Relationship between Technology and Customer Service

“Your website is not the center of your universe. Your Facebook page is not the center of your universe. Your mobile app is not the center of your universe. The customer is the center of your universe.” – Bruce Ernst

There is no business without customers and the relationship a company shares with them determines its failure or long-term success.  A great relationship encourages repeat business and enhances feelings of loyalty toward a brand, in customers. With technological advancement and the surge of online business and transactions, it would seem obvious then that there is a deep and inextricable relationship between technology and customer service. Technology has made it easier for customers to interact with businesses and vice versa – online transactions are faster and more cost effective than the traditional means of connecting. Businesses are competing now with more competitors than ever – some of whom would be financially stronger and would have an established presence in the market. For smaller companies then, conventional promotional and marketing techniques would be hard to carry out given the paucity of funds and an overcrowded space. Investing in technology would help some companies to create some ‘market space’ and possibly even carve a niche for themselves.

The relationship between technology and customer service should be a happy one if companies use technology wisely. Many different aspects of customer service can now be delivered directly to customers without any form of contact with the customer service representatives of the company. The introduction of technology has limited a number of social human interactions, which could, if not handled well, have an adverse effect on the relationship between technology and customer service. There are a number of transactions that happen daily through technology such as ATM withdrawals, use of IVR systems, credit card swiping and others – these ‘services’ need to work impeccably for customers to remain satisfied. When companies fail to maintain these services, the possibility of customers become disgruntled and ready to leave, becomes a reality. It is imperative therefore, for companies to understand the deep relationship between technology and customer service and ensure that they keep their technology working well and updated at all times.

It is in a company’s best interest to manage the relationship between technology and customer service. Delivering service via technology has less chances of human error, making it more efficient, reliable, swift, and cost-effective. If systems work well, companies can extend their service to customers round the clock without a break – this is one of the top features of customer service and customers love the accessibility. Being able to access service any time, from any location, on the go – at the customer’s convenience, gives customers more control and power, making them feel important and valued. In order to enhance their relationship with their customers, companies must ensure that the relationship between technology and customer service is consistently smooth and works seamlessly.

The more value a company can create for its customers, it raises its chances of becoming the preferred partner by gaining their trust. Companies must focus on core service and the various systems and technologies that would contribute to the quality and delivery of the service, and the methods through which customers can interact with representatives of the company. At every step and through every transaction, a company must focus on creating value for their customers and despite low human interactions would be able to forge bonds and emotional connections with them. Through the introduction of technology based customer service, a company should be able to improve the overall quality of service and interactions with their customers. In the fast-paced life of today, customers seek ease, convenience and the ability to access a company’s service from anywhere and anytime, which gives them exactly what they want – it is value-added from the customer’s perspective. We know that top class customer service is now the key differentiator for any business / brand and companies that understand the relationship between technology and customer service would be better equipped to deliver the kind of service to customers that would make them stand out from the crowd and stay ahead of their competitors.

As mentioned, customers now have more options and choices than ever before. It has become critical for companies to be even more responsive and provide top class solutions and answers to customer complaints and queries. This is what would keep a company competitively advantaged and would gain favour with customers. It is therefore, now even more vital for companies to understand the relationship between technology and customer service – such that they can tailor their operations, customize solutions, manage customer data more effectively to meet their needs, and proactively anticipate their future needs and preferences. A company that can improve the efficiency for its customers would become more profitable and would be able to keep its costs down.

There are some pertinent areas for a business where the smooth relationship between technology and customer service would foster customer loyalty. CRM software is now readily available to help companies gather and manage complex and huge amounts of customer data more efficiently and swiftly. As companies expand their operations and customer base, manual records can no longer be trusted or work as efficiently as system based centralized data. Easily accessible and updated customer data is essential for customer service representatives and other customer facing teams to provide accurate information and customized solutions to each customer. Service representatives would need to spend less time on each customer, and would be able to resolve a higher number of customer queries and problems within the same number of hours, thereby raising the level of service, which keeps customers happy and coming back.

The company’s website is another example of how well the relationship between technology and customer service can work. A great website – with interactive content and self-help portals would enable customers to get the answers they need without waiting to connect with an actual person. The content and information on websites would ensure that customers remain interested in and engaged with the company, and could also spread and share the content with anyone they desire through the call to action buttons. This in turn increases the reach and awareness of the company – at the click of a button. A company could also use one of the oldest yet still most effective methods of technological transactions – the email – to send out personalized communication and to respond speedily to customers and their needs.

Through technology, a customer could seek help and service from a company even from a remote location. Web video chats, online remote access, and other such technology-enabled methods allow customers to interact ‘face-to-face’ with the company experts to help with troubleshooting and immediate resolution of issues. A number of other realms that can highlight the inextricable relationship between technology and customer service, and it would be the onus of companies to use each to advantage. Whatever a company decides to do and use, it must be remembered that it must understand the deep relationship between technology and customer service now and harness its power to become a formidable force in the market and for its competitors and a preferred partner for an even larger number of customers.

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