The service industry has seen massive improvements over the past few decades, thanks to technological innovation. Businesses in the tertiary sector have leveraged AI, machine learning, data-driven insights, and other digital solutions to customer service and support problems. From the usage of video calls to real-time messaging, AI, and advanced customer relationship management, the tertiary sector has fully revamped from what it was years ago.
Technology has not only improved workplace efficiency but also reduced the need for human integration in many facets, like automating customer support messages or using software to receive recurring payments from customers. This article addresses eight ways technology has revamped the service industry.
- Video-based communication
The pandemic forced people and businesses to opt for remote collaboration through video-conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Although video calls were still in use before the pandemic, they were not common in professional environments. Therefore, the need for remote work solutions created a market communication gap that video-conferencing applications fulfilled. Despite many organizations returning to in-person settings, many still rely on video conferences instead of real-time collaboration as it is less time-consuming. Also, eye contact is essential for collaborative work, which video conferencing applications fulfill without face-to-face communication.
- Digitized payment solutions
Receiving timely payments is a dire need for every business, whether it is service- or product-based. Often businesses have to deal with late-paying customers, which disrupts the business flow, negatively affecting cash flow and revenue growth. With a recurring billing platform like BluLogix, it has become easier for merchants to receive payments on time. As a subscription-based billing partner, BluLogix reminds customers to pay on time and keeps their credentials safe. Billing software helps merchants like you manage a steady cash flow while recognizing revenue growth. Late payments disrupt finances and impact business relationships, primarily if you work in the service industry. With better payment options, your business becomes more accessible to customers, and there are more chances of increased market share.
- Cloud Computing
Cloud computing greatly contributes to how the service industry relays and processes information. The pandemic posed significant restrictions to business workflows as employees were no longer in a central location or working on the company’s server. Specifically, businesses that rely on collaboration, data sharing, and processing need a secure connection through which employees can collaborate. Through cloud computing, this was made possible. Companies can relay sensitive information quickly and safely. Team members who work remotely have access to cloud-based servers and can work and collaborate on projects quickly. Cloud computing also allows storing sensitive client data while securing it from potential cyber threats and attacks. Since cloud computing is subscription-based, it is also very cost-effective. It is used in a range of areas like customer relationship management, remote network management, or service delivery.
- Augmented Reality
Although abundantly useful for the service sector, augmented reality (AR) is not widely used. AR software and AR-engineered gear help improve workflows. For example, AR-enabled glasses help inspect field engineers on-site while giving field engineers instructions regarding project completion. AR has also made barcode or QR-code scanning easier. Restaurants, after the pandemic, opted for QR-menus to prevent the spread of germs and infections. Since most high-end and budget smartphones have built-in AR camera lenses, it is a valuable tool for the service industry.
- Virtual Reality
Just like AR, virtual reality (VR) has paved its way into the service sector, though it is not as widespread as expected. VR requires copious amounts of computing data and power, making it unfit for long-distance communication or usage. However, VR has allowed virtualized data centers to create where engineers can work on projects and tasks without access to the actual product or tools. The healthcare industry uses VR technology to provide prescription-based treatment to patients. For instance, the EaseVRx employs cognitive behavioral therapy and other medical interventions to provide pain relief for injuries and induce relaxation and introspective awareness among mental health patients. Some VR tools have enabled surgeons to work with medical devices or practice surgery virtually.
- Blockchain technology
Ten years ago, when Bitcoin surfaced, no one would have believed blockchain technology would change how e-commerce and businesses operate. Not only is it easier to make and process payments through cryptocurrencies, but the decentralized nature also makes the transactions safer. It might not seem like a stretch to state that blockchain technology might overtake the traditional banking structure. Despite not having a legal tender, cryptocurrency is widely used across the financial and business sectors. Another usage of blockchain technology is the creation of smart contracts. Blockchain technology reduces human intervention while speeding up payments and transactions, saving service-based businesses time and resources.
- Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI), despite its controversies and fears, has changed the way businesses in the service sector operate. At the forefront are chatbots that continue to replace human customer service representatives for B2B and B2C businesses. Chatbots risk outrunning human employees, but they impact business workflows tremendously. From handling day-to-day customer queries regarding order status, or product or service information, chatbots have proven cost-effective and efficient for customer service and support. Other uses of AI are in data processing through machine learning. Machine learning techniques help process and analyze complex data that businesses can use for data-driven decision-making. With AI tools and software, there is a reduction in calculation and mathematical errors.
- Sentiment Analysis
Customer-driven businesses use sentimental analysis and advanced analytical strategies to identify their target customer’s needs and preferences. Certain customer relationship management tools help gather valuable customer data, which helps with marketing and sales generation purposes. Through machine learning, businesses employ predictive analytical tactics to identify common responses and questions their potential customers might ask. Knowing this information helps businesses devise marketing strategies suited for their target audience to increase business growth prospects.
Technology’s intervention in the service sector has made customer support more efficient and personalized. As a result, businesses can better market their service or products to their target customer, increasing their likelihood of generating sales. Large corporations invest millions in research and development to improve their customer service experience. Though some have reservations about data, ethics, and privacy, it is hard to ignore the possible benefits of leveraging technology for service provision.