Posted June 13, 2017
By: Luka Zivkovic, product development expert, TELUS International
For many fast-growing technology companies, customer experience is at the heart of building a competitive advantage. And in the digital era, digitized customer support channels are absolutely key to delivering service that’s comparable to larger and more established industry incumbents.
That’s where the concept of digital customer relationship management (CRM) increasingly comes into play. While traditional CRM tools act as a database for housing, tracking and utilizing customer data in sales and service processes, digital CRM encompasses a customer’s entire digital journey — support included.
By optimizing their digital CRM, fast-growing tech companies can gain positive service outcomes on par with larger competitors, often at a fraction of the cost.
As a digital product expert at TELUS International, I’ve seen first-hand the impact an effective digital CRM can have on customer satisfaction, retention and revenue generation. To that end, we recently conducted an analysis of key digital CRM benchmarks, comparing how tech companies, like ride-sharing and music-streaming services, are doing against their more established competitors.
Using hundreds of attributes designed to measure companies’ digital contact presence, we analyzed several key digital CRM customer-service benchmarks to determine where fast-growing tech companies are excelling, and areas that need improvement in order to surpass larger industry rivals.
‘Contact Us’ support: Room for improvement
One of the key discoveries in our benchmarking study is that fast-growing tech companies can greatly improve the simple “Contact Us” digital process. Surprisingly, the overall score in this area was well below the benchmark set by established brands in industries like air travel and consumer goods.
When scoring for this category, we considered where the “Contact Us” button is placed on the website, how long it takes to locate and whether the contact form has auto-fill capabilities. Some smaller tech firms scored low because the “Contact Us” button was extremely difficult to find, often in small lettering, at the very bottom of the main website.
I recommend that companies look for ways to make “Contact Us” easier to locate on both traditional and mobile channels. Additionally, using templated contact forms can make your service agents’ lives easier and the customer interaction seamless. By having customers identify and categorize their issue in the form, agents can more quickly assess — and remedy — the problem once it gets to them.
The bottom line is that getting help via the “Contact Us” channel is a critical part of the customer experience — one that growth companies should immediately prioritize.
“Contact Us” key considerations:
- Is “Contact Us” located near the top, in big bold lettering for easy visibility?
- Are all support channels listed, (e.g. social handles, phone numbers, email address) along with hours of operation and expected response time?
- Is the form easy to fill out or auto-fill enabled to make it even faster?
- Is “Contact Us” easily accessible on your mobile interface and smartphone app?
FAQ support: Keep up the good work
The second significant finding was that fast-growing tech companies are doing incredibly well when it comes to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). They had high overall ratings in FAQ process effectiveness, coming in above the average set by established players in similar industries.
The FAQ process for tech start-ups is typically very rich in what it provides for customers — and if done well, it can serve the business greatly. FAQs deflect many initial support calls and can facilitate positive service outcomes without hiring a large team of support agents.
Fast-growing firms should not only keep up the excellent work, but continue to make the digital FAQ service experience more seamless and dynamic.
The important thing about investing in self-service options like FAQs is that it doesn’t cost as much to set up as other support channels, and there’s minimal ongoing investment. Growth companies should continually focus on making their FAQ sections more engaging, and provide instant access to alternate support channels in case customers don’t find what they need.
FAQ key considerations:
- Are the FAQs easy to locate, and is there a “pre-qualification” process to triage the issue and guide consumers to the right section?
- Are topics searchable and detailed in categories?
- Is the actual content of the FAQs not just useful, but at least somewhat enjoyable for people to read?
Social support: Balance automation with a human touch
One area where both fast-growing tech companies and established brands are on comparable footing is online customer service interactions.
While online support interactions are generally positive, emerging companies need to expand their social capabilities as consumers continue to broaden their use of service channels. Supporting customers via secondary social channels, on both web and mobile, is one area they should turn their attention to.
For instance, while many companies utilize Twitter and Facebook, many start-ups, as well as established brands, are often poor at responding to support messages sent through secondary social channels like Instagram messaging. Fast-growing tech companies will benefit from developing support strategies around secondary channels like Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat moving forward.
Emerging tech companies don’t have legacy systems to maintain, and can often adopt new technologies, like chatbots, with limited concern. Chatbots should be used to answer simple initial questions, identify the customer and their issue and then route them to the right human agent.
As conducting service interactions via social media channels like Twitter and Facebook have now become nearly as ubiquitous as voice, fast-growing tech companies should keep an eye toward merging chatbots with secondary social and mobile channels in the near future.
Social customer support key considerations:
- Do you know how often people contact you on secondary social channels (Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.), and do you have a strategy to serve them?
- Do you have a roadmap for integrating chatbot technology into social customer service?
- Are your agents trained on responding through both primary and secondary social channels?
It’s no secret that customers are flocking to digital channels for their support and service needs. Based on our findings, fast-growing technology companies should elevate their “Contact Us” processes, continually streamline their FAQs and increase social support reach to stay ahead of the digital CRM curve.
Want to learn how your organization can create, implement and optimize a digital CRM strategy? Connect with us to find out how our benchmarking tool and analysis can deliver better customer service results for your business.