How has digital technology impacted the customer service experience?

Digital technology has positively impacted the customer service experience in four key ways:

These often include:

  • It’s removed friction from customer journeys
  • It’s made it easier for customers to get the information they need
  • It’s reduced the time it takes for customers to get a resolution to their issues
  • It’s enabled holistic, digital omnichannel customer experience

When businesses use customer service and customer experience digital technologies as part of their digital transformation strategy, they can realize huge benefits. 

Taken all together, today’s CX technologies make it easier for businesses to connect with customers across a wide range of channels, collect data on customer preferences and behavior (and use it to enrich experiences), and reduce costs to serve. 

Want to find out more about how CX technology can improve customer satisfaction? Check out our CX technology solutions page.

1

What is the role of technology in customer service and customer experience?

Customer service and customer experience are strongly related but different in some crucial ways—therefore the role technology places in both is slightly different.

What is customer service?

The term ‘customer service’ is defined as the ways your business helps customers before, during, and after a purchase. 

Traditional customer service is performed by human service agents either in person, on the phone, or via email.

How has technology impacted customer service?

Digital technology has increased the reach of customer service, allowing businesses to connect with their audience through a wider range of channels. These include: mobile apps, SMS texts, social media channels, chatbots, and even video calls where necessary. 

The biggest technological impact on customer service has been customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM platforms are used to manage each service interaction with both current and potential customers. 

CRM powerhouse Salesforce describes a CRM system as one that “helps organizations build customer relationships and streamline processes so they can increase sales, improve customer service, and increase profitability.”

What is customer experience?

The term customer experience (CX) covers all the ways a customer connects/interacts with your business. 

This means all the interactions at every stage of a customer’s journey—from the moment they first encounter your marketing materials, their experience of moving through your sales funnel, the purchase process itself, and the support they receive post-sale. 

In this way, we can say that while all customer service is part of CX, not all parts of CX are customer service.

2

How are advancements in technology transforming the holistic customer experience?

Digital technology advancements have transformed holistic customer experiences by making them more comprehensive, more connected, and more focused on customer benefits. 

But it’s crucial that these technologies are tied to an overarching digital transformation strategy.

What is a holistic customer experience?

Holistic customer experiences span the entire customer journey (from initial contact marketing materials to after-purchase support). Holistic customer experiences are only effective when they provide comprehensive and consistent support at each and every touchpoint. 

There are five pillars of holistic customer experience:

  • Customer intimacy–knowing your customers’ needs, motivations, and pain points so you can cater to them.
  • Personalization–great customer experiences are not generic. In fact, 76% of customers now say they get annoyed when they are served with offers that are not personalized, according to research from McKinsey and Company.
  • Customer empowerment–customers want the ability to solve problems quickly, e.g. through the use of chatbots or self-service options.
  • Consistent experiences–customers want to feel like they’re communicating with a single company, not a series of disconnected or “siloed” departments.
  • Great employee experiences–ensuring your employees enjoy their work and have everything they need to provide customers with great experiences.

Learn more about CX best practices via our solutions page.

What are the key benefits of digital technology on holistic customer experience?

Data collection improves customer experience

Data is the fuel that powers a positive digital customer experience—but only if it can be easily collected, accessed, and used to create value. 

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are a crucial piece of digital technology that help improve customer experience. A CDP is a software package that pulls data from multiple sources, and then creates a unified database of customer information which is then accessible to other applications, systems, and programs.

This allows businesses to effectively capture data and ensure they’re able to consistently capture it in the volumes needed to make it meaningful.

This lays the foundation for segmentation and activation of customer data, which then in turn allows businesses to improve CX through personalization.

Analytics improve decision-making and customer experience design

With the right technology choices, businesses will be able to connect siloed data sources and increase data accessibility. This enables teams across the organization to make data-driven strategic decisions that boost CX. 

When you enable decision-making based on your freshest data, you can also effectively measure the efficacy of your CX programs. This insight allows businesses to design, redesign, and optimize the experience they offer to improve customer outcomes.

Enjoy a multichannel customer experience

When data is able to flow securely between departments, it enables businesses to not only offer customer connected interactions across multiple channels (at brick-and-mortar stores, through an online shop, via chatbot, on the phone, or over email) but also to ensure they’re consistent and productive interactions.

Customers want each touchpoint, regardless of the channel, to feel like a continuation of a single conversation. In fact, 75% of consumers expect consistent interactions across department communications, according to research from Salesforce

Want to dive deeper? Check out our guide on how digital technology is used to manage customer experience.

3

How can we best use emerging technologies to improve customer experience?

Emerging technologies can improve customer experience by giving businesses a better understanding of customers, by increasing connectivity, and by empowering customers through better use of self-service.

