Every customer service channel is an opportunity for your brand to provide a positive customer experience, build customer relationship, and increase customer loyalty. However, not all businesses provide efficient and effective customer email support.
Email is King
In today’s digital age, people no longer have the patience to call a hotline. They know they can send a quick message to customer support and go on with their daily lives while waiting for the information or solution they’re looking for.
Email is quick, simple, and convenient. It’s no surprise that email remains the most common digital customer service channel used—with 54% of customers having used the channel in the last year. Unfortunately, not every organization knows how to leverage the power of their email support to help their business thrive.
The good news is that crafting an effective email is simple and easy. Leave your customers delighted with these tips to improve your email support.
1. Define Your Customer Support Style
The tone you use in your emails reflects the overall personality of your brand. Make sure to define the tone, language, and voice that your whole team will be using in all customer interaction.
Do you want to sound friendly and conversational or do you think a formal, business-like tone would be better appreciated by your customers? How fast do you want to respond to queries and resolve problems? How would you address issues and concerns where customers are demanding products and services outside the normal provisions?
Decide on particular rules, guidelines, structure, and values in your customer support process. Create a style guide that your customer support team can regularly use as a basis in their daily work.
2. Personalize Your Emails
There’s nothing worse than receiving an email that’s obviously automated. Make your customer feel like they’re dealing with a human being, not a chatbot.
Customers who feel like they’re getting personal service become more confident about the information they’re receiving, and as a result, they become better customers.
Using their names in the email is a powerful way of establishing familiarity. Don’t forget to sign off with your name and position in the company. Your signature is a great way to humanize the communication between two people who’ve never met.
Whether you operate 24/7 or within specific business hours, you need to find the right balance between personalization and automation. There will be instances when your team can’t immediately address a customer’s needs due to a long queue of customer emails, holidays, and technical issues. In these cases, an automated, canned response can help appease the customer’s anxiety.
Customers also have similar, repeating issues that can be answered with the same message. An autoresponder can also help you efficiently address such problems. This will save your team a lot of man hours, but make sure to implement personalization in your autoresponder still.
4. Acknowledge Their Problem
When writing customer support emails, you should always acknowledge their problem. Firstly, acknowledging and restating their problem ensures that you understand their concern. Secondly, showing empathy can help diffuse your customer’s anger or frustration.
In most cases, customers are more upset about the inconvenience that their specific issue is causing, rather than the actual product or service. Despite how irate your customer’s email reads, it’s crucial that you maintain a positive tone and language.
5. Use the ELI5 Technique
When giving instructions to customers, use the ELI5 (Explain it Like I’m 5) technique. Remember, these customers are reaching out to you because there’s something they don’t understand. So, don’t talk to them as if they know what they’re doing or that you expect them to be familiar with your product and/or service.
Break down complex topics and provide simple, clear instructions. Provide images and screenshots as possible to illustrate your instructions.
6. Send Them Links to Helpful Content or Instructions
Sometimes, customers don’t like reading long, tedious emails, especially when they’re reading your message from a mobile device with a smaller screen. So, write them a short email with a link to the full instructions. This will allow your customer to get back to your instruction when they have access to a computer or immerse themselves in the resolution you provided.
More importantly, you’re teaching them to be self-sufficient. Should another concern arise about your product or service, they now know where to find solutions.
7. Ask for Customer Feedback
Ask for feedback after resolving your customer’s concerns. This will not only provide your team critical information about how you can improve your email support, but it will also show them that you care.
Improving your email customer support is crucial in keeping your customers satisfied and loyal to your brand. In the past, customers were patient enough to wait on the phone just to talk to a customer service representative.
Nowadays, customers expect immediate resolutions without the inconvenience of calling a hotline and dedicating their precious time to problems that, in their minds, should not have occurred to begin with. So, make it as frictionless as possible and make sure that your email support is top notch.
IT security is an issue as old as the technology itself, but that doesn’t excuse large companies when they are revealed to be facing some of these problems.
