What is Digital Customer Service?
Digital customer service (DCS) is a customer’s or citizen’s experience when they interact with a business or a government entity through one or more digital touchpoints. This interaction can be to complete a transaction, get an answer to a question, resolve a problem, or seek advice.
A DCS journey may include one or more of the following digital touchpoints.
- Virtual assistants or conversational self-service chat with a chatbot
- Text chat or video chat with a live agent
- Messaging (SMS)
- Messaging apps (e.g., WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat)
- Social media
- Collaborative web browsing and online form-filling
- Digital self-service
Take for example, Laura Andrews, the busy mom, who looks at blogposts by other moms to research for the right insurance plan, buys the insurance online, looks at the FAQ on the company website and video chats for customer service.
Why Digital Customer Service?
When it comes to interacting with businesses, customers have been going digital for the last several years. This trend was initially driven by the convenience of digital channels and generational preferences.
Why is Digital Customer Service More Popular Now?
It is widely agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of customer engagement.
In the last couple of years, concerns about infections and pandemic-related lockdowns forced many businesses and even the older digital holdouts among consumers to go digital, almost overnight.
In an eGain customer service survey, conducted by Dimensional Research, 80% of consumers said that they used digital customer service more in 2020—92% of Gen Z, 87% of millennials, and even 69% of baby boomers.
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According to Gartner, by 2022, 72% of customer interactions will involve an emerging technology such as machine learning applications, chatbots, or mobile messaging, up from 11% in 2017. Businesses that excel in providing digital experiences in a unified, knowledgeable way will have an advantage over the competition in this new world.
Where Does DCS Fail?
Businesses implement digital channels to provide service to consumers where they “live” and reduce the cost of live assistance. While digitalization of customer engagement had started a while ago, the pandemic acted as an accelerant. Businesses rushed to add digital channels because it was the need of the hour. By adding new digital silos, many companies have created disjointed islands of context, knowledge bases, and automation. Which explains why 57% of consumers in the Dimensional Research survey said that they felt confused by customer service chatbots as the answers the bots gave were different from the answers they got at other touchpoints.
Instead of making it easy to get customer service, these channels increased customer effort.
What are the Benefits of Digital Customer Service?
1. A government agency deflected up to 70% of incoming calls to virtual assistance, reduced case handling time by 25%, and improved form-filling with cobrowse-aided phone and chat conversations and granular knowledge assistance within forms. No wonder these powerful capabilities elevated their agent engagement to 92% versus the industry benchmark of 67%!
2. Leading financial services company serves over 11 million members with personalized, proactive, outbound messaging across SMS, email, voice, in-app notifications, and letters. They send over a billion notifications—800 different kinds—per year with our messaging solution, wowing members with a high level of service. No wonder they are a perennial number one in their industry in the Forrester CX Index rankings, among other benchmarks!
3. Name-brand retailer serves over 9 million shoppers across geographies with rich digital customer service, including virtual assistance, live chat, and digital deflection of IVR contacts, all backed by knowledge, AI, and analytics. The retailer has successfully deflected up to 60% of calls to virtual assistance and 40% of contacts from the IVR to contextual digital self-service amidst shipping delays in the holiday shopping season.
Digital Customer Service Thought Leadership and a Unique Offer
While customer service digitalization had been under way even prior to the onset of COVID, the pandemic elevated it to the top of CxO agendas. We predict that demand will continue to grow exponentially not only for DCS but also for modern knowledge management that is up to snuff to meet today’s requirements for handling more complex customer queries and automate compliance at scale. Read the megatrends we see for 2022.
Some of you may be familiar with the American Express ad slogan, “Don’t leave home without it.” I was reminded of it when I looked at the findings of various research studies in the realm of digital customer service. Not to violate any copyright law here, I think businesses would be well-served to remember the advice, “Don’t do digital customer service without knowledge management.” We tell you why.
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eGain CEO, Ashu Roy, shares how eGain makes it possible to provide consumers the easy, quick, and guided digital service they want.