Staying in touch is not difficult in today’s technology-driven, interconnected society.

The wealth of smart devices and innovative apps at our disposal mean that instant communication is at our fingertips, transforming the way we shop and engage with brands.

Businesses now offer their services across a variety of channels, online and offline. Mobile customers enjoy the convenience of e-commerce sites or doing their online banking via a smartphone. As a result, consumers expect their customer service to be mobile and on-demand too.

However, making your customer service available and accessible does not have to be technology-driven. Rather, by combining the power of your human customer service and digital channels, businesses can deliver a constantly-connected service which will exceed customer expectations and strengthen brand loyalty.

According to Engine’s latest annual Customer Experience report, over 60 percent of customers want ‘simpler, flexible, and more affordable customer service options’. Furthermore, 58 percent of consumers suggest that businesses should provide better ‘training and performance incentives to customer-facing staff’.

At the heart of great customer service is accessibility. Whether this is from a human customer service agent or an online FAQ or live chat, customers want quick, effective, and above all helpful responses to their queries. Indeed, Accenture’s recent Digital Consumer Survey emphasised the importance of brands’ merging physical and digital experiences in order to meet customer expectations.

Providing both human and digital customer service channels is a must for satisfying customers who want greater choice and flexibility. Whilst communication has become increasingly electronic in the past 20 years voice is still the most natural means of expression for human beings. 58 percent of consumers prefer talking with humans for a quick response to questions, and over 70 percent prefer human interaction generally when dealing with service issues.

The simplicity and ease of conveying information with voice makes it a valuable channel for brands who want to be close to their customers. Call agents can read the tone and varying emotions better through a customer’s voice, helping them to react appropriately and suggest the best resolutions. Furthermore, one-to-one interaction gives customers a more personalised experience, particularly when advisors understand the customer’s history.

Those who are less comfortable using technology might struggle if a business only offered virtual assistance. Connected customer service is about understanding each unique customer. By taking into account the varying customer groups, ages, and lifestyles, businesses can create a service which accommodates the needs of the individual. Consequently, the voice channel remains an imperative alongside other customer service touch points.

Digital channels are of course a crucial addition to the customer service experience. By providing consumers with a choice of touch points businesses can deliver a service which reflects busy, modern lifestyles. At the same time, digital channels help call agents to cope with the volume of service enquiries so that all customers receive an excellent service.

Individuals who work long hours might find it harder to call a customer service representative. This is where live chat capability such as chatbots or an automated call service are useful, allowing businesses to reach more customers at any time. Simple measures such as ensuring the brand website is constantly updated will also help customers to find the right information or contact details as needed.

With the latest omnichannel technology businesses can increase their reactivity and response time with queries. Live chats with pre-recorded functionalities, customer-journey maps and screen-sharing functions help agents to give customers an efficient, effective service whatever the volume of demand. The key to an effective digital customer service is having a state-of-the-art Customer Interaction Management (CIM) solution which can manage the various channels, supporting employees whilst giving customers an intuitive service.

Connected customer service also means taking a proactive approach. It is necessary for brands to make themselves as accessible as possible for customers which might involve contacting the customer first. Whether that is calling the customer from time to time or sending a personalised SMS detailing the latest offers or unique discounts, such interactions demonstrate that the brand values the customer and their loyalty. Customer service is far more than a helpline.

Customer service is inextricable from the overall brand experience and creating a tailored service which reaches out to the consumer will enhance relations.

 Businesses must deliver a flexible, constantly connected customer service to stand out with today’s mobile consumers. Staying in touch with customers, however, does not have to rely on digital means. The best customer service will take an omnichannel approach and utilise the empathy of human voice interaction with the convenience of digital channels. The priority should always be making excellent customer service as accessible possible, at any time and on any platform.

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