Customer Service in a High-Tech World
It’s hard to imagine today’s fast-paced world of customer service without the existence of modern technology. With every new invention the customer/supplier relationship becomes more efficient and cost-effective for both parties. The quality of customer service technology is a reflection of the conduct and professionalism of an entire business, and the shopping experience of consumers is enhanced immeasurably by today’s electronic capability, sometimes without our even realising. Here are a few ways this is happening.
Data Storage and Analytics
Online shopping is now as profitable as in-store sales, if not more so, and is expanding all the time. Storing customers’ purchase history and search activities in a database has proven to be an effective means of engaging with the public while enhancing a business’s own potential.
This practice known as ‘insight driven marketing’ allows online businesses to show how much they value their clientsby targeting them with ideas for future offers that correspond to their prior purchases. In return for this effort, a company hopes to receive customer loyalty.
One company that quickly recognised the importance of this approach is Amazon, which was one of the first sites to use cookie technology for tracking consumer preferences. This specific marketing towards individuals may take longer than publishing a single universally distributed advert, but any additional expense this creates is definitely worth the effort, as statistics show that target marketing has been consistently successful at generating new sales.
|Image by New Voice Media|
To develop a better understanding of the effect that such advertisement has on customers, a company can set up a feedback tool on their website which allows customers to express their feelings.Such marketing technology can be found hosted by uservoice.com.
Another effective means of mass advertising is through the use of social media sites,which guarantee that promotional offers will reach a mass audience. A message on a Twitter or Facebook account can transcend individual client targeting. For example, releasing a message offering a 20% discount on all products will reach all of your followers at once, thereby saving you time and money.
Good Technology Means Good Contact
Social media and email capabilities have also made life easier for when customers need to contact retailers. However, businesses must make sure they recruit employees to consistently monitor such contact they can assure fast response times. Research shows that 79% of the public would rather speak to an actual person than send an email, as they like to be certain their difficulties are received and dealt with.
Establishing a well-organized customer support team ready to engage with customers is vital, and the expense of training and hiring employees will be less costly in the long run, as studies show that auto-respond emails and robotic phone replies make the public feel ignored and patronised, thus resulting in a loss of sales.
Top revent putting callers on hold,allow them to instead leave a voice mail message, as this will at least help ease customer frustrations by giving them the chance to actually feel they are being acknowledged. Just be sure to check these messages frequently. A company with software that provides helpful guidance to customer queries will in return receive customer loyalty and reliability.
Methods of Shopping and PaymentEPOS (Electronic points of Sales) systems have changed customer relations forever, with mobile phone technology becoming a major factor in this. Mobile apps such as Loyalli and Belly are replacing plastic loyalty cards to create greater convenience while reducing the likelihood of loss and damage. Other technological advancements enhancing shopping experiences include the use of self-service iPads in stores, which make for both a convenient and engaging form of customer service.
Making a payment is the next most important part of the customer/supplier relationship so making this an easy experience is vital. High street businesses provide electronic card payment systems while online sales carried out through credit/debit cards or the increasingly more common Paypal which assists customers so they don’t have to provide their bank details to a retailer directly. Paypal is instead a third party that handles all payment hassle.
What technology has most affected your customer service experiences? What kind of high-tech gadgets would like to see more/less of? Comment and have your say below.