Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Guest Blog: Digitalizing Customer Service for 2018

This week we feature an article by Gemma Baker who writes about how the customer service world has changed with the development of digital communication channels. – Shep Hyken

It is no secret that customers are turning towards digital communication channels when contacting organizations. This is expected to grow, as over the next 5 years it has been predicted by Gartner that phone interactions will drop from 41% to 12% as consumers keep going digital[i]. Businesses that already have a strong digital customer service strategy in place are steps ahead of the competition, however here’s how you can catch up in 2018.

Provide a Quicker Answer

For customers that have questions and need an answer from an organization, it used to be a quicker method for them to phone a company and risk being placed in a queue or on hold, rather than wait for a response via email.

Nowadays, companies can provide the answers in more cost-effective and productive ways. Firstly, an organization’s website should provide the main and vital bits of information that visitors will want to know, including exactly what the business provides. Next, a company should offer a knowledge base or access to frequently asked questions. Supplying these answers on the website, can decrease the organization’s representatives’ involvement and therefore save resources. Encouraging self-help can also increase visitor satisfaction as they receive the information they required quickly and easily.

For inquiries that cannot be fully answered via the website, visitors will then look for a contact method. It is advisable to have multiple details displayed as visitors will have a preferred method, and this allows them to choose. However, businesses should ensure that web chat is one of the communication channels offered, as it instantly connects a visitor to a representative in real-time. Web chat software allows visitors to continue browsing the website whilst receiving a quick response.

Human vs Bot

Gartner also reported that by 2020, 72% of customer interactions will involve an emerging technology such as machine-learning applications, chatbots or mobile messaging, up from 11% in 2017.

This type of technology is still very juvenile and even the top tech giants such as Facebook were receiving high failure rates during 2017. Even by 2020, a human agent will still be involved in 44% of all interactions, as visitors will not only have a preferred communication channel, but many will still prefer to speak directly with a human representative. There will also be cases where chatbots and automated knowledge bases will not have the relevant answer and someone will need to step in to further the inquiry.

Therefore it is advisable that businesses do not fully switch to AI controlled customer service, but look at areas that they can begin to automate in 2018. This can be anything from automatic emails being sent after a visitor has made a purchase; replies being suggested to a live chat representative to use based on the visitor’s message or signposting visitors throughout the website by automatically suggesting pages they may want to take a look at, depending on what page they are viewing.

The world is charging towards digital, if companies do not strengthen their digital customer service strategies during 2018, they can be at risk of being stampeded by the competition.  It doesn’t take much to step in the right direction and begin improving the customer journey. Start by organizing questions frequently asked by your visitors to form a foundation for a knowledge base, or take a look at free web chat software trials.


Gemma Baker is the Marketing Executive for UK web chat software provider, Click4Assistance, with a range of digital knowledge within PPC advertising, SEO practices, email campaigns and social media.

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to

Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: To Infinity And Beyond: What If Disney Ran Your Company?


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