Customer Centricity and Digitalization: 5 Tips for Ensuring Optimal Customer Focus
Customer centricity is the name given to a value chain that starts with the customer and focuses on their needs and wishes. At first glance, this approach seems to be self-evident. After all, companies pursue the goal of acquiring customers and satisfying them in the long run. Does this not automatically place customers at the center of every business model?
Unfortunately it is not that simple. Over the years, companies across the globe have moved further and further away from their customers. Although the customer technically remained king, they were removed from their throne by a focus on products (product centricity). This development came to an abrupt end with digitalization and the accompanying empowerment of customers.
The Empowerment of Digital Customers
What has digitalization changed? Put simply, it has given power to customers.
- Customers in the digital world are connected, compare products with just a few clicks, share their experiences and make critical and responsible purchasing decisions.
- Customers know what they want and expect companies to provide digital solutions that are available immediately.
- Digital customers are not only consumers; they also play an active role in shaping their products and services.
This has an impact on the way companies develop their products and services. Success is promised above all by highly personalized offers that are tailored to the evolving needs of the digital target group and put the reins into the hands of each individual.
The message is: you can have exactly what you want, and you can have it now. This is where we come full circle, because this can only be achieved digitally.
For example, in the past it was sufficient to throw as good a product as possible onto the market, e.g. a book about losing weight. Today this is far from enough, because customers are no longer passive consumers. They would like to use a platform where they can interact with each other, put together their digital course content individually, be supported by a virtual coach and connect with a community.
The bottom line: In the field of digitalization, consumers have high expectations in terms of simplicity, transparency, personalized service and response speed. If these expectations are not met, they move on. For this reason, customer centricity is regarded as THE strategy for the digital age.
Customer Centricity in Customer Service: Tips to Help You Focus on Your Customers
Customer centricity is not just a marketing and sales concept; it is a maxim that covers all areas of your organization. The linchpin, however, is your customer service. This is where you can unleash the full potential of customer centricity and achieve rapid success. There are two reasons for this:
- Customer service by its very nature is relevant for customers, which is why it influences the customer’s shopping experience to a greater extent.
- In customer service, the use of artificial intelligence acts like a turbo for your customer centricity:
- AI solutions are digital in nature and automatically centered on customers.
- Artificial intelligence draws on a large database and can therefore react more flexibly and sometimes more competently than a human being to the ever-changing needs of customers.
- AI gives customers the opportunity to become active and control what is happening in real time.
The following 5 tips will help your customer service team make the step towards optimal customer centricity in the digital world:
1. Remain available for your customers
If you want to focus on your customers, you should first create active digital contact points that can be accessed around the clock. Why is this so important? Your customers know what they want. Your job is to listen, ask questions and observe. This interaction is the absolute foundation of customer centricity.
As a result of digitalization, personal conversations over the counter hardly ever take place. As a e-commerce company, you therefore have to break new ground in order to remain approachable for your customers:
- Cultivate a cross-channel presence: Social media, telephony, chat or email – customers like to communicate on a variety of channels. By adopting an AI-driven omnichannel approach, your customer service is optimally prepared for this. The algorithm reliably manages tickets in the areas where human employees will probably have already lost track.
- Don’t be limited by business hours: “We’re available for you Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm”. This statement is no longer accepted by many customers. AI algorithms never stop working and can independently provide answers to most customer questions. Even if the AI can’t solve the problem completely, it records the customer, registers their request and speeds up the time required to process it.
How well does artificial intelligence actually recognize a customer’s request? We have tested and compared how parlamind performs compared to other AI providers. Try it out for yourself!
2. Put the customer’s comfort above everything
Patience is not one of the fortes of digital customers. They prefer to solve problems independently or find answers online. If they contact customer service, you should offer a similarly direct and quick solution – without waiting in lengthy queues or being forwarded back and forth between various departments.
AI offers a clear benefit here too. Thanks to intelligent routing, it knows which employee is likely able to solve the customer’s problem. In the shortest time possible, it scans the availability and the know-how of the employees, classifies the request and sends the ticket to the right place.
3. Maintain continuous dialog with your customers
In the past, no contact with customer service was a good sign. After all, it meant that the customer had no questions or problems. Those times are well and truly over.
Customer service in the digital world means maintaining a continuous dialog with customers. The aim is to get to know them even more thoroughly, make them loyal and ultimately inspire them. This is helped by the fact that customers themselves strive to control what happens and make decisions for themselves. Artificial intelligence is a companion in this regard:
- The AI independently suggests possible “next best actions” to customers in real time, e.g. purchase of another product. This means that the customer dialog never comes to a standstill.
- Chatbots help you to stay in touch with customers. They use contextual information, such as details from the current conversation. This makes them faster and sometimes more agile than their human colleagues.
4. Perceive your customers as human beings with real needs
Two customers approach your customer service department with an identical request. Will they both receive the same standard answer? Not if you have AI on board.
It analyzes the mood of customers and composes an appropriate response. This can range from a short message to forwarding the customer to a trained employee.
By means of sentiment analysis, you can achieve a higher degree of individualization in customer service. As a result, customers feel more noticed and appreciated as a person, which in turn boosts satisfaction levels.
5. Know your customers better than they know themselves
Giving customers what they want is definitely a key element of customer centricity. However, you can really inspire them if you know what they will want next – and actively offer them that!
AI enables you to do this without the help of a crystal ball as it can analyze large amounts of customer data. This puts it in a position to anticipate the needs of customers.
The parlamind omnichannel solution combines all the advantages of artificial intelligence mentioned above. Curious? Test the system risk-free with our free demo.
parlamind is a Berlin-based start-up for Artificial Intelligence in Customer Service. The parlamind AI understands incoming messages from customers on a semantic level and thus determining intents, specific content and the mood of the customer in the message. Equipped with these skills, the AI engages in customer dialogue independently and quickly carries out the associated processes. Latest research results from the fields of computational linguistics and machine learning form the basis for the continuous further development of parlamind AI technology. parlamind has been part of the 4TechnologyGroup since July 2018. The 4TechnologyGroup is an association of technology companies from the communications and AI sector. Today companies worldwide in the industries of e-commerce, information and communication technology, energy management, logistics and financial services use parlamind’s AI solutions. More than 20 employees work continuously on the further development and marketing of this unique technology “Made in Germany”.
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