How Technology Changes the Way Businesses Communicate with Customers
A decade ago, communication with customers was limited to phone calls, letters, and emails. Today, with the rise of AI, VoIP, IM tools, and social networks, interactions with customers have become faster, data-backed, and highly personalized.
We are facing a digitalization process that is evolving faster and faster, caused by the rise of technologies ever more refined and, at the same time, by a change in the behavior of customers.
Furthermore, this process is going faster and faster, pushed by the coronavirus pandemic, a crisis that have forced users to interact with tools and digital platforms like, for example, e-commerce.
Here are a few examples of how technology impacts the way your business communicates with customers.
From developing integrations to strategic support, from creating creative concepts to optimizing results.
Chatbots Reduce the Need for Human Intervention in Customer Service
Statistics say that 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative. Self-service options on your digital channels allow your customers to find answers to their questions on their own.
Along with traditional self-service features, AI is expected to become the customers’ first choice in the future. Gartner predicts that, by 2030, a billion service tickets will be raised automatically by bots.
The greatest benefit of chatbots is immediacy. They can provide your customers with real-time customer service, regardless of their location and time zone. Alternatively, chatbots can also help you:
- Provide personalized user experiences. For example, Sephora’s Messenger bot acts as a powerful shopping assistant. It uses AI to help customers try on different makeup products before making a shopping decision.
- Increase sales: some messenger bot can hel you booking a service, as, for example, Lyft’s bot on Messenger, Slack, or Amazon Echo which allow customers to order a ride.
- Answer simple customer tickets: if a customer wants to learn how to restart a password, there is no need to connect them with your human agents. Let your chatbot help them solve minor issues and get faster feedback. Mastercard, for example, lets customers check their transactions directly from their Messenger bot rather than calling their support team or sending emails.
- Collect customer feedback. By using chatbots, you could create one-question surveys for your website visitors to learn more about their satisfaction with your website. Or, if a customer has just left their shopping cart, a bot could ask them what discouraged them from making a purchase.
However, this does not mean AI chatbots will replace human customer service representatives. They will only improve them. In other words, chatbots will automate many repetitive tasks, allowing your customer support team to focus more on more complex customer inquiries. No matter how intelligent they might become, chatbots do not have the feeling of empathy, which is critical for building strong customer relationships and communicating brand values.
AI-Driven Call Centers Eliminate the Gap between Online and Offline Customer Service
With the rise of new technologies, such as video calls, IM tools, or artificial intelligence, the idea of the traditional call center has also changed. Modern business phone systems are delivered over the internet and, therefore, provide your call center with greater flexibility. Apart from conventional call center features, such as call forwarding or hold music, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions also offer some benefits:
- Greater mobility. Call center agents can answer customer inquiries from multiple devices and locations. They are no longer limited to traditional office spaces and on-premise call center equipment.
- Call recording. Since the VoIP tool will automatically record the call, call center reps do not need to make notes while talking to customers anymore. Knowing that they can analyze the call transcript later, employees will be able to relax and focus on providing customers with better feedback.
- AI-driven call analytics. Many VoIP providers use AI to measure customer engagement rates and customer satisfaction rates. Based on this data, they will route customers to the agents that are best suited to solve their problems.
- CRM integrations. The best thing about phone services delivered over the internet is that they integrate with a CRM system. The customer data you collect will be directly sent to the CRM tool. CRM will either create profiles for new customers or merge this data with their existing profiles.
- Real-time assistance. Once a customer calls your customer support team, the VoIP tool will pull their data from CRM and send it to your agent. Knowing who they are talking to, call center reps will answer phone calls more confidently.
Social Networks Have Become a Standard Customer Service Channel
Most of your customers are on social networks. They use those channels to find new products, communicate with businesses in real-time, share experiences with different brands, and ask for help. For companies, social networks are the opportunity to humanize their online presence and build stronger relationships with customers.
