Welcome to part one of our Digital Transformation for Customer Support series! If you missed any of our other installments, check them out here: Optimizing Internal Knowledge Operations, Adopting Self-Service as a Strategy, and Shifting from Reactive to Proactive Support.
These days, consumers don’t just want digital customer support, they’ve come to expect it.
In order to stay competitive, you need to embrace technology as a tool for meeting and exceeding your customers’ expectations.
In practice, this means transitioning from an analog support model to a fully digital customer service experience.
Today we’ll talk about why customer support transformation matters and give you the information you need to drive digital channel adoption, so you can bring your customer support operations up to speed.
Digital vs. Analog Support: How Technology is Reshaping Customer Expectations
As technology has evolved, so have customer standards – and who can blame them? Online shopping is so fast and convenient that customers have come to expect the same speed and efficiency from every interaction with your business.
For instance, simply being friendly and helping a customer solve an issue is no longer impressive. At least, not unless you use technology monitoring to solve the issue before the customer calls to report it.
The chart below shows some of the ways that consumer expectations have shifted with advancements in support technology.
With more customer support teams moving from analog to digital channels, modern customers have more leverage than ever, as well as less patience, heightened expectations, and a desire for faster, reliable support experiences.
6 Ways Analog Customer Service is Holding You Back
There are plenty of ways that analog customer service is costing your business time and money that could be saved by transitioning to digital solutions. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest ways analog support solutions slow down your support team, increases your costs, and creates frustration for both agents and customers.
1. Tickets take longer to resolve
If you’re stuck in an analog world, your support agents can’t unlock their full potential as customer support superheroes. Why? Because without the right technology in place, agents are forced to spend more time resolving every issue.
Everything from troubleshooting to collecting customer data to finding a solution takes longer when you rely on siloed analog channels. That’s time and energy wasted searching for information that a digital solution could provide in an instant.
2. Lower first contact resolution rate
Teams that use an analog support model don’t always have access to a customer’s complete history and product details. So, not only does it take longer to process a single ticket when you rely on traditional channels, but you’re more likely to hear back from the same customers over and over.
This makes it harder to diagnose a support issue during an initial interaction – which means more follow-up calls and questions that must be handled before a total resolution is reached.
3. Customers have to repeat their issues
In most cases, customers just want a straight answer when they contact support. We all know how annoying it is to get transferred from department to department – especially when it means you have to explain an issue over and over again to every agent you speak to.
Not only does this slow down the resolution process, but it also creates unnecessary frustration for a customer who’s already struggling with a support issue. This can even cost you future business by driving current customers into the arms of a competitor.
4. Your backlog continues to grow
If you don’t process as many tickets as you would with digital support solutions, your backlog builds up faster than your ability to process customer issues. The lower your first contact resolution rate, the more incoming tickets you’ll receive.
When your agents spend extra time on individual issues, it becomes harder to minimize your backlog since there are more issues coming in than there should be.
5. Customers receive inconsistent information
In an analog world, there’s no easy way to share real-time information between agents and across departments. This makes collaborative support more difficult and increases the odds of miscommunication – especially if policies aren’t enforced consistently.
For instance, say a customer calls and claims that someone on your team promised a resolution that sounds impossible or unlikely to work. If you don’t have an omnichannel support system in place, you might not have access to up-to-date records about the customer’s previous interactions – which means you’d have no way to verify or clarify these claims.
6. Support is only available during business hours
If you don’t offer chatbots or live chat support, you’re restricted to helping customers only during business hours. If no one is available to answer the phone, for instance, then the customer has to wait until the office opens.
However, with digital support channels, you can help customers from anywhere and at any time of day. Plus, digital self-service resources make it easier for customers to help themselves and resolve their issues without contacting your team at all.
Why Your Business Needs to Embrace Digital Customer Support
When your business transitions to digital customer support, everyone wins. Digital support benefits your support agents, customers, and company.
Here’s a closer look at what happens when your business embraces digital customer support and encourages customers to take advantage of the digital channels.
- Your agents are empowered to perform their very best. Digital customer support makes transaction problems easier to resolve. Not only is there a complete record of every support call, chat session, or email – which helps your agents understand a problem more quickly – but agents also have access to all the information they need to diagnose and resolve an issue.
- Your customers are happier with their experiences. Even negative customer experiences can be improved with a digital approach to customer support. According to research by McKinsey, customers who use digital channels for service and support are one-third more satisfied with their experiences than those who stick to traditional channels.
- Your support costs decrease over time. Introducing digital support channels today reduces your operating costs in the long run. Automated messages, chatbots, and technology monitoring all allow you to deliver faster, reliable support at a lower cost to your business. Overall, digital support channels allow you to support operations to run more smoothly and enable your team to work more efficiently.
- You provide more value for shareholders. Happy customers are loyal customers – and loyal customers are some of your biggest revenue-drivers. Not only does retaining customers cost 5-25% less than converting new customers, but they tend to spend more than new customers. Leveraging digital channels can reduce the costs associated with your support team as well as increase your profits.
Moving to Digital Support Channels: How to Make the Transformation as Smooth as Possible
Transforming your support operations doesn’t have to be a difficult experience. Here are some guidelines to help drive digital channel adoption and make the transition as seamless as possible.
Keep it simple and intuitive
The best digital support experience is one your customers don’t even have to think about. Your digital support channels shouldn’t involve a learning curve for your customers (unless, of course, they’re learning how to fix their issue via a self-service resource on your website).
Minimize friction at every touchpoint
Not only should your digital support channels be easy to access and navigate, but it should also be easy for the customer to find solutions to their specific problems.
Your customers should be able to connect with your agents online using their preferred channel. Explanations should be clear and easy to understand. The fewer clicks or actions between a customer and their solution, the better.
Deliver reliable omnichannel support
Regardless of which channel or device a customer uses, they should receive the same level of high-quality support. Furthermore, your customers should be able to count on every agent providing the exact same information and solutions.
Personalize every customer interaction
It’s important that your customers feel valued. Their interactions and experiences with your support team should be tailored to their specific needs and situation. That means knowing who they are, what they want, their purchase history, previous support interactions, and more.
With an omnichannel support system in place, your agents always have access to the context they need to provide the personalized support your customers expect. Which is great because, according to Microsoft’s 2016 Global Customer Service Report, 78% of millennials expect your business to already know their contact information and product details when they request support.
Maintain brand consistency
Top-performing support teams don’t just offer digital channels, they create amazing digital experiences that their customers love.
So, when you make the switch to digital, it’s important to preserve all of the positive aspects of your analog customer experience. Things like tone, level of care, and style of support provided don’t necessarily need to change.
Jumpstart Your Customer Support Transformation Today
In an increasingly digital world, businesses need to take advantage of support technology in order to stay relevant. By offering, optimizing, and encouraging customers to use digital support channels, your team can deliver exceptional support that strengthens your brand and fosters customer loyalty.
Ready to move towards a digital customer service model? Find out how Relay can help you get there.
Continue reading the series: Part 2: Optimizing Internal Knowledge Operations