In 2021 digital support interactions are projected to increase by 40%, according to Forrester. As a result, customer support is evolving into an experience hub wholly enabled by digital transformation. Digital transformation refers to the adoption of digital technology to modernize business by automating manual processes, replacing outdated technology and optimizing customer experiences. But none of this is done in isolation. Companies striving to deliver digital-forward experiences are wholly reliant on customers to adopt a new interface or embrace a process change … all of which impacts the digital customer journey.
Today’s Digital Journey
Customers use connected devices in everything they do, from finding a local restaurant to making a purchase to disconnecting a service – plus all things in between. The complexity of what customers expect and what they demand in these activities has caused more than one business to pause and think. It’s no easy feat to stand up a technical infrastructure that delivers same-quality experience across an omnichannel footprint. Yet that what’s required in today’s digital customer experience. Digital experiences are the sum of all interactions a customer has with a brand across any digital interface – web, email, chat, social, app, video, messaging. This often is enabled through digital transformation initiatives that integrate digital technology into all areas of a business to fundamentally change how it operates and delivers value to customers.
A digital journey is the path each customer takes in their digital interactions with a company, from awareness of a given brand to purchase of a product to receiving customer support to deciding to renew. Creating value in every moment of a journey is achieved by ensuring customer goals are met at each step. Minimally a digital journey needs to be seamless, flexible and easy.
To deliver a unified, end-to-end customer experience, all digital and non-digital channels must be fully integrated. As straightforward as it sounds, many businesses struggle with at least part of this equation. One of the most common challenges is decentralized customer data, meaning there’s no single view of a customer across every aspect of the businesses. With different departments overseeing different parts of a customer’s journey, it’s difficult to capture and maintain data in a centralized warehouse. When this happens, the digital journey is disjointed and customers run into unexpected obstacles that drive both frustration and dissatisfaction.
The Role of Customer Support
Take a step back and look at a holistic view of the digital journey. Is the app easy to find? Is the knowledgebase current? Can customers do what they want to do regardless of channel? As heavily digitized as our daily lives have become, there’s still a need for the human touch. If a customer can’t find what they need on the website, they may move to chat. If that doesn’t work, the next step will likely be a call.
The role of customer support is evolving into a comprehensive engagement hub where customers are serviced by frontline agents across both digital and non-digital channels. Since everything is data-driven and machine learning optimizes outcomes over time, the role of the support agent also is changing. Agents are expected to quickly navigate complex user interfaces to make each contact a positive experience, regardless of where it originated. Historical views of the end-to-end customer journey is displayed on the agent desktop and relevant scripts are popped on the screen to help guide customer conversations. Audio and text data are pushed through speech and text software to mine data for useful insights. Agents rely on omnichannel views of what the customer did across each journey stage so next-best options can be proactively provided. All of which ensures a seamless, effortless customer experience.
Customer support now requires innovation and ingenuity, with re-designed hiring practices and updated agent desktops. Cloud-based systems and process automation have removed many of the manual processes that slowed down issue resolution and drove data inaccuracies. With contactless experiences emerging as a strategic objective, the role of each business process must be re-imagined. Connected customer journeys are driving the future, and digital technology is enabling that future to become a reality. All of this can only be achieved through a digital transformation lens that integrates people, tools and processes.
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