Today, customer service is constantly changing towards automation. Customers save time through self-service options, such as interactive voice response (IVR); they find answers on websites’ FAQs; and they chat with bots through messaging applications.
The technology is certainly transforming the customer experience for greater efficiency, but what about the human touch? Indeed, there are still customer service agents behind the automation, but if customers cannot feel their presence, get the security of human support when needed, and feel understood as people, the brand-customer relationship could be affected. Customer service has always sought to establish relations, so finding a balance between digital optimization and human care is key to an excellent customer experience. How can we add a human touch to customer service in our digital age?
No matter how technologically advanced the automated options, agents should always be accessible. A recognized American Express study found that 67% of customers hung up the phone due to the frustration of not being able to communicate with a live agent. When the service issues are complex, many customers prefer the option to interact with a person to get a more complete service. Therefore, it is important to offer customers the security of direct support when needed to give a truly human touch.
The first step to provide customers with a personalized experience is addressing them by name. In all contact channels, agents must ask the customer’s name during service interactions, and brands must always address them by name in marketing offers. Similarly, agents must introduce themselves at the beginning of each interaction to make the customer experience more natural and human.
Customers appreciate a friendly agent, especially if you use a simple and clear language. Sometimes customer cases are complex and require some technical explanations; nonetheless, agents must make every effort to explain in simple terms, and verify that the customer understands. It is important to treat customers as intelligent people, but to make information more easily understood is part of providing great service – and it will save you time in the long run.
Fundamental to providing a human touch in customer service is to recognize the agents who are in front of it. To provide the best service, they must feel empowered and be armed with the right skills. Training them in social skills is essential to help them succeed in more humanized interactions with customers, and enabling them to master technologies can help them develop confidence in their roles and provide the best service possible.
Assign agents to tasks that match their specific skills.
While skills can be taught, companies must also recognize the unique personalities and specialized skills of customer service agents. Assigning agents to the departments and functions that best fit their natural talents is vital. For example, an agent who enjoys the spontaneity and proactive nature of social networks could be assigned to those channels, while a persuasive agent could be assigned to cross-sell sales.
Giving customer service a human touch ensures meaningful experiences. A great customer experience begins with good human interactions, and signs that this aspect is taken seriously are more likely to create and maintain long-term relationships with customers.