
4. Integrated Analytics
Your CRM system should give you insights about your sales and marketing campaigns. For example, you can use your CRM to monitor orders that have been closed via social media—prompting you to beef up your interactions with customers on social more than you used to.
By integrating data analytics into your CRM, you can also better identify who your customers are and what their needs are. You could then improve your efforts toward product development to suit your customers’ needs .better.
A worthy choice for a CRM system is one that offers solutions according to your end-to-end processes and not the vendor’s or your competitor’s. Your CRM should have proper tools and applications for your business workflow, too.
So, if your company is into selling commodities and you need to constantly monitor your sales, marketing, and customer service satisfaction performance, your CRM should have a custom dashboard that can show you the number of inbound leads or cases resolved through service calls.
6. Multichannel Support
Customers are always on the go these days, which means they should be able to communicate with you wherever they go and with whatever device they are using to reach you. Some will prefer to send you a chat message, while some find it more efficient to resolve an issue with an agent taking their call.
By incorporating multichannel support into your CRM, whether by call, chat, email, SMS, or social, you can connect with customers and serve them promptly.
7. Tracking and Scoring Leads
Gathering leads and following them through can be made easier with a CRM system. This can prove to be very beneficial in increasing your company’s sales opportunities.
The tracking feature can also improve the efficiency of your salespeople as they follow a system for scheduling follow-up calls or visits to future clients, minimising instances of missed calls or random walk-ins from potential customers.
A CRM solution for lead scoring also enables your sales team to spend their time more wisely by reaching out to hot leads first over the colder ones.
To wrap up, you could leverage a CRM system for streamlining your workflow, managing various areas of your business, and delivering valuable support to your customers.
With these functionalities, a CRM system can significantly contribute to how you position your company as a customer-oriented and highly efficient organisation.
In the IT industry, engineers and specialists are constantly bracing themselves against a security breach on their system. Any situation of this sort may result in data loss and operations shutting down. These are very serious problems that no enterprise can afford because they can cause irreparable damage to a company’s financial resources, business competitiveness, and trust approval.
An IT audit is a good defense system against cybercrime and other security loopholes for its in-depth assessment of a company’s IT infrastructure and personnel roles. Typically, auditors conduct staff interviews, vulnerability scans, and a series of tests to evaluate your security blueprint. You could request providers of outsourcing services to perform your IT security audit, which can give you insights into strategic solutions on how to improve your overall IT systems and operations.
Needless to say, a sound IT security program can protect your business from any vulnerabilities in today’s technologically driven world.
What an IT Security Audit Does for Your Business
By outsourcing IT services to handle your security audit, your organization can have a more formidable IT system in place. The functions of an IT security audit may range from database management to resource planning and chain network organization, all the way to the other core areas of your business.
Here’s an outline of specific solutions that a security audit covers.
It evaluates the flow of data within your business.
Data is one of your key assets that requires top security controls. IT security auditors determine the type of information you have, how it flows in and out of your organization, and who has access to that information.
All technologies and processes related to your anti-data breach measures are reviewed to make sure that no data will be lost, stolen, misused, or mishandled. Otherwise, you run the risk of going into legal disputes with your customers or other affected parties.
The auditing team can also lay the groundwork for any improvements or enforcements needed in this area.
It identifies vulnerable points and problem areas.
The IT system is a vast one with several components including hardware, software, data, and procedures. Expert outsourcing IT services can pinpoint if there’s any potential problem area in your system through a number of ways.
They can check if your hardware or software tools are configured and working properly. They may also retrace security incidents from the past that might have exposed your security’s weak points. An on-site audit may focus on carrying out tests in terms of network vulnerability, operating system, access controls, and security application.
It determines whether you must alter security policies and standards or not.
The auditing process starts with the pre-audit, where auditors obtain relevant documentation about previous audits, as well as copies of current policies and procedures. Afterward, they analyze and test your entire system on-site.
Throughout the auditing process, the auditors are documenting everything they have discovered regarding the safety and effectiveness of your IT system. By the time they complete the audit, they would have had a clear assessment if you have adequate security measures that are consistently implemented within your organization. For example, they might discover instances of unauthorized wireless networks that could pose risks beyond acceptable levels.
