A discussion of the growing trend towards digital customer care and some reasons why Caribbean should consider it.
As the business world becomes increasingly competitive, firms are continually being driven to improve efficiencies and effectiveness. However, at the same time, technology is allowing consumers to exert even more control over the entire sales experience. It is therefore critical that businesses position themselves to be even more attuned and responsive to consumers’ feedback and needs.
Digital customer care, which has also been dubbed “e-care”, has been growing in popularity over the past few years, and generally is seen as a progression from the traditional in-store service counter and the customer care call centre. E-care tends to involve the delivery of customer service via a broad range of digital platforms including: e-chats; social networks; virtual assistants; web-based user accounts, discussion forums, and mobile/cellular phones.
Across the Caribbean, and at best, customer care is uneven. Though there might be some well-resourced firms that have a variety of channels through which customers can contact them, in most instances, the only option might be just a single telephone number. Notwithstanding, and as local and regional businesses truly appreciate that they are competing in the global market place, it is timely to revisit the customer care space and e-care. Below are three reasons why Caribbean businesses should consider and incorporate digital customer care into their customer management strategy.
1. Increased cost savings
The adoption of technology solution has been a means of realising a broad range savings across organisations. In relation to customer care, it is no different. Though e-care might mean that a number of additional engagement channels should be established, since most of them would be delivered via the Internet, the potential for cost savings is high. According to McKinsey, the savings could be as high as 30%, especially when a call-driven model (e.g. contact centre) had been implemented.
2. Customer behavior and demand
From the pre-sale due diligence, to after-sale, today’s customers tend to use, and are comfortable using, a variety of digital platforms. The results of a recent study published by Accenture showed that
…89 percent of consumers now use at least one online channel (company website, review sites, or others) when prospecting, with an average of three digital channels used by consumers across the global sample.
Moreover, and according to McKinsey,
…such digital services are increasingly demanded by customers, who are already using digital platforms to research and review products, as well as broadcast their service frustrations.
Hence businesses could benefit considerably by also being available on those digital platforms to directly engage customers wherever they might be at a particular moment, rather than waiting for customers to reach out to them through predefined and limited channels.
3. Improved customer care
Finally, in being accessible to customers through more channels than would have been used traditionally, firms would be making themselves more available and attuned to their customers, which could result in even better customer care. Further, based on the experience of delivering that care through call centres or customer service departments, the metrics to measure and track matters such as the quality and effectiveness of those engagements are readily available, and can be adopted to ensure the desired targets are being achieved.
In summary, and in today’s world, the rules of engagement are changing. In these times of social networks and the immediacy that technology affords, customers are wielding more power. It is therefore incumbent on businesses to ensure they are properly positioned to be more aware of, and responsive to, those needs.
Image credit: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net