Great reopening blows a hole in digital service

Great reopening blows a hole in digital service.The return to in-person shopping has caused businesses to neglect the quality of their digital services, resulting in a 19% decrease in customer experience according to a Forrester survey. As consumers expect a balance between online and offline customer service, automation tools like chatbots will become crucial for businesses to maintain efficiency and improve customer satisfaction. Adopting chatbots early on will give businesses a first-mover advantage, as only 26% of organizations have implemented conversational AI for customer service on social and messaging apps.

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Hootsuite - Social Media Trends 2023

Great reopening blows a hole in digital service. A rapid return to in-person shopping makes businesses lose focus on digital customer service. Shoppers think the quality of customer service has dropped massively.

During pandemic restrictions and lockdowns,many companies successfully managed to navigate people’s increased need for digital shopping and services. Ecommerce, curbside pickup, and other online services boomed—and the businesses that successfully revamped their customer experience during the pandemic excelled into 2021. But as restrictions lift and shoppers return to brick-and-mortar stores, many businesses have failed to maintain the quality of their digital services over the last 12 months.

The overall quality of customer experience fell for more than 19% of brands, Forrester found in a survey of over 96,000 US consumers. Meanwhile, over- all customer satisfaction has dropped to its lowest level in 17 years—since the inception of Forrester’s Customer Experience Index. With the return of in-person shopping, brands have stopped focusing on digital services.

Why are consumers unhappy? They’re feeling neglected. During the pandemic, they became accustomed to shopping online—and while many have returned to in-person shopping, they still expect digital services to be available to them. Businesses can’t just go back to old ways of working and expect their customers to follow suit.

In 2023, businesses of all sizes will have to strike a better balance between online and offline customer experience to keep customers satisfied. Resource-strapped businesses turn to automation. That's tough news for many business owners who—after fighting tooth and nail to survive a pandemic—now face a confluence of supply chain challenges and declining sales as consumers rein in their spending.

For businesses looking to keep costs in check while boosting the efficiency of online services, cost-effective automation tools will be key in 2023. And customer service should be the high- est priority place to go about implementing automation. Chatbots and simple conversational AI tools can cut down support queues without raising headcount.

They allow you to instantly handle frequently asked questions and fulfill online orders. In 2023, these AI tools will become indis- pensable for businesses struggling to balance online and offline customer service. Overall customer satisfaction has dropped to its lowest level in 17 years.

Chatbot adopters poised to gain a massive first mover advantage Even among organizations that prioritize social customer service, conversational AI is still in its early stages. In our survey, only 26% of organizations that said they use social as a primary customer service channel told us they use chat - bots on social and messaging apps. And of the organizations that do use chatbots on social and messenger apps, more than half of them (53%) adopted chatbots at some point during the pandemic.

In 2023, the businesses that keep their focus on digital customer service stand to win out against those that don’t. Cost-effective chatbots are a quick win for those looking to better their online customer experience while shoring up expenses and limiting overhead in the short term. Over the long term, they’re a worthwhile investment for any business that wants to get out ahead with an emerging technology that’ll become common over the coming decade.