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Digital Transformation in Customer Service – The Building Blocks for Successful Digital Transition (Part 2 of 4)

As COVID-19 pushed companies and their customers online, digital transformation has taken over the customer service space like never before. In the first part of our series on Digital Transformation in Customer Service, we looked at why businesses can’t afford to ignore digital transformation. That included getting to the bottom of what digital transformation really is, and how it has transformed customer service for both the customer and the business. 

Among the many ways that digital transformation has pushed customer service forward, some of the standouts included: 

  • Significantly reducing costs through digital technologies like live chat
  • Increasing engagement opportunities with customers through omnichannel support
  • Improving customer retention through superior customer experience (CX)
  • Consolidating customer data for personalized support and customer insight.

In this article, the second in a series of four, we’ll continue our journey into digital transformation in customer service by looking at the best practices for adopting a digital transformation service strategy. 

5 Best Practices to Prepare for Digital Transformation 

Many fear the jump to new technologies – but there’s nothing to fear if you are organized and well-informed. This blog aims to do just this as we go through five successful strategies that will boost the success of your customer service transformation. 

1. Engaging With Leadership 

Any initiative to transform an organization needs to start at the top. Digital transformation in CX is no exception, and ideally this means adding leadership familiar with technology rollouts. A customer service transformation needs support at the executive level, and adoption of new technology is best handled by digital leaders. 

One of the key roles of a digital leader is to build trust across the organization in new technologies. Their best chance for success is in convincing others that digital transformation is worth pursuing. Studies have shown the many benefits of digital transformation, so digital leaders should speak to these benefits when getting others on board. 

To executive leadership, the overriding benefit of digital transformation is cost savings. Not only are the fixed costs of live chat less than phone support, but through chat concurrency, live chat allows for support agents to manage multiple chats at a time compared to a single phone call. The efficiency of live chat is further enhanced through canned messages and AI-powered assist tools. These features allow for agents to expedite their responses while still providing a personalized experience to customers. 

Digital transformation also provides potential customers with greater access to your organization, from live chat and email to social media and SMS. This immediately allows you to reach customers that your competitors relying on phone support simply can’t. Better yet, live chat can provide analytical insights that can be used to improve your customer experience, agent scheduling and response. Decision makers love data, and a digital transformation strategy provides reporting tools that allow leadership make more informed decisions. 

Read more: 8 Reasons Why Your CIO Will Love Live Chat 

2. Collecting Feedback 

Digital transformation in customer service requires buy-in from executive leadership, but to see success, technology needs support from all areas in an organization. One of the best ways to get support is to engage people by soliciting feedback. Collecting feedback not only provides valuable insights into how different departments can expect to be impacted, but it also increases employee buy-in and support for digital initiatives. 

Next, you’ll need support from non-technical program areas. For successful digital transformation in CX, that means collecting feedback from your customer support team. Your customer support agents will be able to inform the development of processes, and they should also be able to speak to how your customers already want to be served. Some of the questions that you may want to ask include: 

  • Have your customers been asking for improved support through a specific channel? (live chat, social media, SMS, email, etc.)
  • When customers contact your organization, are they currently reaching the right person or team?
  • How is customer support scheduling currently handled?

Adopting an omnichannel customer service strategy allows you to choose which channels customers can contact you through and consolidates support in one place. That means that customers can reach out more easily using their preferred method. Routing of live chat also means that customers always reach the right person, and data provided by customer responses allows for better management of agent scheduling. 

By asking the right questions, people will see the potential in your digital transformation and the result will reflect their shared enthusiasm. Collecting feedback is also a major aspect of the next best practice in digital transformation, which is empowering people throughout your organization. 

3. Empowering People 

One of the major reasons that collecting feedback is so effective is that it allows people to feel empowered when major change is happening around them. Digital leaders are needed throughout an organization, and digital transformation in customer service is an opportunity to create new leadership in diverse program areas. 

