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How to Use Data to Meet the Demand for Personalised Customer Service

Woman wearing a headset, looking into a monitor and typing on a laptop, delivering customer service. / customer data in contact centers
When your agents have the right data at the right time at their fingertips, they can focus on the human side of service. [BONNINSTUDIO / Stocksy]

Using the data that your customer service reps already have, your team can provide empathetic care for complex issues, and rely on automation to handle simple requests.

We live in an age of data abundance. It comes from all angles and all channels — and it’s the key to creating the personalised engagement your customers want. 

The challenge for businesses isn’t just capturing this data but activating it efficiently and effectively so you can provide the best possible customer experience. A company’s customer support centre is often a goldmine of data but without the right tools and strategy, making sense of it (let alone using it to improve the customer experience) can seem like mission impossible.

So where to begin? How can businesses wrangle the multitudes of data gathered by their customer service teams to build personalised customer relationships

Start with these four tips to help you build and navigate your data-driven customer service strategy.

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1. Use automation to power personalised customer service

When your team has the right data at their fingertips, they can focus on the human side of service. They will spend less time looking up and assembling data and more time using that data for empathetic problem-solving

Meanwhile, automation gets the bots working on what they are best at, such as providing quick responses and recommendations at the perfect time. 

Customers want fast, empathetic service. They want human-to-human interaction. But they also want to solve their issues as quickly as possible. You can help them do that through tools like self-service and intelligent bots, and save the humans for the things that humans do best: resolving the complex issues that couldn’t be handled any other way. 

Indeed, the State of the Connected Customer report shows that self-service is becoming increasingly popular. Fifty-eight percent of customers have used chatbots for simple services, up from 43% in 2020. And 65% of customers have used self-service account portals, up from 59%. And while all age groups are embracing self-service for simple cases, Millennials are particularly notable in their willingness to take case resolution into their own hands when possible — 66% prefer self-service for simple cases.

Automation goes beyond the realm of self-service, however. At Fisher & Paykel, for example, all communications are automated so customers are informed at every stage of the purchasing journey, whether it’s appointment reminders, supplying warranty information, or creating seamless return processes.

And at nib, automation is key to boosting efficiency so service agents can focus on the customer experience, not admin. With Service Cloud, for example, voice calls are transcribed in real time so agents don’t have to take notes. And, where the customer is overseas, transactions can be completed in the local language using real-time translation services. 

The upshot? Technology can empower the best kind of customer experience, so investing in self-service and automation means the conversations that end up being routed to agents will be issues that need to be handled by humans. And that’s good news for businesses and their customers — the State of the Connected Customer report shows 96% of customers say excellent customer service builds trust and 94% say a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to purchase again.

2. Use customer data to meet customers on their terms

Customer support teams lose valuable time taking a “piecemeal” approach to gathering and using customer data. What if they had a single view of all data in one place, regardless of the channel on which the customer reaches out? This omnichannel approach enables your agents to deliver better, more efficient service. 

Omnichannel means delivering a consistent customer experience across every channel, from self-service and messaging to voice and video to field service. Connecting every interaction on one platform enables you to use customer data to provide a personalised, seamless experience. 

This unlocks new levels of customer happiness and lowers cost to serve. Remember — personalised service isn’t just good for customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, it’s also faster. When a customer can’t solve their problem with self-service, you can easily step in to help them, without forcing them to start from scratch. 

At Fisher & Paykel, great customer service is predicated on having a 360-degree view of the customer — a view that’s available and connected to every department. A customer can connect with Fisher & Paykel on any channel or platform and be confident the department that responds has immediate and up-to-date access to that 360-degree view. This tracks with research from the State of Service report, which shows 73% of high-performing service agents say they have a complete understanding of customer needs, whereas 46% of underperformers say they often lack context about customer requirements. And the high performers are more likely to describe their relationships with other departments as connected rather than siloed. For Fisher & Paykel, Customer 360 plays a critical role in ensuring a high level of seamless connection and data unification.

3. Continuously improve service across all channels

Making the most of your customer data means continuously improving service. Can you learn from what you’ve done to make the customer and agent experience even better? 

Voice — actually talking to a person — is a key part of this. The State of Service report shows that 81% of service professionals say the phone is a preferred channel for complex issues. But voice doesn’t improve service unless you’re gathering and analysing data from your conversations.  

What are your customers asking about? Which of your agents are fantastic listeners, and reflect your brand values? Which knowledge and workflows are most useful in solving customer issues? 

Treat the recordings and transcripts of your customer calls as a goldmine of data, not just a quality compliance checklist. And remember, automation is your best ally here too, with automated transcripts and real-time translation services providing accurate records and greater productivity for service agents. 

At the end of the day, all of this data helps you put into place the next wave of automation that improves your customer experience and reduces the cost to serve.

4. Real-world example: Fisher & Paykel uses data automation to streamline processes and boost efficiency

At Fisher & Paykel, field service was once their most expensive and time-consuming operation — involving piecing together disparate information across teams, departments and customers. 

CRM and automation has turned that around by integrating data, eliminating vague wait times and unresponsive agents, and keeping customers informed at every step. 

The company has integrated field management tools into its service stack so each customer has an end-to-end experience. Self-service powers easy online booking and rescheduling and ensures a customer will get a technician who can help with their specific issues at the time they select. 

And customers haven’t been the only winners. Implementing a field management tool has boosted efficiency and seen the number of jobs completed rise by 20–30%.

Trust your data to improve the customer experience

We already know that data-driven companies perform better by almost every metric. By creating a data-driven culture within your service organisation, you’ll be able to make the most of the data you have through automation and omnichannel engagement. 

Remember: there’s no single way to do it, and your data will always be unique to you and your company so use what you have to create the personalised experiences that will keep your customers coming back for more.

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