The way brands and retailers have traditionally handled customer service and support is in desperate need to improve quality, efficiency, access and availability of customer-desired solutions and outcomes. What’s more, organizations need this upgrade as well to increase efficiencies and decrease costs in their operations.
The ability to offer a self-service approach to consumers so that they can meet their needs through channels they naturally use provides the desired state for most organizations. However, consumers require a system that treats them as a unique individual; one with specific technical IQ, understanding of their behavioral pattern and demographic characteristics; one that considers their individual history and unique learning styles; and one which automates the process directly into the support workflow, allowing organizations more time to spend resolving complex issues or acquiring additional customers.
2017 will be the year of technology in customer service. More specifically, technology will have a major impact on the way retailers specifically interact and assist their customers. Messaging apps, artificial intelligence (AI) and self-service customer support options (e.g., interactive tutorials and adaptive guides) have drastically changed the way retailers interact with their customers.
Consumers are now more tech savvy and are embracing the shift toward a more digitized shopping experience and self-service support. Thanks to an increased demand for online customer service tools, more and more retailers are adding technology to their customer service strategy in order to make more digital materials available.
How Can Retailers Use This Technology?
Retailers often get “frequent” questions from their customers about the products they purchase. Rather than having all of those questions answered by a customer service agent, many retailers are considering providing self-service content powered by AI software into their support capabilities. Now, simple and frequently asked questions can be answered by accessing self-discoverable digital materials, or by talking with a chabot.
Brands like Macy’s have already integrated AI and self-service functions into their shopping experience. Macy’s version of an AI shopping assistant, “Macy’s on Call,” is available in 10 locations nationwide, according to Forbes. Through a browser on a mobile device, Macy’s on Call can answer shoppers’ questions about departments, help find items and assist with navigation through the store.
Why is This Technology Important?
Using as-a-service platforms, retailers are leveraging technology to build a self-learning, self-authoring and data-collection suite to enable all support roles, including the following:
- sales support with buyer education reinforcement;
- customer support with training optimization;
- technical support with predictive guidance; and
- executive support with modeled performance and business analytics.
This approach results in transformation through consistent reinforcement, customer engagement at scale and predictive metrics to manage behaviors that drive success. This type of platform represents a first-of-its-kind collection of support articles to enable consumer self-service, as well as support organizations’ automated resolution tooling, predictive consumer behavior frameworks and omnichannel support experience.
Retooling the Overall Customer Experience
AI and other self-service customer support features can enhance the shopping and customer service experiences for consumers. By introducing these technologies, retailers will provide their shoppers with quicker customer service response times, easier access to the answers they need and less friction when moving from online shopping and social pages to customer service offerings.
Digital customer service can provide the necessary reinforcements to regular customer service agents to make the process easier and more efficient. By taking care of simple tasks and routing more difficult ones to the appropriate customer service departments, technology-driven service is enhancing the engagements between brand and buyer, and increasing efficiency as well as cross-promotional possibilities for future sales.
Technology is a key player in this year’s shopping and customer service forecasted trends. Don’t settle for mediocre service options when there are plenty of ways to include digital offerings into your customer service and customer experience strategies.
James Ramey is CEO of DeviceBits, a software company that services clients through a predictive and personalized understanding of interactive tutorials, adaptive FAQs, interactive guides and videos designed to for self-serving consumers.