When Offering Customer Service in the Modern Era, Don’t Forget the Human Connection
Yes, customer service is a massive industry that employees thousands of people across the country. Despite this, customers shopping in a wide variety of niches often feel ignored, and that their interactions with companies lack the human touch.
Well over three-quarters of all customers want to speak to a person one-on-one rather than relying on electronic communication when they have an issue they need resolved. Digital communication is fast and effective, but this doesn’t meet the most important needs as customers perceive them. When looking to find a company to model your own customer service on, look for those that have found a way to combine digital and human customer service methodologies to provide consistent and effective customer service no matter what the customer’s preferred contact method.
The trap lies in thinking that technology can replace human interaction. Instead, you should be finding ways that technology can augment human interaction. The two can be combined to really provide service that offers the best of both worlds. Think about the following points when learning how to optimize your own service offerings.
- Beware totally digitized solutions like chatbots. These types of solutions can absolutely provide a useful solution for very specialized situations, such as simplistic repeat requests. However, if you lean on them too much, your customers will long for human interaction. Make sure that if you implement this type of technology that there is an easy to see path for customers to request a transfer to a live agent.
- Make management understand the real priorities in customer service. Too many call center managers are only focussed on speed, with evaluations being based completely on how quickly calls can be churned through the queue. Although speed shouldn’t be completely disregarded, incorporating other metrics of success such as the quality of the discussion between an agent and a customer can help create a team that focuses on the type of human interaction that customers crave.
- Everyone should be identified in the customer service interaction. From an agent’s perspective, knowing who they are speaking to, and the customer’s history with the company, can help them provide far better, more personalized service. Proper use of CRM software to track customer records is the ideal solution with this goal in mind. For callers, knowing who they are speaking to, even if that is as simple as the agent providing their first name to the caller, can help create trust and a positive relationship at the outset of a call.
- Surprise your customers. This is something that more and more companies are getting wise to, and the Internet abounds with stories about companies that take this leap. If you can find ways to go far beyond the normal demands of customer service to surprise your customers and provide them with extraordinary service, not only will they always remember your company, but they will also tell others about the memorable service they received from you.
- Focus on resolving customer calls with the first point of contact. If you’ve ever sat on hold as your call was passed through three or more different agents, you know exactly what poor customer service feels like. By creating a team of dedicated, educated, and empowered agents who are able to solve customer requests without transferring them to higher ranking agents or other departments, you create a team that will leave their callers satisfied.