Here is how to use social networks for customer support:
When chatting with your brand on social networks, customers expect you to respond within 60 minutes. Moreover, the Sprout Social survey found that 50% of customers would boycott a brand due to poor service on social.
Therefore, if you still use native Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter apps to communicate with customers, it is time to rethink your decisions. Instead of wasting time switching between these apps, you can merge them into a smart social media inbox.
Social media monitoring
With social media management tools, such as Sprout Social, Social Mention, or Hootsuite, you can track mentions of your brand, products, or relevant keywords in real-time. That way, you will be able to collect customer feedback and be able to evaluate customer sentiment.
Triggering FOMO with Social Proof
Social proof is a phenomenon that individuals conform to the opinions of larger groups of people. When used in your social media marketing strategy, it could build trust with your audiences and give you credibility.
For example, you could encourage customers to rate and review your products on social networks. Seeing that people similar to them are buying from you, your prospective customers will make buying decisions faster.
You could also share customer testimonials. Always include customers’ photos and names or create testimonial videos to humanize their statements.
Personalized Email Marketing and Customer Support
Email is still the backbone of your digital presence. It serves as a powerful marketing, sales, and customer support channel. That way, it helps you engage your leads, turn them into paying customers, and build long-term relationships with them.
However, sending generic emails will not help you boost conversions and encourage brand advocacy. To get the most out of this channel, you need to focus on providing highly personalized user experiences.
What does that mean?
Remember that your customers have different needs, preferences, and problems. Therefore, sending the same content and promotions to all leads on your newsletter list is not enough. To encourage them to open your emails and take action, you need to segment your email lists and customize your communications.
For example, you could segment your target audience based on their location, gender, age, past purchases, buying frequency, or content preferences. Adidas segments audiences based on their gender. Amazon, on the other hand, focuses on your purchase history. It asks customers to review the products they purchased, as well as provides relevant product recommendations.
By using Email Marketing platforms such as MailUp, you can segment your contacts for relevant Email Marketing campaigns. You can create customized emails with an efficient design in few steps with the help of the drag&drop editor BEE.
MailUp gives you also the chance to use a Predictive Marketing tool such as Datatrics, in order to increase conversions, brand loyalty and customer experience.
AI-backed email support
Sentiment analysis can give your email support an immense boost. AI-driven email tools will read customer emails and analyze their issues, intent, emotions, and previous touchpoints with your brand. Next, they tag the message and automatically point it to the customer support agent that is best suited to resolve the problem.
Apart from saving your customers’ time, this process will also help your customer service agents. For example, new reps can handle simpler customer service inquiries, while experienced staff will resolve more complex and challenging tickets.
Managing hundreds of customer support tickets in a cluttered email software can be challenging. To save your agents’ time and provide customers with faster feedback, consider using automated responses. With a Marketing Automation platform such as MailUp, your customer service reps do not need to write emails from scratch or copy and paste them. They can create templates for the most common customer inquiries and use them to provide faster feedback.
Augmented Reality Engages Customers and Eliminates Uncertainty
When buying online, shoppers often face fear and uncertainty. That is natural, given that they cannot feel, touch, or see your products. To build trust with them and encourage them to buy from you, consider using augmented reality.
With AR, you will engage customers and boost their excitement. It gives your customers a chance to visualize products and purchase them confidently. Most importantly, AR can be applied to numerous industries. With it, you can create virtual real estate tours, augmented fitting rooms, paint color visualizers, digital test drives, and so forth.
Many brands leverage the power of AR. For example, with IKEA Places, a customer can take a photo of their room and then place a 3D piece of furniture there. That way, they can visualize their desired product and make wiser buying decisions.
Technology has changed the way brands communicate with customers on so many levels.
The tech tools as MailUp platform and tactics mentioned above will help you automate repetitive customer inquiries and provide faster customer support. Above all, you will be able to personalize customer experiences, build trust with your target audience, and inspire brand loyalty.