As we explore in detail our digital CX trends for 2023 and beyond, there are many ways technology can be used to enhance customer experience and customer engagement. For example, the metaverse is opening the door to greater use of augmented reality and virtual reality, Web 3.0 is revolutionizing data security, and machine learning is changing the face of automation.

Some of these will feel like future concerns, but there are two digital technologies that can help make immediate improvements to CX: the cloud and chatbots.

4

Using cloud technologies to improve customer experience

Using the cloud can help businesses improve CX by connecting touchpoints on a customer journey and enabling better use of data to personalize the interaction. 

The result of these increased capabilities is improved human connections between businesses and their customers. Below, we break down the key ways cloud technology helps deepen these connections.

Improves decision making
Enables new operating models
Improves business resilience
Creating a seamless customer experience
Better use of resources

A cloud-based CX strategy empowers businesses to connect a series of different data sources and allows them to process, analyze, and use data much faster. 

This data processing speed enables businesses to stay up-to-date with customer trends and changing behaviors and allows them to keep pace with changing customer expectations.

The increased connection offered by cloud technologies enables the effective use of operating models such as smartshoring and hybrid working. 

Hybrid working has rapidly become the norm for call center agents. In 2021, 87% of call center agents worked from home compared with 19% in 2019, according to research from SQM

The cloud is a crucial enabler of operating and business models such as this. First, in giving decentralized teams access to data, and secondly in keeping data secure. 

At Ubiquity, through the use of cloud security, we are able to ensure all our cloud-hosted data and system volumes are encrypted, that all connections to the “Workspaces” environment are encrypted in transit, and that compliance with PCI and HIPAA is maintained. 

Check out our work-from-home solutions page for more on this.

By enabling decentralized working, the cloud can help improve business resilience. 

For example, BPO service providers with a cloud-based customer experience strategy during the pandemic could rapidly shift the focus of their operations to different geographical locations to ensure continuity of service. 

In fact, our cloud technology solutions were a key element that helped us win a “most resilient partnership” award during the pandemic.

Cloud technologies are used to create a seamless customer experience by enabling the integration of different customer-facing applications.

This includes call center logs, social media interactions, data from customer relationship management software, customer feedback channels, and interactions at brick-and-mortar stores, among others. 

Cloud-based technologies can also help you monitor the efficacy of customer journeys. The cloud helps businesses identify and eradicate friction points more quickly and ensures CX programs keep improving. 

You can learn about how we tackle this on our solutions page.

By leveraging cloud-based solutions, businesses remove the cost burden of having to purchase, maintain, and update on-premise software. 

This makes more budget available for other areas of customer experience.

5

Using chatbots to improve customer experience

When used correctly, chatbots improve customer experience by creating self-service provisions that allow customers to solve problems more efficiently.

Initial aversion to chatbots is receding as customers have realized just how useful they can be. In fact, 40% of consumers now say they don’t care if a chatbot or human helps them, as long as their problem is resolved, according to research from HubSpot.

1. Provide 24/7 customer support

Providing 24/7 human call center support can be prohibitively expensive for many businesses. Using chatbots enables businesses to offer customers help with queries around the clock without shouldering unsustainable costs.

2. Help customers find the answers to their questions faster

While FAQs are often extremely useful, sometimes they can be overwhelming—especially when they are comprehensive. Customers can use a chatbot to find the answers to their questions without having to manually trawl through pages of information to find it.

3. Make it easier for customers to make purchase decisions

Some chatbots can help customers understand the options available to them before they speak to a customer service agent. This is particularly useful when customers are seeking price quotes ahead of purchasing decisions. 

As customer demographics change, chatbots will be a particularly important aspect of meeting customer needs. Right now, nearly 90% of people still prefer speaking to a live customer service agent over other methods of connection, according to research from Clutch

However, A whopping 75% of millennials avoid phone calls because they feel they are too time-consuming, according to research from BankMyCell.  Some in the industry have even dubbed millennials “Generation Mute” owing to their reluctance to speak on the phone.

4. Help reduce customer frustration

Self-service programs need to be optimized to customer needs to be effective. By using chatbots as part of a holistic CX strategy, businesses can help customers get answers to simpler queries without needing to call a customer service agent. 

This then reduces the overall traffic on the phone lines which means customers with more complex inquiries have shorter wait times. Organizations report a reduction of up to 70% in call, chat, or email inquiries after implementing a virtual customer assistant, according to research from Gartner

A final (but no less important) benefit is that CX agents then have more interesting and complex issues to solve, which improves employee engagement, overall employee experience levels, and employee morale.

Want to see what the future holds for customer experience technology? Check out our digital CX trends for 2023 and beyond.