Using Technology to Improve Your Customer Service

Published on 11 April 2019

Photo of Stuart Varrall and Courtney Abell at SmartHub  Rockhampton

Technology has become the way we communicate and interact with each other. With the internet, it’s easier than ever to connect to your customers but with all this technology at our fingertips, what’s the best way to communicate with customers online? In a recent Hub Live, Courtney Abell sat down with SmartHub Member and Mentor Stuart Varrall to discuss how to improve the customer experience using technology.

Stuart Varrall is part of a company called Servian, a national leader in data and analytics consulting which is based in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Stuart has been working with Servian for just over a year now, although he has 10 years in the technology and consultancy space, including owning his own digital agency in the UK. Working with Servian has allowed Stuart to work with larger companies such as large financial institutions, telecommunications companies and government agencies. This has given Stuart new insights into how to approach his work and how to work better when using technology to reach a lot of customers.

The Use of Chatbots and Technology

With more and more people using online messaging platforms, chatbots are becoming an increasingly useful tool. Chatbots can be used to answer customer questions instantly, no matter the time of day or night and they can be reprogrammed at any time to reflect the needs of the customer. “One of the things that we articulate is the fact you are chatting to a bot. We’re upfront, so people who don’t want to talk to a bot can go back and wait in the customer service queues. However, if they’re happy to engage with a chatbot interface, then they can get the information they need a lot quicker,” said Stuart.

Chatbots can be integrated onto many platforms. You can create one within Facebook or WhatsApp, or use free chatbot creation software such as Dialogflow, found at Dialogflow.com. No matter how your company interacts with customers, there is always a way to integrate a chatbot into that flow, creating an easier way for people to engage with your business.

Another great feature of chatbots is that they can be an excellent source of data about your customers and the information they want from you. Chatbots provide a full log of everything that happened and the questions that people are asking. By taking this data, you can then retrain your Customer Service Agents to be able to answer these questions or update your website to have this information more easily accessible. The chatbots themselves can also be retrained quickly and easily to share new information that customers may be asking for.

Another valuable piece of wisdom Stuart shared was to engage with customers on the platforms they’re comfortable with. “Whether they’re on Facebook or Twitter, you need to have a presence on that platform and be able to respond on that platform,” He said. “If you’re measuring data, you should be able to adjust accordingly. If people are switching from Facebook over to Instagram to find your product, you can identify that and then focus your time and energy and money on that different platform where you’re getting most of your leads from. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify and see what works for your business.”

Working with the SmartHub

Stuart has been living in Rockhampton for nine months now, and was surprised at the amazing startup enterprises, as well as the talent and diversity in Rockhampton’s technology space. He was excited to get on board from the beginning of the SmartHub. “I’m a monthly member of the SmartHub, which means I can use the services on an ad-hoc basis when I need to. When I’m not working from home, I can come into the SmartHub and get a bit of people time and see what other businesses are doing.”

 

As well as being a member of the SmartHub, Stuart also acts as a mentor. He has been involved in both Startup Weekends and the SmartHub’s Lunch and Learn events. His years of experience make him a valued member with plenty of knowledge to share with other members and the wider business community. “It definitely works both ways. I’m learning so much from the other members as well,” he said. “Keep an eye on what’s happening at the SmartHub, because there’s always new events and things going on.”

 

If you’d like to join Stuart and become part of the growing SmartHub Community, please get in touch with the SmartHub online, on Facebook or just come to Customs House at 208 Quay St, Rockhampton to enjoy a tour and learn more about becoming a member.