What You Need to Know About Customer Service in the Digital Age

Keith Krach
June 2, 2016

According to recent studies, nearly 90 percent of modern consumers indicate that they would be willing to pay more for a product in order to guarantee excellent customer service. 

Companies whose customer service teams are willing to work in favor of resolving customer issues are also more likely to earn customer loyalty, with 70 percent of clients returning to do business with these firms a second time.

The digital age demands a more personal relationship with company brands than ever before, and the human side of your firm is most easily perceived through your customer service team. In order to maintain buyer loyalty and establish yourself as a customer-centric firm, consider the following tips for building a powerful customer service strategy.

Simplify your service path

Speed is the business currency of the digital age, and a customer service team that bounces a customer request around a complicated, disorganized network in order to resolve the issue will see satisfaction rates drop. The fewer times that a customer has to repeat his or her concern, the more likely he or she is to be satisfied, and the better your customer service image is.

To simplify your service path, consider taking an objective view of your current practices. If your company is using an interactive voice response service, does it offer a concise number of options? Studies suggest that any given path on a phone tree should present customers with no more than three to five choices at a time to avoid confusion. Additionally, if your company chooses to use an interactive voice response service, you should optimize your phone menu with an option to directly connect to a live customer service representative, which helps mitigate client frustration by giving them the option of talking to a real human being.

Optimize your website with info

If a customer can find what he or she is looking for without needing to contact your company, it constitutes a form of customer service. Optimizing your website with helpful information is an excellent way to consistently provide customer service without working directly with the customer. Include a page on your site specifically for customer support. Upload a self-help guide so that clients can work on solving problems for themselves—an option that has increased in popularity in recent years.

Customer service-oriented companies should also use their website as a platform to keep their clientele informed about changes or upgrades in products or operations. Clients who feel blindsided by change are more likely to view a company as untrustworthy and take their business elsewhere.

Pay attention to customer feedback

Listen to the feedback that clients are giving about your customer service quality, because consistent reviews of the same nature are usually a good indication of where you stand. Routinely bad reviews should be a red flag that your firm needs to take a better look at its customer service practices and see where the service chain could use some tweaks.

Asking directly for customer feedback on your website or offering your clients incentives for giving reviews can be an excellent way to exercise some control over what is said about you in the public forum. A client who feels that your company is genuinely interested in improving the consumer experience will be more likely to contact your business first, rather than lodge a complaint on a public website outside of your control, like Yelp or Amazon.

Study the feedback of competitors’ customers

Monitoring the customer feedback that your competitors receive is a great way to see what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. If consumers praise your competitors for an aspect of business that your company does not dedicate many resources to, consider evaluating your options for strengthening that area of your own operations. More importantly, take ample notice of what employees find displeasing about competing businesses, and use it to your advantage. Because of the increased availability of products and services in the current marketplace, customers are much less likely to give a company a second chance after a bad experience.

If your firm can consistently appear strong where customers say competitors are weak, you can seize the opportunity to develop a larger, more loyal client base.

Keith Krach

Keith Krach is Chairman of DocuSign, The Global Standard for Digital Transaction Management.