September 13, 2022

The Role of Digital Transformation in Customer Service

“Customer is king.” You’ve heard this much-vaunted phrase in businesses across every industry and vertical. And it’s true. Your customer’s needs should always be the true north for your business. Another common phrase, “the customer is always right,” is less accurate. The truth is that the customer isn’t always right. They don’t always know what they want beyond needing you to solve their problems.

With that in mind, digital transformation presents an exciting opportunity for you to leverage technology to improve customer service. And that’s what it should be all about—harnessing the role of technology in customer experience to serve your customers better.

Unfortunately, too often, businesses follow a “live by the sword, die by the sword” mentality when it comes to digital transformation. Despite proclamations that the customer comes first, not all companies practice what they preach. By prioritizing what they want to build over what their audience needs, companies sacrifice their single most important asset—their customers.

Failing to understand the role of technology in customer experience is a big problem. Competitors who know the value of prioritizing User/UX research to gain insights into customer needs can use your failure as an opening.

You can avoid this by taking on modernization with a Product Mindset approach. By solving for customer needs and iterating based on their feedback, you can excel at change and better adapt to an always-evolving marketplace.

The Role of Technology in Customer Experience

Before we can explore the role of technology in customer experience, we must define digital transformation and how it impacts customer service. Simply put, digital transformation is about using technology to create an agile company with the ability to adapt quickly to a changing marketplace.

While modernization can be about operations and creating cross-functional teams, that’s not the full story. You should also recognize the power of leaning into your customers’ preferences. In today’s world, this includes a growing desire for digital engagement.

According to ZDNet, “70% of interactions are digital and most companies are not ready.” It can cost you millions of dollars if you fail to serve your customers where they want to engage. Even if customers don’t jump ship after a poor experience, you may be facing an uphill battle. It takes considerable time to soothe ruffled feathers and turn that experience around.

With that in mind, digital transformation is also about blending digital and non-digital interactions to create a consistent experience. This omnichannel approach seeks to maximize technology’s role in customer experience and increase customer loyalty. Some of the technologies that omnichannel frequently uses include chatbots, artificial intelligence, and channel-specific support.

Most importantly, you must recognize that your digital transformation is not a single event. You should continue conducting User/UX research and using the data to iterate and improve the experience.

The Biggest Customer Service Disruptions

The pandemic is to thank for the rapid acceleration of digital adoption. However, the writing has been on the wall since Bill Gates shared his vision of “a computer on every desk and in every home” and since Apple released the first iPhone in 2007.

Depending on who you talk to, “disruption” has different connotations. However, when it comes to the role of technology in customer service, disruption is all about finding better ways to meet customer needs. Some of the most disruptive technology applications in customer service include:

  • Implementing digital channels optimized for self-service to streamline in-person conversations for customers who genuinely need 1:1 assistance.
  • Streamlining siloed data and communications to minimize repeat questions and conversations, so every person a customer talks to has access to past data.
  • Changing in-person conversations to video consults in various applications, including business, tech support, and healthcare.
  • Developing feedback loops that allow you to harness information about your users.

Happier customers are the most important result of disruptive customer service. Because they’re confident you hear their feedback and are creating solutions, they will remain customers for a long time.

The benefits to your company don’t end there. UX/User research improves your insights into customer needs and customer service friction points. And this knowledge helps you optimize your client journey for maximum conversions and retention.

What is the “Next Normal?”

The role of technology in customer experience cannot be overstated. Companies listening to their customers and acting on feedback develop greater brand loyalty. As McKinsey shares, “Many companies are “reinventing business models that improve productivity and customer experience, and by doing so, they are positioning themselves for success in the next normal.”

However, we can’t focus entirely on “improved productivity” as a metric. As CJ Jordy, Lead UX Researcher & Designer, 3Pillar Global, shares, “While improved productivity can be important to many companies, businesses must always be looking for the benefit to their customers. And, if there’s any conflict, the customer’s needs must come first.”

To that end, you must keep your customer needs as your North Star for modernization. Doing so helps you create an agile company culture primed for customer experience. The resulting competitive advantage will help you build long-lasting customer relationships as long as you continue to listen to their needs.

3Pillar Global’s team of experts excels at helping companies harness the role of technology in customer experience so you can maximize the effect of digital transformation on your business. Contact us today to get started.

Special thanks to these members of FORCE, 3Pillar’s expert network, for their contributions to this article.

FORCE is 3Pillar Global’s Thought Leadership Team comprised of technologists and industry experts offering their knowledge on important trends and topics in digital product development.