Customers today often move from one channel to another to resolve service issues. Migrating your customer-relationship management to digital platforms can create a seamless experience for your customers that will reduce your company's call volumes and operating expenses by 30%. Every customer-facing industry can create a successful digital care strategy by following these six simple stages.
Digital customer service is now a strategic imperative, but its adoption is hampered by weaknesses in delivery strategies and incomplete measurement of its effectiveness.
A European telecommunications company wanted to lower the cost of its customer service operations but worried about the potential loss of revenue from the cross-selling that its traditional call centres did so well. In investigating its options, the company learned that 70 percent of existing customer service contacts could be delivered through digital solutions that had proved effective in other industries. By migrating part of its customer service operations to similar digital-care programs with a smart strategic approach, the company lowered the unit’s costs by as much as 30 percent, with no loss of revenue.
Already well established in banking and financial services, digital customer care—so-called e-care—is now making inroads in other industries. E-care involves the delivery of customer service via web-based user accounts, social networks, mobile phones, and the Internet rather than call centres or facilities open to the public such as retail stores or service counters. 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. And it makes sense from a financial perspective, too: e-care has the potential to significantly lower the cost of customer-service operations while increasing customer satisfaction.
Of course, it’s not simply a matter of adding digital options to traditional customer-service channels. In our experience, e-care must be approached as a one- to two-year multistage transformation, undertaken with the same degree of planning and rigour as a major product launch or other strategic initiative and backed by heavy initial C-suite support. In addition, careful thought must be given to the degree of digitisation desired: digital care can be fully self-serve or involve a mix of live customer-service agents; not all options need to be available on every digital platform, and e-care should not be implemented as aggressively where there is significant potential for upselling. Yet we believe that the rewards of adopting e-care are worth the effort and virtually every consumer-facing industry requiring extensive customer-relationship management—from cable operators and consumer electronics to healthcare and utilities—can benefit.