The Fall of the Mighty
Social media giant Facebook learned this the hard way. It was revealed this year that a data security flaw allowed British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, to use the personal information of some 87 million Facebook users in the US. The data was used to drum up pro-Trump propaganda on the platform, even creating the “Defeat Crooked Hillary” video campaign to influence the 2016 elections possibly.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg was summoned by both the US Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees and the Brussels-based European Parliament to explain the issue to lawmakers further, all while assuring that the company is doing everything in their power to right the wrongs.
Months after the exposé, several companies like Twitter, Viber, and Snapchat followed suit by looking into their own policies, updating their Terms and Services, and assuring users that the personal data is safe with them. Some added that they don’t sell or rent the information (note, however, that this is different from sharing some details with select partners).
The European Union, meanwhile, put into effect the General Data Protection Regulation, which gave Europeans the “right to be forgotten,” wherein tech companies must erase specific user data online if requested by the person.
Precautionary Strategies for Customer Data
Technology is making operations easier for big companies, but such incidences have put the spotlight on privacy and data security, which should be every business’ responsibility.
Fortunately, there are many ways to combat these issues and assure clients and users a safe experience.
1. Using dedicated servers
Shared servers are understandably cheaper, but security—which it regrettably lacks—is something your business should be investing in.
Other people may have access to your personal information, making it vulnerable to attacks, when you opt to use a shared server. Having a server that only you and key personnel can access can significantly improve overall data security.
2. Beefing up your passwords
Cybercriminals are smart and resourceful—they can easily tinker your account to discover login details, especially if your passwords are rather simple and easy-to-remember. Once inside the system, these crooks can quickly use confidential information and back-end databases for their gain.
The standard for a secure password is to have numbers, symbols, and both uppercase and lowercase letters. Require everyone who can access the system to remember this and implement a two-factor authentication. Some IT services would even need personal information before passwords can be reset, which would require sending notification and receiving confirmation from the user first.
3. Implementing and updating data encryption practices, including cloud
IT security is continually getting updates to protect users better, making outdated legacy systems prone to attacks. Data encryption is one of the practices users tend to neglect but should be greatly considered.
In both servers of physical storage and cloud, implement full protection and encryption including the actual process of data transfer to the cloud.
Have a schedule for regular encryption updates. With many cost-effective choices available, there is sure to be one that fits your business.
4. Setting up email filters for spam, malware, and other suspicious files
A quick look at your received email folder shows multiple emails from unknown people containing dubious links and attachments. Aside from being cautious and not opening these, you can also set up a filter that will instantly protect you from spam, malware, and other dangerous emails.
Report incidences to your IT Specialist, if needed.
5. Updating the operating system and applications to include security fixes
A patch assessment tool can help you determine if your OS and all the applications needed are up-to-date. If not, do an update immediately. It will not only fix security bugs, but will also improve your system’s speed, reliability, and efficiency.
6. Segregating networks and implementing firewalls
Consider using different networks for each of your internal departments and put up next-generation firewall for each. The problem with a common network is a single vulnerability can put the whole in jeopardy.
7. Restricting personal storage device and unnecessary software
Some companies have implemented the practice of disallowing employees to insert their own removable storage devices on company-issued computers, as well as controlling the use of certain applications to further protect sensitive company data.
Controlling these not only prevents vulnerabilities from getting in, but also prevents confidential information from getting out.
8. Customer info collection, access, and organization
The underlying factor behind the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal is the collection of user’s data and misuse. To avoid such incidences, businesses should learn how to handle private information better.
This could be done by letting users know which information will be collected, collecting only the necessary information, limiting its access to only the employees who need them, and deleting the data only if it’s not needed anymore.
9. Training your employees and hiring experts
All of these strategies would not work if only select people would implement and take them by heart. Consider doing training and seminars to your employees and reiterating the importance of data security within the organization.
Aside from preparing your personnel, you may also set up a team of experts who will protect you in case some problems occur like those knowledgeable in different fields such as forensics, legal, information security, operations, HR, communications, investor relations, and management.
10. Getting an Outsource Data Security Partner
There are some things that you won’t be able to execute yourself without the right knowledge and resources. In this case, IT outsourcing companies may be able to offer the support your business needs. Consider getting an outsourced data security organization to help you better your IT infrastructure.