It recommends how to leverage information technology in your business security.
The technologies you use should match the level of security that your business needs. That’s why part of an IT security audit’s function is to help you understand how to choose the right security tools for your organization.
The auditors should be able to determine if you need to either centralize your security solutions across all devices or make use of special software for each risk area. Security experts performing the audit can also advise you if you’re underspending or overspending on your IT system, so you could allocate your security resources properly. They could discourage you from trying to secure every server or app if they feel the level of risk does not merit it.
It delivers an in-depth analysis of your internal and external IT practices and system.
Your IT security audit report contains a detailed list of the findings of the auditing team, complete with an executive summary, supporting data, and appendices. It highlights problem areas and proposed solutions regarding risk areas, compliance with industry standards, security policies, and the like.
For example, one part of the report might discuss the quality of your security controls. You might have set up a firewall on your server, but if your internal controls are weak or faulty, then you’re still putting your critical data at risk.
As technologies continue to evolve, there’s a more pressing need for your business to develop a sense of vigilance toward IT security where the stakes are really high. Along with this realization, allowing your system to undergo auditing is a strategic decision that you need to make for your company, partners, and customers.
Outsourcing help desk support can add value to your organization’s implementation of customer-oriented policies and operations. For one, you could mobilize your internal team to higher level customer work and let your outsourcing service provider do routine projects. This frees up your existing help desk to focus on core customer support operations.
But for a help desk outsourcing to work successfully for your organization, it needs to fulfill the requirements pertaining to cultural match, the flexibility of solutions, standards of excellence, and the right set of skills and values.
You’ll know you’ve found the right outsourced help desk for your organization if the team displays the same qualifications and values your company stands for. These include:
1. Passion for helping people
True-blue help desk agents stand out because they take their job seriously. They go to work feeling happy about serving their customers and their needs. They have the best interests of their customers at heart and will never make the customer feel shortchanged.
If they feel that company rules are restricting them from helping customers, they will do everything possible so that customers get to keep the end of their bargain in one way or the other.
2. Problem solvers
When customers contact help desk support, it’s usually to ask how a product works, to follow up on a previously communicated issue, to send special instructions, and other related concerns.
There’s almost always a problem that customers hope to resolve with the help desk support in a fast, no-roundabout manner. Customer support agents who have the right product knowledge and problem-solving skills can be your organization’s best assets, as customers get peeved when the person supposed to be helping them appears to be lost, confused or rattled.
3. Works collaboratively with customers
Your help desk support team needs to be able to connect with how customers are feeling about a service interruption, a late delivery, or a faulty product by sincerely empathizing with them, putting themselves in the shoes of the customers.
Customers are appreciative of help desk agents who give them personalized and high-level customer service that anyone would expect. Therefore, you should encourage your support desk to treat customers as partners whose problems also become their own.
4. All-star communication skills
Help desk agents need to be great communicators. They should possess the competence to speak to customers with tact and clarity, and listen to them with patience. They need to approach different customers with the level and style of communication as called for.
Your help desk agents would also do well to teach your customers how to become self-reliant in solving common issues relating to your product or service without sending the wrong signals that they are being left to tend to their own problems.
5. Harnesses technical expertise with personal touch
A help desk role is a highly technical job, and it goes without saying that your agents need to have the necessary know-how to deliver the customer service they were hired to do.
What your agents need to understand, though, is that your customers come from a very different background or orientation. It may take them forever to figure out how to change the password on their email or website, and it’s all in the hands of your help desk to make the situation less frustrating and more manageable for the struggling customer.
6. Positive attitude
Irate customers are every agent’s nightmare. It’s a challenging situation that can cause more serious misunderstandings when not handled properly. But a good support agent knows that there’s more to the antagonistic front of the customer than a deliberate attempt to give customer service a tough time.
Rather than go head to head with the customer, the agent chooses to focus on the real issue at hand, dissipating the tension with the use of positive language, friendly behavior, and confident reasoning.
If you’re looking to outsource your help desk, make sure that parameters are properly set. Your outsourcing service partner should understand the specific needs of your organization. At the same time, you should be able to assess your target provider in terms of its capabilities and core values, as well as how an external help desk can enhance your relationship with your customers.
