Following the COVID19 pandemic outbreak, many companies have seen rapid growth in the volume of their online sales and in the number of customer interactions. To address this growth, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) had to make significant investments in IT infrastructure and technology. These investments helped to transform several physical processes and interactions into digital ones. However, they have also unveiled the potential of digitization in a wide range of marketing and sales functions, including customer support. Customer service is one of the areas that have been radically transformed during the past months, as companies had to cope with unprecedented numbers of customer interactions across many different digital touchpoints such as websites and social media channels. Nowadays, leaders in online sales in areas like retail and advertising have no other option than to offer exceptional customer service and support through digital channels. In this direction, they must strategically consider investing in advanced digital technologies for customer service that will yield a positive ROI (Return on Investment).
There are many different ROI-generating factors in providing exceptional and efficient customer service, including:
The delivery of the above-listed features comes however with new challenges for companies and their CIOs. One of these challenges stems from the need to manage a hybrid cohort of customer service resources, including a remote workforce and various technology systems. Another challenge relates to the need for setting and managing new service objectives that account for metrics like customer personalization and experience. This asks for novel approaches to IT service management beyond metrics for conventional call centers and helpdesks.
Cutting edge technologies is CIOs best ally in their attempt to deploy and leverage novel customer service infrastructures. Within a sea of different technologies, CIOs attention must be drawn to:
The deployment of the above-listed technologies goes hand-in-hand with the ever-important revisions in customer service processes, as well as the investments in complementary assets like training of customer service agents. In this direction, CIOs must also consider the need for reengineering and improving customer service processes. This must be done as part of a wider framework that revises core service objectives in directions that account for customer experience and feedback. Furthermore, collaboration with other departments and business functions remains a critical success factor, as customer service comes to support the outputs of sales, marketing, accounting, and other activities within an organization. Finally, CIOs must map these activities to a Return on Investment (ROI) framework in order to assess and quantify the impact of customer service innovation on the bottom lines of their companies.
In the years to come, customer service will be a powerful tool for business growth. IT managers and CIOs must therefore plan the modernization and scaling of their legacy customer service infrastructures. To this end, they should also consider opportunities stemming from the rapid acceleration of technological advances. In this way, they will make customer service one of the best IT-based assets they ever had.
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