Part 1: The digitization of customer service

Inevitably, customer service interactions are becoming increasingly focused on digital channels. And this shift is becoming more profound as the number of digital channels proliferate. In order to adapt with the times, businesses must understand how this wave of digitization will impact the customer journey and their customer service strategy.
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Businesses are adopting digital channels for customer service.

When people refer to the “digitization of customer service,” it’s just a fancy way of saying that digital channels such as text, messaging apps and social media are where the action is shifting to for customer service. As consumers are becoming increasingly connected and reliant on multiple channels in their everyday lives, businesses are taking note and evolving how they communicate with their customers. At Nuance, we see the shift to digital accelerating, and with the digitization of customer service in full swing, disruption is the name of the game.

Companies that are well prepared to take advantage of and adapt to the customer service implications of digitization will be rewarded with lower operational costs and enhanced customer experiences. And clearly this has an impact on both margins and revenue, so it is an important disruption to manage effectively. Before businesses dive too deep into digitization, they must ensure their company is ready to embrace this transformation – especially in the contact center (we’ll get into that more later). One dramatic change businesses will need to address is how these digital channels impact the customer journey and the implications therein.

Traditionally, the customer journey for customer service can be generally characterized as follows: A customer first goes on the web via a computer or mobile device to solve their issue. If they can’t find a resolution on the web, they then call the IVR. If they strike out in the IVR, they subsequently go through a live agent – typically a voice call – which is the escalation path to getting a service inquiry finally resolved.

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But the shift to digital has made this journey much more convoluted. With the expansion of digital channels, the customer journey can begin and end in a dizzying variety of ways. For example, a customer may now go to Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to begin the attempt to resolve their query. Perhaps then moving to the IVR, and finally ending up talking with a live agent. The point is that with the large number of digital channels, customers can start on any channel and move freely to other channels as they attempt to resolve their service inquiry. Optimally of course, the goal is to contain and resolve the inquiry on the customer’s channel of choice, but this does not always happen, so companies need to be prepared to effectively manage multiple different touchpoints on a customer journey.

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The number of channels that businesses now have at their fingertips is only increasing. And more and more, we are seeing that consumers want, expect, and demand businesses to tap into those channels for business interactions. To address this trend, companies must accommodate new paths for the customer journey and meet consumers where they are. Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll detail the specific implications that digitization has on the contact center…


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James Mastan

About James Mastan

James Mastan is Director of Solutions Marketing in the Nuance Enterprise division, and has over twenty years of high-tech marketing experience. Previously, James held various marketing leadership positions at Microsoft and more recently founded and ran a marketing consulting company and a mobile application start-up company.