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How Technology Helps You Deliver Better Customer Service

Editor's Note: If you are interested in becoming an expert on Customer-centric Design (CCD), take a look at Flevy's Customer-centric Design (CCD) Frameworks offering here. This is a curated collection of best practice frameworks based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. By learning and applying these concepts, you can you stay ahead of the curve. Full details here.

Featured Best Practice on Customer Service

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Every organization depends on customer service. Due to rising customer expectations, delivering excellent service is no longer a choice but a necessity. When you equip your frontline staff with the skills to create a quality experience for your customers, you differentiate your organization from [read more]

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DepositphotosFor many companies, improvements in technology over the past few decades haven’t improved their customer service. In 1976, a White House study found that only 23 percent of customers were completely satisfied with companies’ solutions to their problems, while 44 percent said that solutions companies provided were at least acceptable. Today, the percentage of customers who report merely acceptable solutions remains at 44 percent, while the number who are completely satisfied has fallen to 20 percent, an Arizona State University study found. Some of today’s top customer complaints involve poor use of technology to handle service issues. For instance, 75 percent of customers say they are highly annoyed by inability to get a live person on the phone, 68 percent complain about companies hiding their customer service numbers and 66 percent are upset about being repeatedly asked for the same information, Consumer Reports says. Fortunately, smarter use of technology can help your company avoid these types of complaints and deliver better customer service.

Live chat lets your customers talk to a real representative

To avoid complaints from customers who can’t get a hold of a live representative on the phone, live chat is proving to be an ideal solution. In fact, research shows that customers who try live chat for customer service prefer it to phone service or other channels. Ninety-two percent of customers report satisfaction after a live-chat session with service representatives, compared to 88 percent of customers who receive phone service, 85 percent who receive service via web form or email and 84 percent who receive service through Facebook. Adding live chat capability to your customer service options can enable your business to deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Cloud contact centers let you offer multiple contact options

While live chat can resolve many customer issues, there remain times when other response channels are needed. For instance, while 49 percent of consumers prefer live chat for assistance with online shopping cart issues, 74 percent would rather speak to a representative on the phone to answer complex financial questions, a Software Advice survey states. Customer channel preferences also vary by demographic, with customer preference for live chat answers to general questions dropping from 56 percent for consumers aged 18 to 34, to 27 percent for those aged 35 and older. To meet the needs of consumers from all backgrounds in all situations, cloud contact centers facilitate omnichannel support that integrates live chat, phone, web self-service, social media and video service.

Omnichannel integration avoids annoying repetition

Omnichannel support can also prevent customer complaints about having to repeat the same thing to multiple representatives in the course of resolving an issue. Cloud contact center solutions provide a central platform where representatives can view all information pertaining to a single customer ticket information regardless of its channel of origin. This enables customer service teams to deliver customers seamlessly integrated support, with one representative picking up the conversation where the previous support channel left off — without the need to pester customers with the same questions all over again.

Social media service protects your brand’s reputation

An effective omnichannel customer service solution also requires social media support. Forty-two percent of customers who complain about an issue on a brand’s social media channel expect an answer within an hour, and 32 percent expect a response within a half hour, The Social Habit reports. Making sure your customer service solution includes social media support will help ensure that social shares about your brand remain positive.

102-slide PowerPoint presentation
Customer service is about how a company deals with its customers before, during and after a purchase of a product or use of a service. It is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction - that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer [read more]

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In the modern Digital Age, advances in technology and communication, combined with the explosive growth in data information, have given rise to a more empowered global customer. Recent economic and political events highlight the need for organizations to understand how consumers view the world and the most important attributes for their purchasing decisions.

Thus, increasingly more organizations are seeking to invest and focus on Customer-centric Design. A clear understanding of customer needs and behaviors across the organization will help drive profitable growth strategies and provide the confidence to invest in opportunities at a time when staying within budget can be extremely difficult.

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About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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