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At Oporteo, we’re champions of Digital Transformation across the wholesale industry and all that it entails. However, despite the rising adoption of ecommerce, there remain concerns that digitisation will weaken long-standing customer relationships. We’re aware that personal connections are just as important to customers as convenience. So how can you strike a balance to ensure that your tech investments meet your customers’ needs? 

Ecommerce has proven to be a vital business and customer service platform for wholesalers. Now more than ever, a customer’s journey begins and ends online, and there is an increasing number of customer service solutions to help. 

Popular customer service tech 
Customer Self-service solutions are now in everyday use by consumers. For example, there are self-service checkouts in retail, self-service ordering in restaurants, and even self-service check-in kiosks at airports. As a result, the global “Customer Self-Service Market” is forecast to reach $23.51 Billion by 2026. In addition, a survey by WBR Insights found that 67% of businesses are planning to implement self-service solutions. The goal of which is to enable customers to resolve common queries themselves.

However, despite the rising trend for self-service solutions, personal contact remains the primary preference for customers. 75% still choose to interact with a customer service person, even if they can get the answer quicker online.

Another fast-growing software is Chatbots, designed to help customers with queries instead of, or in conjunction with, human sales reps. Unfortunately, chatbot software can lack the nuances of human interaction. They can even cause further problems on the customer journey by creating bad experiences. For example, fixed responses in pre-programmed chatbots can be irrelevant and impersonal. Thus, forcing frustrated customers to speak to someone in person anyway.

Finally, in the past 12 months, we have seen a rise in AI content generators designed to create product descriptions, emails, sales copy and blogs at scale. However, a word to the wise. Like chatbots, the automated responses that these systems generate are often general and irrelevant. Without human intervention, businesses run the risk of publishing content that leaves customers confused and alienated.   

The impact of automated customer service on business
As you can see, bad deployment of customer service tech can sabotage the overall customer experience. For example, a recent study by HubSpot found that the shift to remote working is causing many B2B businesses to miss out on sales opportunities because customers cannot contact sales reps in person. In addition, 36% of buyers admitted giving up on their purchases altogether because they failed to reach a person who could help them. 

The importance of omnichannel to your customer service 
Having an omnichannel strategy is key to maximising your customer service capabilities, both online and offline. By enabling customers to choose whether they connect via phone, email, website or social media, you can serve them more effectively and minimise frustrations. Therefore, make sure that your customer service tools integrate seamlessly with your CRM systems to allow customer service reps to see channel communication easily.  

So, is customer service in wholesale at risk of losing the human touch? Not as long as customer service solutions are implemented to support a customer’s online experience and are not used as a catch-all customer service replacement. 

To find out more how Oporteo can amplify your customer service, please contact us


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