The Importance of Digital Customer Service: Exceeding Customer Needs

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Customer service is an important component of every business, and its digital form has risen quickly as a career option with the growth of the internet. As more and more companies innovate, live online, and require customer interaction, the field spreads across industries and areas of interest.

The Evolution of Customer Service

Though digital today, customer service had much humbler beginnings. According to Salesforce, you can trace customer service as far back as 1793, when patrons traded copper coins for goods at stores. Operating similarly to a customer loyalty program, these patrons received the coins for shopping with a particular merchant and could later exchange them for other products. Throughout the 1800s, customers needed to visit a store in person if they wanted any type of support. It wasn’t until 1894, 18 years after the telephone was invented, that switchboards were invented and allowed people to call stores and receive support for their purchases. Call centers, interactive voice responses, and online shopping unrolled in the latter half of the 20th century, rapidly evolving customer service in a short period of time. Today, customer service happens through all forms of media and interactions, including digital platforms such as social media, email, third-party reviews, and other web apps.

Why Is Digital Customer Service Important?

Digital customer service may be the only contact a customer has with a company, so it’s important to make that interaction count. As customers’ lives are increasingly digital, companies must meet and serve customers where they are online: in apps, in live chat, by text. Explaining her emphasis on digital customer service, Vice President of Special Projects for Synergy Pharmaceuticals Liz Assad explains, “It’s a commitment to patients, community, employees, volunteers. Everybody that touches your business—that’s a consumer; that’s a customer. And everybody’s thought is just as important as the next person’s.”

Julia Streuli agrees, recognizing what companies can learn from their customers when they truly listen to feedback and focus on customer needs. “We have to kind of think about the role of business as benefitting people and communities. Especially business success has to be thought of as benefitting people,” says Julia.

Learn More About Digital Customer Service

Coming from a wide range of industries to attend the Forbes Women’s summit and discuss hot-button issues, these leaders analyze digital customer service, evolving business practices, and the role of innovation.




Written by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education

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