The business landscape is ever-evolving with the newest innovations and technologies that influence consumer needs and demands.
If fifteen years ago, placing a newspaper ad would dramatically increase your store’s foot traffic, it’s not the same today. Gone are the days when offering a telephone customer care service would suffice, as omni-channel has shifted the business paradigm.
For this reason, outsourcing companies no longer just offer phone or email customer support. Customer care service can be delivered through social media, mobile apps, messaging platforms, or even SMS.
However, omni-channel doesn’t merely mean that you should be on the online platforms available. In this ever-changing digital landscape, it’s important to offer a true omni-channel customer experience.
What is an omni-channel experience?
A true omni-channel experience means seamless and consistent integration of multiple devices and touchpoints such as your brick-and-mortar store, website, e-commerce page, social media accounts, telephone, email, and other communication channels. It has the customer’s best interests at the center of it all.
Yes, it seems like a costly and time-consuming effort for businesses, but it’s worth it. A true omni-channel engagement experience extends beyond your brand’s universe. Here are the reasons you should offer an omni-channel engagement to improve customer experience.
1. It can help you understand your customers.
Understanding customers is an inherent value of the omni-channel approach to sales, marketing, and customer care service. An omni-channel approach allows businesses to collect data about their potential and existing customers to understand them on a deeper level and address their concerns more effectively.
Customers interact with brands through different touch points, be it by phone, email, social media, or your website. You can collect information at every touchpoint and create a 360-degree view of this user.
2. It personalises the customer experience.
Now that you’ve come to a deeper understanding of what your customer needs and wants, you can create a personalised experience across your online and offline channels. You now know how and where you can reach your customers, and what information you can offer each of them.
Use your real-time access to your customer profile across multiple channels. Since you have their account information, order history, and past interactions with your customer support team, you can determine how they talk about your brand on social media. This information will help you accurately predict your customer’s preferences and behavior.
Ultimately, you can offer better deals, product recommendations, and information that best suit their needs.
3. It creates a compelling browsing and shopping experience.
Imagine one of your customers has been searching your online store for a product but the specific color they want is not available online, so they exit the app.
You now know what product they’re looking for. With the use of beacons, you can send them an instant message with a coupon code saying that the product they’ve been looking for can be purchased in-store at a discounted rate. So, they go to your store to purchase the same product they were looking at online.
That’s what you call a compelling omni-channel shopping experience.
4. It enhances existing customer relationships.
Improving your relationship with existing customers will increase their brand loyalty. Recent studies conclude that repeat customers spend 67% more than first-time customers.
With an omni-channel customer care service, you can assist customers more efficiently and effectively. After all, you already know so much about them from previous touchpoints.
With a holistic view of your customer, each interaction will be like a continuation of a previous one regardless if it’s from another platform.
Furthermore, an omni-channel engagement ensures your customers that you will be available to answer their concerns through any platform. Consider that customers are less tolerant nowadays of longer wait times when it comes to customer support. Instead of calling your support team about a problem they’re having with one of your products, they will take to Twitter or Facebook instead.
So, be where your customers are. Go where they go to enhance your relationship with them.
5. It makes the post-purchase experience memorable and share-worthy.
Disney plays the omni-channel game so well. Not only is their website fully responsive, but it also sports a very easy-to-use interface where you can book trips be it from your desktop or mobile device. Once you’re booked, you can use the My Disney Experience tool to plan your whole Disney trip—from where you’ll dine to getting your Fast Pass.
When you get to the park, you can use their mobile app to figure out where the rides and attractions are, along with information about the estimated waiting time. Disney even goes above and beyond with their Magic Band, which you can use as your Fast Pass, hotel room key, photo storage device for any pictures taken with Disney characters, and a food ordering tool. This omni-channel experience really makes Disney the happiest place on earth!
If you were one of the Disney customers, wouldn’t you want to share this wonderful experience with your friends? Surely, you’ll hop onto Facebook or Instagram and let people know what a great time you’re having.
Get to your bottom line faster with an omni-channel engagement approach.
The bottom line is that you want customers to become more familiar with your brand and ultimately, increase your sales. You want your brand to become a household name so that whenever a customer finds a need for one of your product, they will automatically go to your website or store.
