How Tech Can Play A Pivotal Role In Customer Care
The traditional customer services has been redefined and now evolved from primarily offering post-sales support care to delivering services from a plethora of added features such as call centres, social media platforms, retail points etc. Technology has been the main driving force behind the shift in the role of customer services and has been an essential tool in the giving customers the convenience of choosing their preferred time and offering them the chance of availing from myriad platforms that cater to specific needs. This in turn has had helped companies to provide their services in a more efficient manner with reduced costs to cater to consumer needs.
Technology has also provided essential insights into consumer lifestyle which has impacted corporate strategies from being reactive to becoming proactive and offering individualized care. Automation of customer lifecycle processes has reduced the variability of touch points, increased speed of resolutions and improved quality of delivery.
Since technology is capable of providing data on customer needs and competitive landscapes through ‘listening posts’ and feedback loops, it increases the flexibility for businesses to alter their ongoing strategies with quick mid-course corrections and align their business needs based on the feedback they are given on customer reactions saving them time as well as resources.
A few examples of automation at touch points:
- Face to Face interactions: Aid in managing queues and providing self-help at various walk-in points
o Token Management System & Kiosks have been deployed for some time by various service industries such as banking, airline and telecom. Kiosks have evolved into one-stop shop that provide customers with the convenience of self-navigation, login of tickets and even offer video chat terminals that connects customers with agents as well as fulfillment terminals (payment acceptance/cash disbursement ,etc ). Retailers too are being provided automated tools – CRM/ Retailer partners for Ticket logging or Query management at their walkin counters.
- Self Help platforms : Self Help platforms have evolved over different channels:
o IVRS – Interactive Voice Response system is used to help consumers get information on various products & services , log in tickets for support/complaints, fulfillment of some services like payments and order fulfillment (Recharging/Topups, etc ). While earlier the telephonic dial tone (DTMF code) was used as input commands for IVRS, new technology developments are around natural voice recognition systems.
o SMS or USSD Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (similar to SMS with the key difference being that it is session specific unlike SMS which is store and forward) - With mobile phones becoming ubiquitous, use of pull based short code SMS /USSD has been extensively used by various service companies to provide information, logging of tickets, setting up alerts, reminders or call backs.
o Web - Self Service on internet using PC/ Mobile is becoming increasingly popular and needs no elaboration. Mobile APP’s has added an advanced layer of convenience to all service/product companies and users.
- Contact Center : To provide for an efficient human interface for telephonic customer support – Contact Center have been enabled with multiple technological developments
o ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) – This distributes incoming calls to an appropriate agent matching the skill set with the customer’s selection, profile or preference.
o Computer Telephony Integration, or CTI allows interactions on telephones and computers to be integrated or coordinated so that all customers information can be made available to an agent as soon as the call lands on his desk & also when the agent transfers the call from one desk to another- ensuring that customer does not have to repeat earlier information provided.
o Call /Screen recording systems for each call – Helps in maintaining quality of service delivery & listening to customer feedbacks/voice on key products/services
- Social Media platforms: Consumers are increasingly using Social media platforms to engage in peer to peer communication or for broader articulation of their concerns & viewpoints. Technologies of Web scrolling helps in engaging with these consumers & providing direct solutions in peer to peer resolution.
- Customer Interaction Management at Touchpoints: CRM as a technology has developed to a very advanced level to capture Customer Interaction from all touch points in a single repository. All touch point interactions & customer lifecycle processes ‘both inbound & outbound, are connected to a single platform to bring an omni-channel service experience to a customer. Data Analytic tools applied here bring insights that help in targeting customers that display falling usage or repeat complaints & allows business to take proactive steps to address their issues, if any.
o For handling routine back office customer requests, robotics is being deployed for making processing faster & error proof. Scanners and Bar Code readers are now used to improve bill payment accuracy as well as improve onboarding cycletime.
· Customer Feedback & Listening systems: Collecting customer feedback at different lifecycle stages through Automated Response back mechanisms on sms, web, ivrs, live call barge-in systems and through Data analytics tools giving crucial management insights on the health of product and services that are delivered in a market and help in bridging customer expectation gaps.
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