The Digital Age of Customer Service


Never has it been more critical to have a loyal clientele and be digitally connected with them than what we have experienced collectively over the past few months. If you didn’t pivot quickly and offer e-commerce on your site, get orders out to customers or engage actively with them on social media or FaceTime, the sad reality may be that your business has not fared well in the shutdown caused by COVID-19.1

There has never been a bigger event in history to derail our human touch-focused industry, while paradoxically creating a profound new appreciation for service industry professionals. Clients had to cobble together their own products and tools to color their own roots, wax their own body parts and attempt the removal of “dip” powder from their nails, all while maintaining the great progress you achieved on their skin (without being tempted to pick at their blemishes)!

We all had to learn to pivot and found ourselves quickly connecting with our customers in an entirely new level of personal engagement that included FaceTiming to teach them how to double cleanse with their sonic brush while they were in their bathroom, and providing multi-mask tips for the whole family. This digital engagement, however, may have just saved your small business through these dark, social distancing months.

So, now the dust has settled, and we are dealing with the new normal. It’s time to take a brave deep dive into the business and look at the operation with fresh eyes. What areas could be improved, fine-tuned and tweaked? What services need to go or be added? What vendors or suppliers truly supported you through the crisis? How many clients do you feel that you may have lost that will never return? How did you communicate with clients through this period and what did you learn? Should you add in more digital touchpoints to improve communication and elevate the customer experience? After all, customers may not only be more cautious about their spending but more demanding now around how well they are treated and appreciated.

The Importance of Customer Service

Customer service is one of those areas where we often have misconceptions. Although companies think 21% of customers leave due to a dissatisfaction with customer service, the real number is around 73%.2, 3, Companies think that 48% leave because of price, when in fact, according to the customer perspective, this happens only 25% of the time.4

Customer service will either enhance or degrade customer loyalty to your business. With the economy now being what it is, your clients have more alternatives than before. The business that proves to be responsive to customer questions, complaints or other needs can gain a clear competitive advantage. That’s why it’s so important to understand how new technologies can help you anticipate customer needs and tailor business processes to best serve your customers.

Why Digital?

Digital customer experience is the amount of interactions between customers and brands or businesses taking place on digital platforms such as mobile, desktop, iPads or other tablets.5 This is where people who have grown up in the digital age (digital natives), want to get answers and communicate. Digital technology has changed customers’ expectations, and digital natives intend to get what they want almost the exact moment they want it. They are also more market-savvy, comparing the prices of services and products all while checking your online reviews. We have to be fast, react quickly and gain resolution to issues, which can be overwhelming for the small business owner who may have their own clientele to manage too. But, there are ways we can use digital to improve customer service.

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Read more on the basics of customer service as well as a breakdown of tips for social media, live chat, online booking and more in our Digital Magazine...


Annet King is vice president of business development for Bio-Therapeutic. She served as the senior director of global education at Dermalogica for 19 years and most recently as the vice president of global education for Elemis.

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