According to Worldpay research, omni-channel shoppers spend between 50 to 300% more than traditional shoppers. So, engage your customers on multiple platforms and provide them a seamless and consistent customer experience across all channels.
In an increasingly perilous web environment, server-level security is an imperative. Your server and IT infrastructure are vulnerable to numerous threats on the web, and thus, comprehensive security is a must.
Neglecting security may come with detrimental consequences. It’s a costly risk that can hurt your brand and its stakeholders. As most business transactions are now done electronically, prioritizing server security ensures that your data and your customers’ information are protected.
To keep your servers in tip-top condition, here are some recommendations on how you can effectively address the security needs of your server infrastructure:
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1. Control log-in information
Create unique passwords composed of at least 8 characters. The rule of thumb is to combine uppercase and lowercase letters, and at least one number and special character in the password.
A strong password ensures that the login credentials in your server are effectively controlled and managed.
2. Change passwords regularly
To prevent hackers from guessing or stealing your password, it’s essential to update it frequently. It’s recommended to change your password every quarter to limit its utility to hackers.
3. Implement two-factor authentication when possible
Although it’s a bit of a hassle, two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security. Most Internet-based services like Google, Facebook, and Twitter use two-step verification to protect their users from hackers.
Two-factor authentication requires another form of verification in addition to passwords. For example, you can connect your mobile number to the server, and it will send you a unique code that you can use to log in on top of the password that you’re using.
4. Store credentials securely
Protecting your users’ passwords and information is one of the most important aspects of server security. To avoid data breach, one of the best ways to secure credentials securely is to employ password hashing.
Essentially, to hash a password means to transform it into a unique value before storing it in your database. The algorithm is one-way, which means it’s impossible to turn the hashed password to its original form. Additional security measures can be taken to provide extra security to hashing.
5. Delete users and groups that are no longer in use
To prevent unauthorized access to your server, make sure to regularly check your server and immediately remove or delete inactive users and unused groups.
6. Always scan for viruses
Regularly scan your servers for viruses to immediately detect malicious files that can threaten your security. Make sure to update your antivirus software as well to ensure that it’s equipped with the right tools and information to combat new threats and viruses.
7. Update software and operating systems
Similar to antivirus software, make sure that you update your infrastructure packages and operating systems. An updated system improves not only your security, but also your system’s speed, reliability, and efficiency.
Regular updates fix your software’s bugs and guarantees that there are no holes in the security of your system.
8. Have a robust firewall system
A firewall is crucial to your server infrastructure. It provides extra protection in addition to the built-in security features of your system. Through a firewall, you can control the pieces of software or services that you need to expose to the network.
This significantly reduces your vulnerability to attacks, as exposing only a few components of your software means there’s less material for hackers to exploit.
9. Utilize SSH key authentication
Using SSH key authentication is a good alternative to password-based logins. SSH keys are cryptographic keys that contain more bits of data than a typical password, which is more difficult to crack and less vulnerable to attacks.
Additionally, SSH key authentication is more convenient, as users no longer need to remember their passwords when they use SSH keys through a program called an SSH agent.
10. Use VPNs and private networking when available
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) keeps your browsing secure, and internal communication private. Through a VPN, you can guarantee safe connections between your servers and remote resources. VPN is also protected by encryption, which means attackers can not easily comprehend its traffic.
11. Encrypt data when needed
Encryption is crucial in achieving data security. Simply put, encryption is the process of translating sensitive electronic data into an intelligible code. This way, only those with authorized access can access and decipher the code. Data encryption is used to protect valuable customer data, credit card numbers, company files, and many others.
12. Install trusted software
Install software or any packages from credible and trusted sources to prevent security risks to your infrastructure. You may be tempted to use software from unknown sources since they are a cheaper option, but some of these contain malware that can compromise your system’s security.
13. Regularly check for vulnerabilities
Regular network vulnerability scanning is recommended to help identify weaknesses in your server. This allows you to immediately address security issues before hackers compromise your system.
14. Backup data
Regularly backup your data so that you can easily recover lost or corrupted data from an attack or system failure. To keep everything secure, encrypt backed up data that contains sensitive information, and protect it with a password if possible.
