We often hear that we are living in the fourth industrial revolution and many of us wonder what exactly this means.

While it may seem extreme to some, when we analyse the new technologies that are now starting to fuse the physical, digital and biological worlds, it would be foolish to consider this moment in history as anything other than a fourth industrial revolution.

Living in an Online World

The previous three industrial revolutions brought us the age of mechanical reproduction, the age of science and mass production and the digital revolution, with each of these having a significant impact on human progress. We now find ourselves at an interesting moment in human history, the digital age is still well and truly underway and, the continuation of this, in the form of the fourth industrial revolution, is beginning to make its impact on the world. What we do know, based on the digital revolution, is that when technology is involved, the way we live, work and relate to one another is about to change drastically.

When it comes to how we conduct business, we have all seen the changes that have come about as a direct result of the digital age over the last three decades. However, while we kept hearing that everything would change as services moved online, one thing that has remained an ever-constant is the importance of a company’s staff and customer support. It may seem to be direct opposition to the fact that more and more people want to use self-services websites and applications, however, even this has not curtailed the value individuals place on customer support.

Why Does Customer Support Still Matter?

There are a few important aspects to keep in mind when it comes to customer support in the modern age. Yes, it it is true that a growing number of people want to be able do the majority of things online by themselves without interference but there are also a number of important details to take into account upon learning this information.

People are different and so naturally, they have different needs and wants. These needs change on both a person-by-person basis and also depending on the service required. For starters, it is clear that individuals like to communicate via different mediums. If you are a business with an online presence, you need to ensure that you don’t alienate certain people because you don’t offer the line of communication that they find preferential. So, it is advisable to have the option to provide customer service via phone, email and live chat in order to cater for the needs and wants of your potential customer base.

In addition, the same customer’s opinion on the importance of customer support will change depending on the service they are using or the product they are considering purchasing. This change in opinion can depend on how long a potential contract is, how familiar they are with the service and/or product, if it concerns a business they own and on how expensive it will be.

In conclusion, while many individuals want autonomy in the online world, you will still be hard pushed to find anyone who doesn’t appreciate swift and professional customer support in the event that they need it. It is how these moments of need are dealt with that you will often find the difference between a lifelong customer who recommends a service or product to their friends and a once off customer.

A Case in Point

For the purpose of this article, will use the money transfer industry as a case study in order to further examine something that the top 10 money transfer companies in the UK know better than most, customer service and customer support agents still matter in an online world…

Customer Support and the Money Transfer Industry

So, if we are going to talk about the money transfer industry, there is no better place to start than with TransferWise. TransferWise is a money transfer company that specializes in international money transfers. TransferWise was launched in 2011 and like a large proportion of start-ups, it was born as a result of a problem its founders were experiencing. The company was created by two Estonian friends, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, who were sick of how much it cost to transfer money between Estonia and the United Kingdom.

TransferWise has gone on to become one of the biggest players in the money transfer industry and ultimately, this is in large part due to solving the issue that inspired its creation, it offers clients the tightest margins. In order to get into a position to fulfill this promise and succeed, they were also lucky enough to receive early funding from by PayPal’s founder, Peter Thiel. Furthermore, TransferWise subsequently received financial backing from Richard Branson, the world famous entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group. As soon as two investors as respected as this choose to invest in a fintech company, it goes without saying that people sit up and take notice.

TransferWise didn’t just rely on this the attention that naturally came with investors of this nature, they also should be praised for their inventive advertising campaigns, including one particular advertising stunt which saw hundreds of people strip down to their underwear in front of famous London landmarks in ode to TransferWise’s commitment to transparency.

How a Hands-On Approach Still Makes a Difference

Despite TransferWise offering the tightest margins, other money transfer companies such as Moneycorp, Currencies Direct and OFX have managed to thrive and, the reason at the heart of their success? Well, you guessed it, customer support…

In comparison to to TransferWise, these companies are smaller and therefore take a slightly different approach. Overall, they are more focused on Small and Mid-size Enterprises (SMEs) than on individuals and, when it does come to individuals, they are more focused on high value transfers.

As discussed in the introduction of this article, individuals are more likely to be concerned about customer service if they plan on making a high value transfer. When it comes to companies such as Moneycorp, Currencies Direct and OFX, customer support is their main selling point and they do everything they can to ensure that their clients feel comfortable.

In order to do this, each client is provided with a dedicated account dealer who they can reach 24/7 via email or phone. The dedicated account dealer in question is there to answer any and all questions that a client may have. This type of service is ideal for those of us who are not comfortable with dealing with every aspect of a money transfer online.

In addition to this, the account dealer will also offer specific guidance on the optimal timing to make a transfer. For example, based on their knowledge of the market, they may suggest that the company’s economists predict that the pound sterling will decline over the next month and recommend to the client to make their transfer as soon as possible in order to get the best deal.

Some Things Never Change

So despite the exponential growth of technology playing an ever increasing role in our lives, it is not going to eradicate the need and/or importance of the human touch when it comes to customer support.

People still appreciate human interaction even if it does come via email or the phone, and the money transfer industry is the perfect example of this.

We guess it is true when they say that some things never change…

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