Privacy and data security are more than just buzzwords—these are considerations that may have implications for your business if not taken seriously. More than just using safety as a marketing ploy to lure in clients who are meticulous when it comes to their privacy, this should be a corporate responsibility that comes with quality service.
Some shoppers would visit a physical store to check the availability of the item, how it looks like, how much it costs, and to see if the item is something that the shopper would want to purchase right away. Then, there are those who rely heavily on online stores to check its availability or make the purchase readily.
E-commerce greatly flourished over the last few years not only due to the vast improvements made with the Internet (i.e., the birth of Internet-of-Things), but also because of those made with the devices used to access it.
There are indeed more ways than one to present and to purchase the things customers need. As a business owner or retailer, taking advantage of these different channels not only allows your business to engage better with buyers who may prefer to shop via one or more channels, but it also means potentially growing your revenue.
An omnichannel strategy refers to unifying the many channels available to users to access a store and create a harmonious buying process that utilizes one or more of these channels. Some of these channels include desktop, mobile, apps, SMS, and email marketing to name a few.
Omnichannel e-commerce relies heavily on creating a consistent and seamless customer experience across all channels and is often confused with multi-channel. However, it’s as beneficial as multi-channel or probably even more.
If you believe that the benefits of omnichannel are something you want for your business, you should implement it alongside these guidelines.
1. Plan it out
Determine first the nature of your business—its needs and goals, strengths and weaknesses, and challenges.
This is also the first step in knowing which channels to take advantage of. Keep in mind that not all will be beneficial to you. Just because a particular channel worked for one business, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for yours, which is why studying the details of your business is essential.
2. Embrace all possible channels in the customer journey
It is important to determine which channels to start with and utilize. Fortunately, there are low-cost solutions for reaching your target market.
Take advantage of these systems and allow your customers to interact with you through their preferred method. Forcing them done a single generic path may be easier for you in terms of boosting your numbers, but the priority should be adapting to consumer behavior and preference.
Today, 45% of consumers prefer a combination of online, mobile, and in-store shopping, so make sure that you are discoverable across all channels to give you the most ROI and opportunities to convert at every avenue.
3. Decide which customer segments you to focus on for a personalized experience
Around 74% of consumers do not like receiving content that isn’t relevant to their interests. Segmenting your buyers depending on specific criteria (with the help of your CRM) allows you to personalize the messages to send out—assuring you of maximum engagement and that your content doesn’t go straight to the Trash.
Identify what works for your customers through social monitoring, analytics, and even surveys. Listen to what they are saying and invest in their experience.
4. Make every touchpoint a shopping haven
According to Google, a critical element in omnichannel strategies perfects the customer journey: making every touchpoint shoppable. This means that all platforms utilized are capable on its own to convert.
Reduce friction to help give customers a seamless purchasing experience, and for your business to drive to more conversions.
5. Maintain a consistent brand image
The omnichannel strategy requires consistent branding. Whether customers access your business at the physical store, on social media, or the e-commerce website, they should be able to identify your brand and message. This helps in providing them a consistently excellent buying experience.
Unifying your channel approach means avoiding conflicting messages and making your campaign goals clear. There should be a common theme running on your UX, website, emails, and all other customer-facing materials. They should be able to trust you.
6. Invest in customer care service
According to reports, 54% of millennials, 50% of Gen Xers, and 52% of baby boomers will discontinue supporting a business due to poor customer service. Another 77% of people say that excellent customer service for businesses means valuing the customers’ time.
It’s safe to say that customer support is integral in retaining buyers. Apart from that, it may also lead to referrals and recurring revenues. Listen to your customers and implement these suggestions accordingly to improve customer service.
7. Integrate your systems and tools for customer data gathering and processing
Consolidate your marketing systems and tools to reduce data ambiguity and ensure integrity. With the correct data, you get a better picture of the success of your campaign.
There are services from different providers offering every aspect of omnichannel setup. You can pick several providers including e-commerce outsourcing instead of just one. You can even choose specific tools to favor your business and the needs of your customers while retaining control on your system.
May it be BPO services or providers in your area, they should have specialists working to implement the strategy effectively. In addition, the programs should be kept up to date with new features.
