Some things about customer service never change — but some things are always changing. In a high-tech, information-driven world, customer expectations and desires are constantly changing, more so now than ever before.
Not only that, but the global pandemic has brought unprecedented and unexpected changes to the modern workplace. More brick-and-mortar businesses are closes, more people are working from home, and more customers are shopping remotely rather than in-person. Far from a passing fad, some if not all of these trends may be here to stay.
What does this mean for you? The same thing it means to any savvy business owner: you change with the times and use this shifting landscape to get an edge over your competitor, who may not be as eager as you to embrace change.
Delivering an omni-channel experience to users means offering a seamless, consistent solution across all sales channels, whether it’s social media, email, phone service, in person, or your website. Customers are happiest when they know what to expect from their shopping or customer service experience — and with businesses losing a staggering $494 billion in revenue yearly from poorly handled customer service, it’s in every business owner’s best interest to make sure their visitors get top-flight service across the board.
One of the best ways to start providing an omni-channel experience, if you haven’t already, is to implement some help desk software as a central point for incoming customer problems and inquiries. This way, you can start creating a consistent, convenient customer interface across all channels.
When it comes to communicating with your customers, snail mail is entirely dead, the phone is dying, and email may eventually follow suit, though email still has surprising longevity.
Social media and a constantly-connected world has put pressure on individuals and businesses alike to be available 24-7, no matter what. When they have a problem or an issue, customers don’t want to wait days, hours, or even minutes to get help — they want assistance right now.
What does this mean for you? It means finding ways to deliver that experience to your customers. Fortunately more employees and freelancers working from home means more flexibility when it comes to scheduling. But you can fill in any gaps with a chatbot AI for those times when a human being may not be available.
Not only are chatbots always available when a customer needs them, but they can also reduce the burden on staff and help customers solve common problems without ever having to get another human involved. Plus, customers simply like it better. Live chat allows customers to go about their day without being on hold, waiting for an email, or being tied up when they could be doing other tasks. It has some of the highest satisfaction ratings of any customer channel — and if you haven’t gotten on board yet, the time is definitely now.
Speaking of Remote Work…
Employees working remotely has always offered unique challenges, and for some business owners, it’s been considered impractical or impossible. But attitudes are changing. The changes brought by the pandemic, along with an increasingly mobile and connected world, means remote work is rapidly losing its stigma — and smart business owners can take advantage of that change.
Business messaging software and cloud-based solutions have already brought new flexibility to the workplace. Business owners can further leverage that trend by freeing up customer service from the boundaries of call centers and offices. Embracing remote work means potentially saving big on office space and maintenance — and in a time when so many businesses have taken a big financial hit, that’s not nothing.
Social Media: More Important Than Ever
In 2020, your social media presence is probably more important than your website. With customer decisions being more data-driven than ever before, people want brands and businesses they can trust — and that means they want something they can feel a personal connection to; a voice instead of just a logo.
Like any point of interface with customers, your social media must be carefully managed — after all, social media is a tool for instant feedback, and that can be negative as well as positive. We’ve all seen that one customer service experience that went viral and made the business in question famous for all the wrong reasons.
Fine-tuning your social media accounts to handle inquiries and problems is just another means of providing an omni-channel experience that your customers will appreciate.
In the past, no one would have thought about using social media as a means of customer support — but it’s getting more and more common, and if you choose not to embrace it, not only will your competitors get there ahead of you, but you may not be ready the day a customer encounter goes viral. And just as with the rest of these developing trends and technologies, it pays to be prepared.