As the world heads towards digitalisation, we can find that more and more functions are becoming automated. While automation and AI can be helpful for companies, basic online self-help functions are simply not enough to address all the issues or inquiries that customers have. Bernard Slowey, worldwide lead for digital customer support at Microsoft, believes more needs to be done to ensure customer satisfaction.
Slowey believes that organisations need to evolve to have dedicated teams that are focused on the digital customer experiences, and that ignoring this step is a sure-fire way for a brand to ruin their reputation.
“A lot of companies treat digital as a bolt-on to their support organisations,” said Slowey. “They have teams of people focused on call centres and improving minute-per-incident and handle-time for voice calls with customers, but then digital support is considered as a bolt-on.”
According to Slowey, Microsoft began to take this step in early 2019 but building a digital customer support department, which Slowey leads. From the outset, the tech giant set the goal for the digital customer support team to fund itself in the first year. This would be achieved from the savings the team would accumulate by solving customer issues digitally and thereby reducing the volumes shouldered by more expensive support channels. Slowey also mentioned that within the first year of this experiment, his department achieved three times the return of investment (ROI).
He also explains that many brands often underestimate the value of such dedicated customer support teams. They would usually assume that the digital customer experience are only about shrinking a brand’s traditional support volume. Instead, Slowey says that digital support is all about giving customers choice.
“If you implement and manage digital support really well, yes, you will probably reduce support volume, because the majority of people want to digitally self-serve, but the intentions behind digital are rooted in giving customers choice on how they wish to interact with your brand,” said Slowey.