8. Continuously optimize your channels
Optimizing your online and offline channels means monitoring their performance including cross-channel experiences and reorganizing them when needed.
Here are some of the ways to do it:
– Use the data you gathered to determine the efficiency of the channel, not industry benchmarks.
– Modify the channel that is not generating revenue. If still ineffective, drop it altogether. Invest in a channel that offers you the best ROI and take advantage of the channels that are performing well.
– Regularly monitor top channels and modify the strategy if the ROI is decreasing or not increasing as fast as before.
Nowadays, having an omnichannel strategy for business shouldn’t just be a choice—it should be a prerequisite. Technology is continuously evolving to address consumer needs, but each evolution yields more demands that should be met.
Unifying the available channels integrates the system for a more personal engagement to eventually ensure ROI and drive more leads.
Any ecommerce outsourcing entity will tell you that the success of your online business depends on the user design and experience of your website. With 93% of consumers making their purchase decision based on website design, product images, and other visual elements of your site, it’s crucial for any online shop or ecommerce business to create a dynamic website that’s optimized for the customers’ shopping experience.
Some business owners may think that building an ecommerce website is easy – just put a shopping cart, and profit will start pouring in. However, there’s a lot to learn about how an ecommerce website works and functions.
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Homepage or Category Page
Think of your ecommerce homepage as your physical storefront – it should welcome customers in, give them an idea what kind of products you offer, show them what makes you different from your competitors, and quickly inform them of your store policies and guidelines.
Because a top-notch ecommerce website makes it easy for customers to find desired goods, your website homepage should also feature the different product categories in your store. This will allow your website visitors to navigate through your store seamlessly.
Once a specific product catches the eye of your website visitor, they will then be taken to the product page, where the specifics and particulars are provided. Here, you need to convince your shopper that the product they’re looking at is something highly valuable.
The main goal of your product page is to focus the attention of a shopper on a specific product and guide them towards making the purchase. When designing your product page, keep in mind that the primary question you need to answer for your shopper is “what’s in it for me?”
In brick and mortar shops, there are sales personnel who can quickly answer questions to guide a customer’s purchase decision. But in ecommerce, you only have your website!
Provide complete product information and images. Make it easy to read so that customers can quickly click on the “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button.
Your shopping cart page allows your customer to view all the items they wish to purchase in list view. This makes it easy for them to review how many products they are purchasing, as they would on the checkout counter of a physical store.
Give them the option to edit the quantity or remove items from their cart. You can also place an “Add to Wishlist” button so that they can go back to the items they removed from the cart later.
Be sure to include all the pertinent charges in the order summary section so that shoppers won’t complain of any hidden charges.
When customers proceed to the checkout page, they are expected to provide their complete contact information and delivery address. Give descriptions and input examples for each field, so customers don’t get confused which part of their address belongs on which field. For the billing address, use a “same as delivery address” button so that they don’t have to enter the same details twice.
Provide multiple delivery options as possible, so customers can choose the more appropriate delivery date and fees. Include an order summary section on the right-hand side, so customers can readily see what they ordered and be reminded of the amount they need to pay for.
Payment Confirmation Page
This is where your customers finalize the purchase and complete their payment, so make sure that your SSL certificates are highly visible on this page to instill trust and confidence. Keep your payment confirmation page as simple as possible to make it quick and easy for customers to complete their purchase.
Be sure to place your contact information, so customers can quickly reach out to your customer support team should they have questions. Position the order number at the top of the page, so customers know where to find it when customer service agents ask for it.
Place a signup form on your order confirmation page. This will help you build and nurture your relationship with your customer, so they remain loyal to your brand.
Once an order is shipped and successfully delivered, you can send them an email to ask them for a positive review! Of course, you need to make sure that their shopping experience was indeed positive.
More consumers are turning to ecommerce shops and online stores to purchase the goods that they need and want. As such, even the biggest and oldest brands are creating ecommerce websites, so they can offer a more convenient shopping experience for their customers.
Creating a top-notch ecommerce website is no easy feat. Make sure that you’re partnering up with a reliable and experience ecommerce outsourcing company to maximize your profit and revenue.
