Building Your Digital Customer Service Strategy

With the rise in popularity by customers of doing their shopping online, the way businesses provide their customer services has changed. We discuss what digital customer service is and how to create a strategy for it which works for your business.

What is Digital Customer Service?

Digital customer service refers to the support your business gives a customer through digital channels, rather than via the phone or in person. Digital tools used to do this include website forms, chat boxes, apps, social media, email, texts, voice calls, AI, Bots, screenshares and video chats. 

Many businesses find that the only contact they have with a customer is through digital channels, which does require different tools and techniques to provide the same or better levels of customer service they do in person. Customers are also showing an increase in wanting to communicate with businesses digitally, especially using message apps and texts. Having a comprehensive strategy in place for all employees to follow ensures that you can meet your customers' needs and expectations. It also helps to grow brand loyalty, encourage positive word of mouth referrals and increase conversions and sales.

Also for digital customer service, the experience a customer receives is very important and is based upon four key principles:

  • competency - this refers to the staff who are providing the customer service. They need to have strong knowledge about the business and products, and the ability to know how to fix any problems that occur. They also need to be competent users of the digital technologies that that are being used and able to help a customer to use it successfully too.
  • personalised - how can you provide a personalised service to a customer using a digital medium? 
  • proactive - can your business be proactive and reach out to customers via digital mediums?
  • convenient - are the digital mediums you provide easily accessible to and convenient for customers? Are you allocating time appropriately and supporting the most popular medium choices the most?

Keeping these in mind, let's move on to creating a strategy which works for your business. 

Creating a Digital Customer Service Strategy

A digital customer service strategy refers to a documented plan of the support your business will offer customers through digital mediums. Your business most likely has key customer service aspects it already addresses, such as the after sales support, how to address customers, ways to manage confrontation, complaints procedure and ways a customer has to reach your business. A digital strategy will most likely include these key aspects, plus others which are pertinent to the digital world only.

When creating your strategy, take time to consider:

  • customer journey - what is the experience a customer has when using your digital services, such as website, email, text or chat apps? What is the path they take to get access to 'a real life person?' What are your customers looking for and which digital channels do they prefer to use to reach you?
  • technology required - what types of technologies are required for your business to effectively engage with your customers? Are your staff trained in how to use these? Could you implement self service tools or AI Bots to manage the early levels of customer engagement and meet simple expectations before moving to team members?
  • measuring success - what tools and metrics will you use to measure your customer service successes? What are your customer service goals? How will you know that you have met them?
  • availability - will there be specific hours of work that customers can reach a representative of your business? Will you engage the services of an outside contractor to help you do this? How can customers leave messages afterhours and in what timeframe will they be followed up in?
  • compliment and complaint processes - how will customers be able to share compliments and complaints digitally? What are the steps your business will take to address these? How will this be done digitally? 

Where to next? Sit down and identify how you want your digital customer service to look and function like, the resources you have and the ones you need to get, plus any training that is required. As with any business process, it can take trial and error to achieve success, so be prepared to make changes and reassess things as they go.

For further helpful business advice, please read our Business News articles.

Posted: Wednesday 4 August 2021

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