As customer service agents are introduced to the possibilities provided by new digital tools, they should be given an opportunity to take leadership roles in learning and championing their new-found skills. Providing personnel with these opportunities will help them see that an investment in digital customer service strategy is also an investment in them. With digital transformation for CX the new norm, these are valuable and relevant skills for anyone to learn. 

The other way that digital transformation empowers customer service agents is through the way it transforms their work. With improvements to efficiency and flexibility in the way that people work, digital transformation can improve your organization in meaningful ways. As digital tools require less time spent record keeping and performing menial tasks, support agents can spend more time developing as knowledge champions, including through the creation of knowledge bases and the development of support materials. 

Finally, but definitely not least, is the flexibility that digital transformation can provide to customer service agents. Flexible work arrangements have been crucial throughout the pandemic. While preferences vary among both employers and employees, the value of working from home can not be discounted in a post-COVID world. Employees have shown a preference for flexible work models, and digital transformation provides employers with the tools to offer remote work arrangements. With this taken into consideration, digital transformation can become a powerful recruitment tool to attract future talent. 

Read more: How to Set Goals & Build a Strategy to Drive Customer Experience Improvement 

4. Embracing Technology 

You might think that the best chance for success in digital transformation is in a very selective or minimalist adoption of technology. What we actually see is that embracing technology fully is necessary for the best chance of a successful digital transformation. Harvard Business Review summarizes this well

“Technology is the engine of digital transformation, data is the fuel, process is the guidance system, and organizational change capability is the landing gear. You need them all, and they must function well together.” 

We’ve already looked at shaping organizational and process changes through digital transformation, but data is not only necessary for successful digital transformation – it’s also a huge benefit. With digital processes replacing analogue ones, digital transformation in CX allows you to analyze customer communications and gain insights to shape customer support and business operations. This can lead to significant improvements in your service model and the creation of new opportunities to reach customers. 

Through analysis of live chat and social interactions, it’s possible to understand how and why your customers are finding your business. Understanding why customers are finding your organization allows for improvements to the relevance of products and services that you provide. Understanding how customers are reaching out provides opportunities to learn more about who your customers are. And the more you know about your customers, the more helpful and personalized support you can give them. 

5. Communication 

We’ve seen that digital transformation in customer service is a collaborative process, and that means communication is key. How your digital transformation strategy is communicated to your organization and how you shape future communications are significant. When introducing it, it’s important to consider how customer service agents will respond and proactively address concerns. 

It’s understandable for customer service agents to be hesitant to significant changes to existing processes, and that’s where you can speak to the empowerment that we’ve already looked at. Digital transformation makes your organization more competitive and creates growth potential for your agents. New skill development and leadership possibilities are also major benefits, as well as the simple fact that software like Comm100’s improves agents’ day-to-day work. 

Read moreHow to Use Technology to Improve the Agent Experience  

As ZDNet reported, the pandemic has been a watershed for digital transformation in customer service. The nature of support agent work has changed, and an investment in people is necessary for success. Focusing on the agent experience is one of the tenants of digital transformation success that ZDNet champions, and the benefits are felt by employees and organizations alike. 

What’s Next? 

We’ve now explored why digital transformation in customer service is something that your business can’t afford to ignore, and some of the ways that you can ease the process. In the next part of this series, we’ll be looking at organizations that have already adopted a digital customer service strategy, including success stories from: 

  • Lake Michigan Credit Union
  • Canadian Blood Services
  • Fitbit
  • Tangerine
  • Cabrillo Credit Union

If you’re ready to start your customer service transformation, Comm100 has the tools you need to power your digital transformation. With support for live chat, social media, text messaging, email, and more, Comm100’s customer service & support software connects your digital channels in one platform. Click here to start a free trial today

About Kate Rogerson

Kate is the Content Marketing Specialist at Comm100. She has extensive experience in content creation for technology companies across the world, including the UK, Australia and Canada. She specializes in B2B messaging, branding and soccer trivia.