The world of mobile apps is getting more and more exciting by the day. Take Instagram, for example. The photo-sharing platform continues to evolve since Facebook acquired it in 2012.
With 800 million users around the world, Instagram has been working hard to engage digital consumers with memorable photo and video content.
IG Story is one of the fruits of that labor. This IG in-app feature lets Instagrammers share highlights of their day by choosing a bunch of photos and videos to add to the story. The stories appear above the fold, play in the form of a slideshow, and can be viewed by people in one’s network for 24 hours.
In the same way, IG Story provides a way for your business to keep customers in the loop about what’s happening to your organisation, similar to what customer experience outsourcingservices do for your business.
IG Story helps your brand connect with your audience in a fun and creative way. Another equally important thing with IG Story is that it can help you improve customer experience in your business through its customer-centric features.
Here are different IG Story ideas you could try to enrich the customer experience of your brand’s followers:
Although Instagram is best known as a platform for sharing photos and videos, there are moments when words work better in conveying a message such as when you want to promote important information straightforwardly.
Enter Type – the most basic but an essential feature of IG Story. As the name implies, it lets you type away your story if you want to keep it simple minus photos or videos. You could choose the font style and background colours for the text in your Story, too.
Use Type to direct your customers’ attention to limited-time discount codes, to indicate your store hours during a special event or holiday, or to simply say hello – with or without photos or videos.
Live videos are one of the most widely used features that help users and brands create stories. You could explore this feature if your goal is to drive higher rates of engagement among customers.
For instance, you could go live to document company events and product launches in real time. At the same time, you could host a contest right there and then, invite people to join, and pick a winner from among those who join your Live Story.
Live is also a convenient way of alerting your followers that you have new content such as tutorials or product demos. You can also have a Q&A session with your followers during the live broadcast.
The Normal mode on Instagram Story lets you take photos or short videos to which you could add a gamut of elements like GIFs, stickers, location, filters, icons, text, and hashtags.
There are many ways this feature can work for you. For one, it’s a good tool to create user-generated content (UGC). If you have customers who are tagging your brand, product, or service in their content, you could request them to use their story and add it to yours. It’s a way to thank your customers for their loyalty to your business.
Alternatively, you could invite your followers to submit their photos showing how they’re using or enjoying your product or service along with a brand hashtag. Testimonials of this kind can boost your popularity as a customer-oriented brand and increase your conversion rates.
To encourage more submissions, you could offer some rewards.
The Boomerang video app in Instagram lets you take a series of photos and turn them into a one-second video. The video creates a loop similar to GIFs so that it can be played backwards and forwards.
You could use Boomerangs to create short-form content, which is appealing to today’s users with a short attention span. Boomerangs can be handy when you want to capture candid moments, which can be a great way to show the sociable side of your brand.
How to Use Instagram Superzoom Feature - YouTube
The name of the feature is quite self-explanatory: it lets you take a video of something in close-up or superzoom mode. A beat-like sound is also played in the background as your story is viewed.
Superzoom your product to give viewers a closer look at its appearance – colour, texture, design, the material used, and the like.
If you’re a clothing retail startup, you could even include a poll to ask a Yes or No type of question among your customers. “Do you think we should include this shade or colour in our springtime collection?”
This way, you can include your customers in the decision-making process of your business. After all, you’re creating products that you want your customers to find useful or attractive.
Note that most photos or videos you take for your Instagram Story can be added with other text- and graphic-based effects like location, temperature, GIFs, time, mention, hashtag, day, and stickers.
You can be as creative as you want with your Stories to increase your relevance as a brand and develop a greater connection with your audience on this platform.
With these ideas, you’re now ready to use IG Story to wow your customers. Remember, after posting or publishing your Stories, it’s important to keep track of your followers’ comments, messages, or reactions to help you create more compelling and engaging stories in the future. This way, your customers will love their IG experience with your brand even more.
Today’s advancing technology has made it necessary and possible for businesses to store and share large amounts of data via the cloud, but the remote nature of cloud services makes it vulnerable to security threats.