15. Hire a professional
As most transactions are now done through a computer, businesses should prioritize server security. This entails hiring an IT professional who can guarantee the security of your servers and infrastructure.
If an in-house professional is out of the question, there are numerous outsourcing services that can be availed of. Outsourcing IT professionals is one way to ensure that the services your business are providing are running efficiently and that your servers are secured and protected from different threats across the web.
There are numerous threats that lurk on the web, and each is a potential detriment to your company and brand. Efficient and comprehensive server-level security is an investment that will help you avoid the costly consequences of data breach and other similar attacks on your server infrastructure.
In a dangerous web environment, it surely pays to be extra vigilant and prepared.
Today’s marketing landscape is no longer brand-centric, rather is customer-centric. It’s all about what the customer wants and needs, as well as the customer’s overall brand experience.
Often, this experience can make or break your brand reputation. A recent study discovered that 59% of consumers switched brands because of a negative customer experience.
One of the fundamental principles of marketing is delighting the customer to get them to choose your brand over your competitors. But, what gets them to stay? It’s the continuously positive brand interactions and customer service.
It’s more expensive to gain new customers than to keep existing ones. More importantly, brands can gain more profit from loyal customers than new customers. In the US alone, 7 out of 10 consumers claimed that they’d spend more money on brands that offer excellent customer service.
Before you outsource customer service, consider the holistic client experience—from marketing to customer support first. We’ve outlined the top reasons why great marketing results in excellent customer service.
1. Brand experience encompasses all customer interactions.
Customer experience doesn’t start after they purchase your product or service. As mentioned, great marketing and customer service centers around the customer’s holistic brand experience. And this customer experience starts the moment they first see or hear about your brand.
With the very first ad or marketing campaign they encounter, customers are already making up their minds about you. So, make sure that customers or potential clients gain a positive experience from that very first interaction.
2. Educational and informative content addresses common customer issues.
The main goal of content marketing is to demonstrate your brand’s credibility in your specific niche with informative and engaging content. Constant publication of valuable content can help you establish your brand as an industry leader, and gain your customer’s trust.
When you post how-to and instructional articles, you’re already addressing customer concerns. Customers don’t need to disrupt their daily schedule and spend too much time trying to reach your customer service hotline. They can immediately get answers to their problems through the helpful content you post.
3. Marketing data can help you understand your customers better.
Marketers nowadays rely on big data to get to know their audience and determine the relevant marketing messages that work. Through the data you gather in the marketing process, you can gain insight into your customer’s interests, challenges, and pain points. You know what they’re searching and what web pages they’ve visited.
When customers initiate contact with your marketing or customer service agent, you can use this information to provide a more personalized customer experience.
Some customers initiate contact through multiple platforms such as social media, the contact form on your website, email, or phone. So, strive to offer an omnichannel experience, and use the collated data to determine their concerns. Listen to your customers through marketing data.
Since you allocated a significant amount of resources to your marketing campaign, don’t let it go to waste!
Statistics show that brands get 60% to 70% more revenue from repeat customers than new customers. So, make sure that your marketing campaign will delight your customers enough to gain their trust and loyalty. Strengthen customer relationships through every customer touch point—from marketing to customer service.
5. Increased customer loyalty and engagement.
Ultimately, happy customers stay loyal to a brand such that the next time they need something, they’ll go straight to your store or your website instead of browsing for other providers.
Delighted customers also engage more with brands. Excellent marketing and customer service encourage customers to talk about their positive experience on social media and other relevant channels. The best thing about satisfied and delighted customers is that they’re the best brand promoters.
Your marketing efforts have paid off, and you’ve gained new clients, but it doesn’t stop there. The whole customer experience starts from the initial marketing experience and continues through the customer support experience.
You need to give clients an excellent brand experience through personalized customer service and continue doing this to have a loyal customer for life.
Excellent customer service starts with great marketing. Whether you’re outsourcing companies for your marketing or customer support function, let customer satisfaction the end-goal.
Productivity is the hot topic now in the business industry. What used to be a topic that no one bats an eye on is currently considered as a business factor that can make or break a business.
