What is Digital Customer Service?
Digital Customer Service (DCS) uses digital channels to respond to customer enquiries such as email, text, SMS, Social Media, Live chat etc as opposed to over the telephone.
As consumers embrace technology to interact with each other (e.g. Facebook, WhatsApp, SMS etc) there is an increasing expectation that they will be able to use the same digital channels to communicate with businesses and organisations that they want to deal with.
And making things easy for customers is important.
Customer Effort is linked to higher customer loyalty according to the authors of the book The Effortless Experience that stated that “96% of customers with a high-effort service interaction become more disloyal compared to just 9% who have a low-effort experience. Disloyal customers are likely to cost the company more — they spread negative word of mouth and cease future purchases.”
And when it comes to indicators that are considered high effort:
- Having to switch communication channels
- Having to repeat information
- Getting transferred to a different agent/team
With 90% of customers using customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company, improving the customer experience and making things effortless for customers should be a key strategy for any business.
What channels are considered Digital Customer Service?
Whilst phone calls are now technically delivered via the cloud/digital for many organisations, the phrase Digital Customer Service traditionally consists of:
- Live Chat
- Social Media
- Virtual Employee
Advantages of Digital Customer Service
There is no doubt many organisations are already embracing digital channels as part of their customer service strategy with a number of benefits for both the business and their customers:
- Reduce customer effort (leading to more loyal customers that spend more)
- Reduce call volumes and manually handling (reduces cost)
- Increase efficiency
- Increase conversions
- Can improve the customer experience (e.g. ability to self-service or access help for longer periods of time)
Challenges of Digital Customer Service
Whilst the technology has come a long way, there are a number of challenges with businesses looking to implement or optimise their digital customer service offering including:
- The skills of frontline agents need to change (e.g. written communication skills now required and they must be tech-savvy) which leads to recruitment and training challenges.
- With so many channels available it can be difficult trying to manage multi-channel and omnichannel technology solutions.
- There are always new channels emerging, and it’s nearly impossible to support them all.
- Prioritising one channel over another can cause issues.
What is clear is that Digital Customer Service is not a fad and is here to stay. The challenge is working out your CX Strategy to determine the channels you are going to support.
My advice is it’s better to do the channels you offer well, than offering many channels with a poor experience.
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