Anyone who has called a customer service line before knows that it can be an unpleasant experience. Often there is a huge discrepancy in what companies say they are delivering in customer service and what the customer receives on their end. So, it’s a good thing that customers are becoming increasingly empowered in how they access and learn about the marketplace itself. Through social media and tools like online cost comparisons, customers can see exactly how businesses do business. Because of this new transparency, businesses’ customer service technologies are crucial to building — and keeping — their client base.

Engagement on every platform

One approach to improving these services is by increasing flexibility for the customer. How? Taking customer service to the cloud. For example, through cloud technology, companies can take services that were once restricted to the computer and provide them on every digital platform, thus improving business-customer engagement.

“The key of the cloud is to be able to access your data from anywhere, anytime,” says Kevin O’Leary, prominent co-host and investor on “Shark Tank.” With this flexibility, customer service and tech support can respond faster and more efficiently.

“If you have a customer, regardless of geography, you can get a lot of profile data about the experience they’re having with your product and service,” explains O’Leary. “As you build that data, the value of that customer goes higher and higher for you.”

“Having data and not having the ability to analyze or manage it is useless.”

This is where customer retention comes into play. The better equipped you are to provide service to a loyal customer, the more likely they are to stay with you. With the benefits associated with using the cloud, you can first attract them, but then, perhaps even more importantly, you can maintain the relationship, increasing the value of your business.

Elevate your standing

“There is no question that if you are able to score in the top quartile of customer service, quarter after quarter, the value of your brand goes through the roof,” says O’Leary. This crucial aspect is somewhat new for businesses, as social media now provides customers with the ability to either praise and rave about certain experiences or detail their negative reviews — all for other potential and current customers to read. However, businesses can also take advantage of the information provided by these conversations and adapt to the needs of their client base.

“When you launch something new, whether it is being accepted or not, you need to know why,” says O’Leary. “You definitely need to be monitoring this. The cloud lets you do that instantaneously.”

Digest the data

To get the most out of the cloud and social media data management, the question becomes: Do businesses need to invest in analytic solutions, or can they just rely on a database which provides access to user data on the go? According to O’Leary, “It’s not just enough to collect the data. You have to actually be able to manage it and get useful information from it.” For this, there are multiple dashboards available to cut and review data in multiple ways to maximize benefit.

“Having data,” O’Leary says, “and not having the ability to analyze or manage it is useless.”