Until recently, customer service was viewed as a menial and time-consuming task that businesses needed to check-off, and not much emphasis or attention to detail was placed on this service. In fact, many business owners viewed customer service as a chore, and rarely checked in on the department for feedback or updates. But times have changed and with access to instant information via the world wide web, customers are now able to self-educate and research before they make a choice regarding a service provider, and they expect instant communication with a possible service provider at the click of a button.
As we have moved into the digital transformation era, and the customer is more empowered than ever before, business owners have had to re strategize their customer service tactics as they acknowledge that customer service is not simply a way to provide a better end-to-end customer experience, it is a valuable business asset for long-term success.
Today, business owners and managers need to understand the importance of creating “customer centric” strategies across their marketing, sales and service departments if they want to convert leads into customers, retain customers and create long-lasting brand loyalty. We live in the age of digital transformation and the customer has gone through the biggest transformation yet. Ensuring customers come first is not just a priority, it is a way for a business to stay ahead of the competition and gain long-term success.
How to Transform the Customer Experience in the Digital Era
1. Understand your Customer Expectations
As stated previously, customer expectation has grown with the rise of instant communication and accessibility to online information. In fact, according to a Zendesk Study, 59% of customer service agents state that customer expectations are higher than ever before.
Customer expectations continue to rise because with each passing day and every Google search they are becoming more informed about your offerings and on top of this, they expect instant gratification when it comes to communication and service delivery. This may seem overwhelming and frustrating for business owners but this information can be something positive when used strategically.
You see, the more informed a client is, the more engaged with your brand they become - they will interact with your brand via social media, respond to emails, and when they do contact you - you will immediately know that they are a high quality lead. If you provide great service, they will become loyal to your brand and pass your details on to their friends, family and online communities. Essentially, if you provide informed clients with a great service, they become brand ambassadors for your business. But in order to create loyal brand ambassadors through customer service, your customer service must be a part of your customers entire buying experience.
2. Customer Service must be a part of the entire buying experience
Customer service is not just about what happens at the point-of-sale. This may have been what it was like in the past, but the customer is now doing research and making a variety of decisions before they even decide to contact a business, let alone make a purchase. According to a Google - Ipsos Retail Study, 52% of consumers do online research before purchasing to make sure they are making the correct decision. This study took place in 2019 - and this number is consistently on the rise.
For the modern consumer, making the right decision is vital and this is why you need to provide them with the correct information and messaging at every stage of the buying process and across all possible channels - from your website, blog posts, social media and emailers. With this in mind, businesses need to focus their efforts on 3 specific areas: multi-channel presence (marketing), customer service in sales, and the overall customer experience before, during and after a purchase.
This is why Customer Relationship Management systems such as HubSpot are on the rise. HubSpot aligns your marketing, sales and services teams to ensure the same message is being shared through every stage of the buying cycle and this message is based on a specific lead's needs - personalisation, automation, and departmental alignment is key.
3. Elevate the customer experience at every touchpoint
With the rise of social media and digital channels, consumers are more inclined to share their brand experiences online, expect instant communication whenever they require support and want more control over the buying journey. This means that consumer behaviour is multi-channel as they move through various touch points throughout the purchase journey - from search engines and websites through to social media pages and emails. This means that you need to make your business available to the consumer and give them the opportunity to take quick actions at any moment.
Brands need to be aware of the consumers' need for instant gratification and this means that customer service teams need to be available at all times. But how is this possible? Automation is the way forward, from AI and machine learning chatbots to social media managers, email automation, data collection and streamlined processes of communication. By investing in tools that allow for this level of automation, you elevate your customer experience and ensure they receive the attention and service they deserve at every touchpoint - from your website through to your social media platforms and beyond.
Again, a Customer Relationship Management software such as HubSpot is able to provide this level of customer service. With website chatbots and email automation to lead data collection to ensure your service teams are aware of every interaction a lead has with your brand.
If you delight the customer at every touch point, you are sure to win their business and they will soon become a loyal brand ambassador for your business.
4. Real-time Customer Service
As touched on above, today’s consumer expects instant communication at any given time. Providing a form of customer service on your website, from helpful content, e-books and videos to machine-learning chatbots, is a powerful way to answer your consumers questions at any given hour.
By offering valuable self-service solutions (mentioned above), your customers become more empowered. If you provide them with intelligent chatbots, on-site communities, dynamic and engaging FAQs and personalised help widgets, you are giving the consumer “knowledge base” tools that build trust.
With more and more digital tools becoming available to personalise and automate the entire customer service journey in real-time, it is becoming easier to shut the gap between a business and their consumers, which will lead to more meaningful and long-lasting customer relationships.
5. Customer service must place emphasis on building relationships with customers
As stated previously, alignment is key to business success and customer service does not just lie with your customer services team. Building and nurturing customer relationships need to be shared across every team within the organisation, particularly marketing, sales and service. By having a shared goal, your brand will drive loyalty at every part of the buying journey. This hands on approach ensures a more personalised and streamlined customer experience as they move from one phase of the cycle to the next.
The best way to generate lead and customer data between marketing, sales and service is to integrate your marketing, sales and service software in a single location. This kind of integration benefits all teams by storing valuable data and lead information in one place - allowing room for improved results. By connecting both teams through a powerful Customer Relationship Management software such as HubSpot, both teams can view the entire lifecycle of a visitor as they become a customer.
Remember, by integrating and aligning your teams, you are able to position your brand as an industry thought-leader, one that is available to educate, advise and help clients through every stage of the buying process. And this is what customer service is all about - this is how you reach the expectations of your consumer and build loyal brand ambassadors.
Today, it is important we understand the consumer and tailor our services to suit their needs and expectations. When a business delivers great customer service throughout the buying cycle, they are sure to build loyalty that goes beyond a single purchase.
In order to find success in the services transformation world, businesses need to invest in systems that allow for team alignment, automation, and data collection so that all teams can monitor their marketing, sales and service success - as a unit.
From implementing the HubSpot CMS and CRM systems to training your teams, we transform organisations with the inbound methodology and we adapt HubSpot to suit your business goals (no matter business size or industry.) Whether your focus is generating leads, accelerating sales or developing a powerful customer service strategy to provide a personalised customer experience, we offer the complete range of digital transformation services to meet your needs.
Together, we build your custom marketing transformation solution.
Contact Nexa today for all your digital transformation needs.