22nd Feb 2016
The digital age creates significant challenges and opportunities for customer service executives, which they should carefully consider at both a strategic and operational level if their organisations are to thrive. There are a variety of issues to focus on, but here are three of the ways that technology is transforming business models and customer service strategies. Each should be analysed in turn.
A new form of democracy and radical transparency is transforming governance and affecting business and politics alike, and is one of the most important issues in customer service today. For businesses, social media not only creates an opportunity to promote products, but also to crowdsource ideas and collaborate with consumers. It also offers companies the ability to reach customers across the globe cost-effectively.
But social media also presents challenges for brands. With the likes of Twitter offering consumers the chance to hold businesses to account in real time, in a very public setting, customer service is increasingly a driver of reputation, brand and share price. As a result, boards need to understand what is trending in cyberspace and engage with their customers on social platforms. It is also important that lines of communication between these customer service executives and the marketing teams that control online presences are streamlined for maximum efficiency in real-time crisis management.
Another key trend to consider is population growth. It’s becoming increasingly clear that sustainability will be the abiding issue of our age, and organisations need to adapt. Whether it is fish, water, rare metals or oil, things will start to run out – potentially with catastrophic consequences for the billions who rely on them.
The challenge is to redesign supply chains to recognise that resources are limited. This is a business issue which is fast becoming a customer service issue. Getting it right can create real opportunity, particularly for services, energy management and communications organisations.
Finally, the digital age gives organisations the tools to improve the efficiency of customer service strategies. Cloud-based services can deliver speed, allowing call centre managers to alter the interactive voice response in seconds, to deal with emerging issues. It also enhances self-service capability, allowing companies to experiment, learn and adapt at digital market speed.
But these new technologies also mean that newly empowered consumers can no longer be fobbed off with old-hat routines for managing customer complaints and issues. As the Institute of Customer Service’s Service goes social report outlines, they require a more meaningful level of engagement in the digital world.