Digital customer care: the new normal in 2022
Many companies have started to prioritize digital customer care programs, albeit at a slow pace, but some organizations are lagging despite huge shifts in the customer service industry. As we head into the new year, the trend is clear: digital customer care is no longer optional; it is a requirement.
The new normal is digital
People are more mobile and productive now than ever before thanks in part to work from home (WFH). WFH exercised new pressures on consumers, including more densely packed schedules and the expectation to always be available online. The pressures of WFH are not going away any time soon, either. A 2020 International Data Commission study found that an estimated 60% or more of all American workers will be mobile – meaning they do not need to work on-site – by 2024. Many consumers do not and will not have the bandwidth to call customer support while juggling other responsibilities.
The changes in work and life brought on by an increase in digitization are reflected in online shopping. According to the United Kingdom Office for National Statistics, online shopping as a percent of all retail purchases surged to 33.4% – one-third of all such purchases. With so much of consumers’ lives relying on digital channels, it has become more convenient for them to reach out to businesses online, especially via mobile devices.
In 2019, 42% of American consumers who reached out to a business via chat did so to make a purchase. Mobile devices – such as tablets and cellphones – are increasingly becoming the devices of choice for e-commerce. In one survey, 79% of consumers made a purchase online with their tablet or cellphone in the last six months.
Changing demographics solidify the new, digital status quo
The majority of people in English-speaking countries will only call a business for help as a last resort. In a 4,000-person survey published by LivePerson, Americans ages 18 to 34 would only call a contact center after checking the website, talking to a live chat agent or bot, and reaching out via social media for the answer to a question. For those over 34, calling the contact center is the third option they would choose with reaching out on social media being their last resort.
According to the US Census Bureau, people ages 15 to 55 make up around 45.7% of the whole US population, while those older than 55 make up around 22.7% of the population. But this does not mean that those above 55 do not use social media, as 57% of Boomers use social media and 67% of them that have a smartphone. Given all this data, it is unsurprising that 61% of Americans polled in a Facebook survey messaged a business within the past four months preceding the survey. Everyone – not just the youth – wants to use digital channels to contact businesses.
Customers feel that messaging is more personal, accountable, and convenient
Businesses benefit from human psychology through messaging. Messaging feels inherently personal due to the role it plays in our lives. You use your phone or a messaging app to contact friends from far away, share memes, and engage in personal interactions. When interactions with businesses are more personal and less formal, consumers feel less like case numbers talking to robots and more like people talking to other people. However, people make mistakes. Messaging keeps both sides of a conversation accountable to everyone’s benefit.
For consumers, the ability to screenshot or save conversations makes messaging feel more trustworthy. For businesses, storing messages can help agents personalize care by getting a complete view of a customer’s previous outreach to the business. With the right digital customer care solution, businesses can automatically connect orders or queries to accounts based on customers’ individually identifiable information in a messaging conversation.
Consumers also increasingly seek to use asynchronous forms of outreach –particularly messaging – for the convenience it provides in customer service interactions. Asynchronous outreach is anything that doesn’t require either the agent or customer to be 100% online during the customer service interaction. Asynchronous messaging leads to a 30%-time savings over synchronous messaging – such as live chat. Plus, customers that use asynchronous messaging re-contact less, report higher satisfaction, and see higher resolution rates for contact.
Get started with digital customer care
We’ve identified three main wants from consumers in this blog: speed, convenience, and personalization. When starting or enhancing a digital customer service program, businesses need a digital customer care platform that enables their teams to deliver convenient, fast, personalized service.
Clarabridge Engage gives businesses the tools they need to respond efficiently and effectively to messages, social media posts, and reviews. The platform also lets teams reach out synchronously and asynchronously with consumers, link customer information to their individual accounts, and supervisors efficiently manage different types of contact across teams.
Agents and consumers benefit when digital customer care is done right. Show your customers you respect their preferences, time, and needs by meeting them where they want to meet you – online.
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