Nitin Badjatia, Senior Director of Product Strategy, Customer Service Management (CSM), ServiceNow, explored how customer experience (CX) professionals can use digital technologies to provide unprecedented customer service and experiences in his presentation to Argyle's CX membership at the 2018 Customer Experience Leadership Forum in San Francisco on March 22. In his presentation, "Delivering Service Excellence in a Digitally Enabled World," Badjatia offered insights to help CX professionals optimize the value of digital technologies.
Customer service plays an important role in how a company fosters relationships with its clientele. Yet few businesses understand how to use digital technologies to improve customer service and build long-lasting customer partnerships.
In some instances, businesses use digital technologies to explore ways to keep pace with customers. But companies may be best served using these technologies to analyze customer experiences.
"We don't have a problem in customer service around demand. But we need to figure out what to do with the demand … to keep customers happy," Badjatia said.
Digital technologies are changing the way that businesses drive revenue growth too.
"Customers now expect us to be ahead of the curve and know if there is going to be an issue. Or, they expect us to know an issue has occurred and expect us to solve for it."
In the past, companies focused on providing physical products and services to consumers. Now, digital technologies enable businesses to build subscription-based offerings. And as a result, subscription-based offerings require companies to deliver fast, efficient and real-time support to meet customer expectations.
"There is a shift in the way that the revenue model is delivered," Badjatia noted. "In the past, the vast majority of revenue was one and done … but in a subscription-based model, the way that you serve customers dramatically changes."
How companies adopt digital technologies can have far-flung effects. If a company deploys digital technologies to ensure it can provide outstanding customer service, it may be better equipped than others to fulfill customer requests. As such, this company could boost its earnings and customer satisfaction levels thanks in part to its use of digital technologies.
"Every company has a digital initiative," Badjatia stated. "[Digital] changes the way you think about customers. There is no longer that cost containment. Instead, customer service is about making sure there is adoption of a digital component."
A proactive approach to customer service can make a world of difference, regardless of a company, its size or its industry.
If a business can identify customer problems and immediately respond to them, this company could foster goodwill with its clientele. With digital technologies, a company now can detect customer issues as they happen and take the necessary steps to resolve them before they escalate. That way, a business can implement a proactive approach to customer service – something that may help this company differentiate itself from rivals.
"Customer service needs to be much more on offense rather than be in a defensive posture," Badjatia said. "Technology is always on and always connected. Companies know that, and customers know that as well."
A proactive approach to customer service enables a company to use all of the tools at its disposal to learn about customer problems in real-time. Next, a business can identify customer pain points and resolve these issues without delay.
"Customer service has traditionally been a back office operation, but that is no longer the case."
Digital technologies ensure businesses can learn about customer problems and understand when and why they happen. As companies collect data related to customer issues, they can proactively solve for these problems and prevent them from recurring.
"Customers now expect us to be ahead of the curve and know if there is going to be an issue. Or, they expect us to know an issue has occurred and expect us to solve for it," Badjatia stated.
As new technologies become available, customer service expectations are rising. Companies no longer can keep customer service as a back office operation. Conversely, businesses must integrate customer service into all aspects of their day-to-day operations.
"The bar is shifting … in customer service, and customer service itself must transform," Badjatia noted. "Customer service has traditionally been a back office operation, but that is no longer the case."
Many businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) technology to collect customer data, yet this technology alone is insufficient. Businesses instead require digital technologies that drive data analysis and ensure companies can learn about customer service issues.
"Customer relationship management is about tracking contact records and incidents," Badjatia pointed out. "But that's not where work gets done, and that's not where issues get solved."
Digital technologies can help companies find the best ways to engage customers. They also can help a company's employees learn about customers and discover the best ways to connect with them.
"We think the future is about making it as effortless as possible for customers and the employees that engage with them to work on what's meaningful and not work on logging a record," Badjatia said.
Nitin Badjatia serves as Head of Product Strategy, Customer Service Management (CSM), at ServiceNow. He's a two-decade veteran of enterprise customer service vendors and has held various sales and strategy roles at Siebel Systems, RightNow Technologies and Oracle. Nitin also led business strategy at Knova Software and is a founding board member of Customer Commons, a non-profit spinoff of Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center.