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One year after social distancing, 68% of small and medium companies plan to deploy digital customer support channels

By Marcell Rosa

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Forget the time when the pressure to innovate or invest in digital tools was for big companies. Nowadays, small and medium business face the same level of competitiveness as large corporations, since everyone is going through the digital turning point. For many SMEs, this transformation goes beyond expanding the business to the online environment. It can mean to exist only and exclusively in it. Therefore, 67% of these companies globally claimed to have acquired new tools or processes last year, accelerating the adoption of new technologies by 50%, according to the survey. CX Trends 2021 from Zendesk.

Observing all these changes and the impact they have generated on the consumption behavior of Brazilians, I share three steps that I consider important to accelerate the Scan organizations and that can be key to adapting to the new reality.

  1. Make life easier for customers

Sell ​​facilities. Consumers always look for simple and practical solutions when they resort to a virtual and interactive channel of the company. This goes for shopping, paying a bill, ordering a meal, scheduling a medical appointment or even attending an online class, among so many other activities that technology has brought into our homes.

All of this made the ruler of the customer experience go up. And these experiences, even from a distance, need to be as good (or even better) than face-to-face interaction. After a year in social isolation, SMEs understood the message and 68% plan to implement new digital customer support channels this year.

But the choice of channels must pass through the preference of consumers, which means being where they are. And most of them are in the messaging channels, such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, for being convenient and practical. It was no coincidence that the use of WhatsApp has grown 365% among Latin American SMEs since the beginning of the pandemic.

  1. Make support your trusted source of information

In order to deliver a good customer experience, it is also necessary to look carefully at the company's internal processes. It is no exaggeration to say that the CX is directly related to the EX (employee experience). The employee who acts as a support agent needs the right tools to view customer information holistically and be more effective in service. Without this technological support, the interaction with customers through the various channels will be much more confusing and full of interruptions.

The data collected from interactions with customers is extremely strategic for this, and is a way to offer truly unique and personalized experiences, as 92% of Brazilian consumers expect to receive today. For this reason, growing SMEs, which have an increasing volume of customers at their base, should prioritize a unified work area that allows them to view conversations in all interaction channels and with each customer's history. Liv Up, a healthy food startup, for example, adopted this strategy in its support area. Many of the questions received become insights for the other teams of the company to understand the real needs of customers and make adjustments to the products and services offered.

  1. Investing in empathy

According to a survey of the McKinsey & Company, 70% of the shopping experience is measured by how the customer is treated. Among Brazilian consumers, 80% expect empathy from service agents; 70% seek values ​​such as diversity, equality and inclusion of companies; and 78% charge them for social responsibility.

Having a good relationship with customers also means respecting them in a genuine way, including from the door to the inside. And part of this is a reflection of how they will be treated by the company's various points of contact, which, in turn, reflect the internal culture. A socially engaged company that seeks empathy in its relationships (whether with customers, employees or other audiences) generates value for the brand, friendliness and customer loyalty, which results in the longevity of the business.

Implementing best service practices and reaching the digital turning point need not be complex. Quite the contrary: simplicity, a characteristic so common to small businesses, must be present at all stages of this journey of transformation. The first step is to recognize this need and the second is to take the initiative to do something about it. And, if we are talking about digital reality, it is time to meet the wishes of this client in 2021.