Digital technology has helped to transform the way many organisations do business, but it has also revolutionised the customer service experience as well. And while many of the changes are extremely positive, digital service does also present some significant challenges, which need to be understood and met head on.
One of the key component of any organisation offering customer service training solutions must be exploring digital communications and understanding customer expectations. Here, we take a look at some of the ways in which you can get your customer service team ready for the challenges of digital service.
Multiple Communication Channels
One of the single biggest challenges presented by the shift towards digital service is the range of different communication channels that are potentially open to customers. In particular, it is important that your customer service training highlights the differences in etiquette and usage between these channels.
For example, the volume of tweets sent to businesses doubled between 2013 and 2015, because Twitter presents an extremely convenient option, with its focus on short messages. However, your team need to possess the required customer service skills to deal with issues and complaints in 140 characters or less.
By contrast, Facebook allows for more detailed responses. Both Twitter and Facebook are public platforms, meaning any response you make to customers will be there for all to see, so being polite and respectful is essential. Meanwhile, live chat functions are more private and the faster nature means staff need to be able to think quickly.
Making Effective Use of Data
The shift towards digital service has brought with it a number of potential benefits, including the ability to collect and utilise customer data to inform interactions with them. However, one drawback is that customers often have to face dealing with multiple different customer service reps, rather than a single person on a one-to-one basis.
One way to make this a non-issue is by keeping a customer database, logging important information, customer comments and any promises that have been made to that customer. Customer service training should also teach team members how to use such a tool and highlight some best practices, so there is a level of consistency.
"Moving to digital should actually improve the customer service experience," says Jim Marous, co-publisher of The Financial Brand. "Not only can such a database monitor commitments made, but it can also provide a reminder to internal parties who may need to help live up to commitments made by others."
Meeting Customer Expectations
Finally, in order to meet customer expectations, your team needs to be absolutely clear on what those expectations are and in the digital age, customers are arguably more demanding than ever. Nevertheless, your team must be equipped with the right customer service skills to deal with these demands, or risk falling behind competitors.
In particular, customers want quick responses to digital communications. In fact, 72 percent of people who complain on Twitter expect a reply within one hour. When this expectation is not met, 29 percent would tell a friend about the experience and 24 percent would consider buying less from that company in future.
Customers do not want to have to repeat their problem to multiple people, so facilitating communication between reps is essential by implementing processes that allow visibility when needed by the appropriate teams. They also expect companies to reply to them through the same channel they made contact, and in the same way. This means if you received a publicly visible message, your reply should be publicly visible too. Similarly, if the original contact was through a private message, you should not publicise your conversation.
Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specialises in providing exceptional sales training courses to provide organisations with sales ready solutions for their employees. She enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to develop better sales and customer service skills in sales people.