To solve this issue, businesses have looked at IT outsourcing. Different businesses have benefited from this move, especially if the projected growth is at the pace they are not expecting. While that sounds like a good thing, you need to address this rapid growth head on.
If your company still doesn’t have the resources to create an in-house IT team, then outsourcing it might help ease the bottleneck of tasks in this department. Ultimately, you need to evaluate if your business needs IT outsourcing or not.
IT outsourcing also eliminates the problems brought by basic employee needs especially if you only need it for a certain period. These employee needs include holidays, sickness, training, and overhead cost of the in-house people you’re going to hire. In IT outsourcing, you don’t have to deal with these anymore.
Then again, how would you know if you need an IT outsourcing or not? There are a lot of factors to consider, but if you’re having problems in the areas that are answered below, then it’s time for you to try IT outsourcing.
It helps your business control costs.
By having an external team that handles your IT support, your business can properly allocate its budget to other important things. Outsourcing, in general, already saves you a lot of money and cuts your costs. What more if it’s solely for IT?
Naturally, your costs depend on the size of your company. Outsourcing an IT team seems more efficient when you’re a small-medium enterprise or a startup since it’s much cheaper than building an in-house team right away.
Furthermore, having an outsourced IT team reduces your overhead costs. If you’re planning to expand your in-house IT, then that will entail extra expenses on office space and equipment. Moreover, availing the latest IT software will surely leave a dent in your company budget. With IT outsourcing, this team can do tasks from easy to complex ones without ever disrupting your existing functions.
Before deciding on anything, look at your budget and do your own computations. However, IT outsourcing already ensures of quality work at a much lesser price.
It gives you access to state-of-the-art technologies.
Since you have other teams and departments in your company, your focus is divided into a lot of things. While you should master to handle the different aspects of your business, there comes a time that you just need a helping hand.
These outsourced IT teams specialize in all things related to this aspect. Naturally, they have access to the top of the line and state-of-the-art technologies.
IT outsourcing gives you people that dedicate their time—day in and day out in staying at the top of their IT game. They have a deeper and extensive knowledge regarding the subject matter.
Moreover, improving and updating your internal IT technology will cause a downtime in your internal processes. But by having an outsourced IT at bay, there would be no updates and improvements needed because you know they invest in such all the time.
It improves internal and external business operations.
When you outsource your IT, you’ll have more time to focus on your internal and external business operations. Since IT is one of the more complex departments, your employees don’t have to sacrifice the quality of their output anymore with IT outsourcing.
If you think that you have more complicated tasks to think about, then you should ask for the assistance of IT outsourcing to improve your business processes and make your workflow smoother.
While it might seem like a long-term investment to train your in-house IT department, you should also consider the task duration. If it can be done in a short span of time, then IT outsourcing is the wiser option.
Businesses usually use the skills of people from other departments to provide band-aid solutions to an IT issue. However, this will just result in a repetition of the problem at hand, and eventually, will cost more than solving the issue at first try.
Lastly, if you have an existing IT department which is at a state of total disarray, then scrapping it and moving to IT outsourcing might be the way to go. Not only will your in-house IT department learn from the outsourced ones, but they can also provide order and bring back the control that was once lost.
It allows your staffing to be flexible.
When there’s a sudden peak in IT-related tasks, IT outsourcing can give you more manpower. Also, you can lay off this extra manpower when the tasks have relaxed.
This flexible setup between your business and outsourcing company is cost and time efficient, especially for IT, as these tight schedules rely heavily on the efficiency of the team that works on it. Bringing a team of highly skilled individuals will not only give you a peace of mind but also assure you excellent output.
One situation that usually arises is that even though your employee can carry out a task, he won’t be able to because of the workload. So, spare your employee of an extra headache and let an outsourced IT group assist him.
Just because you’re outsourcing the IT department doesn’t mean that you’re giving it less importance. Obviously, it’s the other way around. By taking your IT-related business processes to an outsourced team, you’re certain that it’ll be handled better. There are a lot of outsourcing companies that make a good name for themselves in offering the best service to your business.
At the end of the day, IT outsourcing wants to increase your business and employees productivity by reducing the load of your current employees. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone wherein you’re addressing your internal issues and putting your IT-related tasks to a group of expert’s hands.