When it comes to providing exceptional service to customers, communication is key. Responding quickly, collaborating with clients to solve problems, and keeping the conversation flowing smoothly can all support positive customer service outcomes for your business.
How can today’s changing technologies support better customer service outcomes for companies? In this guide, we’re examining four key tech tools that top brands use to connect with clients, resolve their issues, and build lasting relationships.
As technologies continue to evolve, so should businesses’ approaches to customer service—read on to discover how up-and-coming channels can bolster client support in the digital age.
Tech Tools Powering Today’s Customer Service
Four key technologies are changing the game in today’s customer service departments:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
- Live chat via browser or app
- SMS text messaging
- Email (specifically email automation)
Let’s explore each of these in more detail.
Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)
When it comes to digital transformation in customer service, perhaps no tool has had more of an impact than customer relationship management (CRM) software.
CRM tools leverage customer data: information about demographics, purchases, interactions with marketing content, and more. By compiling and analyzing this data, CRM software can provide insights about customer behavior and satisfaction.
While CRM has the power to influence a variety of business functions—like marketing and R&D—it can also facilitate powerful customer service outcomes. Today’s businesses can use CRM software to determine:
- Customers’ preferred support channels (e.g., live chat, SMS, phone, email)
- The overall effectiveness of customer support functions
- Average response times
- Typical resolution timelines
- Total customer service tickets
- Types of customer service tickets
With data analysis at their fingertips, customer service managers can make informed decisions to guide support teams toward positive change.
Live Chat Support
Live chat is a customer support channel that’s taken hold in a variety of industries from healthcare to auto shipping. With live chat tools, customers can communicate with customer service representatives in real-time.
There are a few key benefits to live chat support:
- Customers and representatives can add multimedia elements (like images and links) to the chat.
- Chat automation can help customers with self-service functions, answer simple questions, or resolve minor issues without the need for a customer service representative.
- Chat support can be integrated into a brand’s website, its smartphone app, or both.
Like live chat, SMS texting connects customers and support personnel in real-time. But, instead of an online or app-based chat platform, customers can use a channel they’re likely intimately familiar with: their cell phone’s SMS texting app.
SMS bridges the gap between customer service reps and clients by removing a barrier to communication: an external channel. Instead of logging into a website or navigating a mobile app, all customers need to do is pick up their smartphone to chat with a representative.
While email-based customer service isn’t new, automation technologies have drastically improved in recent years, supporting:
- Increased productivity for customer service representatives
- Decreased response time
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Data collection and analysis for marketing, customer service, and R&D applications
Like SMS and live chat, today’s email customer service is multimedia-friendly: customers and support team members can include links, images, videos, and more in their messages.
How Do Tech-Optimized Communication Channels Improve Customer Service?
The technologies above are certainly exciting, but how are they producing tangible results for today’s customer service teams? Let’s explore some of the benefits of incorporating CRM software, live chat, SMS, and email tools.
They Help Resolve Issues Quickly
The tools above can help customer service reps improve response times, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity—the less time it takes to resolve a ticket, the more issues reps can resolve in a day.
- CRM analysis can help teams choose which channels to invest in—if their clients seem to prefer SMS over live chat, a brand may choose to phase out the latter to develop the former.
- Instead of putting customers in a phone queue, brands can attempt to use automation (via chatbots and AI) to resolve customers’ problems as they wait for a human representative to become available.
Interactions Are in Real-Time
Email, SMS, and live chat all have one element in common: the potential for real-time communication with customers.
While the same can be said for phone support, the channels above couple real-time interaction with documentation—since messages are in writing, they can be more easily understood, relayed to other team members, and analyzed for training purposes.
Collaboration is Seamless
Since live chat, SMS, and email all support multimedia messaging, customer service representatives can collaborate with clients to resolve issues more seamlessly than ever before.
With the power of these channels, reps can ask customers for photos, videos, and links containing:
- Prices, order numbers, SKUs, and shipping data
- Product condition, appearance, and function
- Payment information
- Contact information
- Form submission
When team members and clients can share information seamlessly, issues get resolved quickly, efficiently, and effectively.
Customer Service Representatives Build Lasting Client Relationships
Perhaps the most important feature of all four tools described above is their potential to help customer service representatives build strong, lasting relationships with customers.
- Using CRM software, brands can find new ways to connect with and reach their client bases—investing heavily in customers’ preferred support channels is just one way to strengthen client trust.
- Live chat and SMS give customers the chance to talk to representatives like they would text or chat with a friend: in short messages that are easy to digest with multimedia support.
- Email gives customers the chance to write at length about their experiences—and representatives have room to respond at length to resolve customers’ issues and make it clear that the customer’s voice is heard.
Tech in Customer Service: The New Normal
When it comes to providing exceptional customer service, clear, timely communication is paramount. By leveraging powerful tools like CRM software, live chat, SMS, and email, customer support teams can produce improved outcomes and bolster customer satisfaction like never before.
If your business struggles to produce positive customer service outcomes, exploring new innovations could turn the tides for your support team and customer satisfaction metrics.