Statistics say there are at least 23 cloud-related threats that compromise average enterprises every month. Recently, American corporation Tesla’s public cloud environment was hacked too, resulting in exposure of proprietary data.
Cloud security vulnerabilities are prevalent regardless of company size, which makes it crucial for your IT team to be aware and vigilant of these issues. The infographic below identifies common threats surrounding cloud technologies and preventive measures you could take to protect your business and customer data.
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1. Data Breaches
A data breach happens when unauthorised individuals gain access to sensitive or confidential data and expose them elsewhere on the web. Oftentimes, the breach involves personal or proprietary data, health information, financial information, trade secrets, and the like.
When customer information is compromised due to a data breach, the company’s accountability is on the line. To increase the security of your cloud environment, you could complement your cloud service’s usual security protocols with encryption and multifactor authentication.
2. Compromised Credentials
At the basic level, this type of threat to cloud technologies is about how unsecure passwords make it possible for malicious users to access your accounts online such as your email, social media, or web-based apps and services. It could also refer to more complex security threats such as snooping on data in transit or the release of malware, which is risky for the legitimate account holder.
This stresses the importance of creating secure credentials or passwords, plus the use of multifactor authentication systems to prevent someone else other than yourself from logging into your account.
3. System Vulnerabilities
These are bugs in your system that can be exploited by cyber-criminals so they could break into your program and steal data, gain control over it, or disrupt your services. This security issue is compounded by the fact that multiple organizations are availing cloud services, which may expose one particular system to other users of the cloud, opening up the possibility of a security breakdown.
Since vulnerabilities may differ across industries and IT infrastructure, IT outsourcing companies could help as they can tell you which control systems will work best for your organisation.
4. Insecure Interfaces and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
Cloud providers operate by using APIs to enable their customers to manage and interact with their cloud services. This could prove to be a sticky situation when cloud companies grant third parties access to the APIs, which could result in the loss of confidential data of their customers.
To prevent API and interface hacks, you need to establish with your IT outsourcing partner a threat modeling system into the development lifecycle and make sure your interface is secure against accidental or malicious attempts to bypass your security codes.
5. Account Hijacking / Service Hijacking
A hijacked account puts the user data at risk, as hackers could use this as an opportunity to redirect the user to illegitimate sites or give the user falsified information.
Cyber-criminals could also infiltrate critical areas of your cloud operations, which could damage the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your account on the cloud. You could implement device or protocol authentication to reduce the risk of account or service hijacking.
6. Insufficient Due Diligence
As you plan your business model and strategies, you should also plan which cloud technologies, service providers, or outsourcing services to get.
Don’t be in a rush to adopt cloud technologies without doing your due diligence since the value – or lack of value – of your cloud services will ultimately affect your company’s efficiency, security, and relationship with customers.
7. Shared Technology Vulnerabilities
Cloud computing as a system is comprised of three services: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS), each of which should be designed with multi-tenant architecture or multi-customer applications in mind. Otherwise, the hardware or software might be insufficient for the type of service it will be used for.
8. Denial of Service (DoS)
DoS attacks are attacks on your cloud service’s processing power, memory, disk space, or bandwidth, which tend to slow down your system and prevent users from accessing your service.
Although cloud service providers have systems in place to mitigate DoS attacks, you could share critical business resources with your IT administrators and have regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities in this area.
9. Loss of Data
Data loss can happen not only because of security attacks on data centers, but also due to accidental deletion of files, applications, or other similar elements. Natural calamities such as fire and earthquake can likewise lead to permanent loss of data.
Having a backup system off-site can ensure business continuity and help you recover lost data more easily.
10. Abuse and Nefarious Use of Cloud Services
It’s quite common for cloud companies to offer free trials to potential customers, which delinquent individuals can take advantage of by using cloud computing resources to send email spam, phishing campaigns, or malware into your computer systems.
The cloud is a piece of technology that may come with certain security threats, but there are ways to ensure your organisation’s safety in the digital world.
IT outsourcing companies are one of the best options out there. They can help prevent cloud attacks by assessing your IT resources and systems, and coming up with robust solutions to lessen, if not completely eliminate, your system’s vulnerabilities.
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.