Technology is great. It simplifies both our lives and our jobs. But in customer service, technology is only a conduit for information. It can’t deliver customer service all by itself. It can’t create a bond with customers all alone. And it can’t build a community of loyal customers—not without help from a customer service person (CSR).
Humanizing customer service, however, can do all of that and more. In other words, while technology helps deliver epic service, you still need humans to resolve critical customer issues. In short, humanizing customer service drives loyalty, word-of-mouth advertising, and business growth.
A recent customer service survey conducted by Genesys offered some interesting findings. “The Cost of Poor Customer Service” report shows that the most improvement requested by customers was “better human service.”
What’s more, an American Express study found that 67% of today’s customers hung up on a routine customer service call, frustrated they couldn’t talk to a real person.
Meanwhile, a report from Accenture Strategy’s “Global Consumer Pulse Research” says 83% of the customers surveyed prefer humans over digital channels when it comes to resolving customer service issues.
These statistics are telling. They show just how much customers prefer dealing with humans. It also shows something else: In the end, every customer is a human being explaining his or her problem to another human being.
Below are some tips on how you can build brand loyalty by humanizing customer service at your organization:
Your callers need to show your customers that they’re there to help them. So, they need to acknowledge their pain and empathize with them. Saying things like “That stinks doesn’t it,” “Here’s what I’m going to do for you,” or “Would that be okay with you” acknowledges the person and helps forge a bond between customers and CSRs. That bond is critical to building brand loyalty.
This effort is one of the simplest things your CSRs can do to help build that all-important bond between you and the customer. It’s also one of the most effective. So, make sure agents stop whatever else they’re doing and focus their full attention on the customer and his or her issue. When customers call, they just care about resolving their issues.
When customers call, they often feel helpless. Putting them on hold or staying silent doesn’t help. It makes them feel small and insignificant. To make customers feel like they’ve been heard, have your CSRs explain the actions they will be taking to help the customers. They don’t have to explain everything, just enough to make the customer feel their listening to them.
Most people would prefer not to have to call a customer service rep about an issue. So, your agents need to build rapport with customers during the initial conversation, resolve the issue, AND then make them feel like you want them to return. Saying things like: “If there’s anything else you need, feel free to call me. My name is Sabrina” motivates customers to return.
How many times have you reached a call agent only to have them tell you they need to transfer you to another department. Things like that irk customers. It makes them feel irrelevant and helpless. Make sure customers feel relevant by organizing your center. That way the customers reach CSRs that can help them the first time every time.
There’s no getting around it. Today’s customers demand a high degree of personalization—no matter what the transaction. To make them feel that way, make sure your agents have access to all the customer’s interactions with you. That way they can personalize the content with relevant information. You’ll make customers feel like you know who they are and what they want, as well as where they need to go to get their answers.
Technology simplifies our lives and our jobs. But when it gets in the way of humanizing your agent and your brand, it can hurt your business by making customers feel helpless, unwanted, and irrelevant.
Creating the right balance between technology and humanity, however, can help your customers feel wanted, relevant, and important. That, in turn, can build brand loyalty, drive word-of-mouth advertising, and generate dramatic business growth.