Customer relationships Customer communication in the digital age
Digitization in companies is also having a noticeable impact on customer service departments. To ensure that response capabilities and efficiency in customer experience management can keep pace with the digital transformation, a growing number of channels and major changes must be taken into account.
Potential of chatbots and artificial intelligence
Chatbots will play a significant role in strategies for maintaining customer relationships. Companies and their customers are increasingly recognizing the benefits and potential of using artificial intelligence in this area. The fear that people will be replaced by machines is outweighed by the many advantages. These include the ability to categorize enquiries, retrieve information, solve simple problems and make life easier for everyone concerned. Human customer service employees are able to save time by using AI and are presented with a clear, problem-solving context. Chatbots are not intended to take over the entire dialogue and handle everything by automation. Instead, the aim is to handle 80 percent of recurring enquiries simply and rapidly.
Customer service via messaging apps
Customers will increasingly shift away from traditional channels, such as phone calls and e-mails, in favour of messaging apps. Free services such as WhatsApp have become hugely popular. These personal preferences have changed customer expectations, a trend that businesses are increasingly picking up on. For this reason, many companies have already incorporated messaging services into their customer relationship strategy. The significance of this channel will increase, which means that companies should prepare to develop a presence there.
Direct customer dialogue via online chat
Live chat and web chat technologies are the perfect tool if an online experience similar to that found in the high-street retail sector is to be created. Companies can use these tools to actively communicate with customers during the purchasing process, answer queries or even offer additional products. Live chat tools are more complicated and require more effort to manage than is the case with a messaging service. Facebook recently launched a customer chat service via Messenger. It provides customers with a live chat experience that goes beyond a website and which will also have a direct impact on the future of web chat services. However, it is still too early to assess this new channel accurately.
Accepting challenges and seizing opportunities
Digitization is not a trend that will suddenly vanish again. Those who embrace the changes will be able to harness their power effectively. Digitization presents major challenges, but also many opportunities.
New technologies do not just help companies acquire customers and win their loyalty. They also make it possible to involve customers in the development of products and services. The direct communication and interaction is advantageous to both sides. Customers feel that they are being included and given personal attention, while companies are able to gather direct feedback.
Looking to the future
The coming years will, without a doubt, be dominated by digital customer relationships. Statistics already show that the significance of phone calls as a contact channel is steadily dropping, while younger generations increasingly prefer the new digital channels. This means that if you want to be successful both now and in the future, you need to think about digitization. Digital technologies offer new opportunities to make existing customers happy, acquire new customers and save resources. The digital transformation makes it possible to involve customers at an early stage. This shifts their role from being pure consumers to being players who can help shape change.
If they do not digitize their communications, companies will lose touch with their customers in the long run.
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