I’ve heard a lot about digital customer service solutions. Isn’t this just another way of saying that it’s omni-channel?
Digital customer service (DCS) consists of more than adding digital servicing channels to contact centers, which has slowly been happening for years. It’s about meeting customers in their channel (or channels) of choice and conducting an ongoing discussion with them which enhances the customer experience and builds brand engagement. Companies that are adopting DCS realize that they need to transform how they relate to and interact with customers. While phone-based service is dedicated to resolving issues during the first contact, referred to as first call resolution (FCR), DCS is about building a positive rapport with each customer that can continue throughout the customer life cycle. It’s a totally different mindset from traditional customer service. The goal of digital customer service is to reimagine customer engagement by leveraging the rich communication features inherent in each channel to elevate the customer experience and each company’s brand.
One positive outcome of the pandemic is that it has driven contact centers to invest in digital customer service solutions, generally as a complement to their existing phone-based environment. DCS offerings are substantially different than phone-based customer service offerings. DCS vendors have a different language; they talk about brands, not companies. They view DCS interactions as “conversations” that can start, stop and be continued at a later date, when the customer wants to resume the discussion. Persistence, which is a core feature of DCS, enables the conversation to retain context and history even when it changes channels or stops for a period of time. This allows customers to have an ongoing dialog with a company vs. individual contacts in different channels. Some DCS vendors believe that their solutions will replace the need for phone-based customer service and support, while others have come to a realization that calls are not going away for the foreseeable future, even if they become the channel of last resort.