The digital landscape is constantly changing. Accordingly, customers’ expectations of companies are also in constant flux. In order to serve the increasingly relevant area of digital customer service as effectively as possible, it is important to know these needs. A new study investigates the changes in 2018 in comparison to the previous year.
“State of Digital Care in 2018” is the title of the representative study for which the British-American company, Conversocial, asked 2,000 customers from all sectors of society about their experiences and expectations related to digital customer service. The results clearly show that these have not drastically changed when compared to 2017, but there is definitely room for improvement. This is exactly the opportunity for companies to strengthen their customer retention as part of their digital strategies.
The customer expects more
According to the study, 2017 was the year in which digital customer service was consolidated. It was no longer an additional dimension, but rather an important, independent area in dealing with the customer. Nothing there has changed. However, the increasingly mobile interconnection, together with the ever-greater focus on solutions that are as quick and straightforward as possible, will lead to a need for improvement in many areas in 2018. Roughly 81 percent of those interviewed said that their expectations of the service via digital channels have risen in comparison to the previous year. Although 54 percent were happy with the current service, only 7 percent said it exceeds expectations. The following figure shows that the importance of digital service solutions for customer loyalty to a company or brand has increased tremendously: 57 percent of the interviewees stated that they lose interest in a company if they do not receive adequate digital service.
Results like these clearly show that there is not only a need for improvement, but also that there are substantial opportunities for customer retention. Even so, 63 percent of respondents stated that positive experiences with digital customer services are “very important” for their brand loyalty, whereas only 5 percent of respondents said this is “not important” for them. This therefore has consequences on profitability: More than half of those asked confirmed that they are “very likely” to choose a certain brand a second time if the digital service is adequate.
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The human factor
It is thus necessary to strengthen these evidently very important areas of customer communication. So what exactly could this look like? In order to get an answer, the study first looks at the specific factors that directly influence customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. One important aspect is the effort that must be conducted within the digital interaction. 67 percent said that it meant “some effort” on their part to become successful in this area. 12 percent complained that it is “too much effort”. Furthermore, it is important that an issue is solved within a single interaction – 38 percent emphasized this point. Despite automatization, the human factor still plays a fundamental role: 59 percent of respondents deem having a personal point of contact as “very important”, compared to only 6 percent who consider this “not important.” Evidently, there is an immanent distrust towards AI and chatbot solutions.
Integration and analysis
What does this now mean for strategies of the future? The key to a successful and improved digital customer service initially lies in the understanding that this will open up very great opportunities for customer retention. Expectations are rising and only those companies that manage to not only meet these expectations, but also surpass them, will benefit from increased customer retention. For this reason, it is important to always be up to date with help from CSAT Analysis (CSAT: Customer Satisfaction), for example, and to know the exact needs of the customers. Furthermore, it is helpful to advance the connection of the digital service with all other aspects of the company with the aid of CRM integration. Therefore, it is possible to monitor the customer journey of each individual customer much more individually.
Because customers are now connected at all times, it is becoming increasingly more important to deal with customer queries within a very short space of time: 37 percent of respondents said they expect an answer in less than half an hour. It is not advisable to exclusively resort to automated AI or bot solutions when processing queries quickly and as conveniently as possible. The importance of the human factor requires these tools to be integrated into personal customer service. Creativity and connection are also in demand here, for example in the seamless handover from bot to advisor. Whoever has an optimal workflow has the best chance of satisfying the customer’s desire for “real-time responses.”
Although the digital landscape in the field of customer service may not have drastically changed since 2017, there are still many set screws to which companies can turn. It’s worth the effort!