Keep the human touch in your customer care
Ever returned a product and wanted to know when you would get your money back? Or needed instructions of a product you bought but couldn’t find a telephone number on the company’s website? You scanned the contact page. No, only Facebook and Twitter icons, ah... and a chat box. That’s alright for simple and non-urgent issues but in some cases, you’d rather just deal with it now, immediately. Get it over with and move on. So, you keep searching... there must be a phone number somewhere on this page!
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Sometimes companies deliberately choose to only apply digital channels to support their customers. Reasons may be convenience, cost efficiency or because they believe it is the best channel for their target group. Question is: is it the best solution indeed? In all cases?
Even millennials prefer to call sometimes
Although having grown up with the internet and organizing every detail in life online, even millennials prefer that human touch or personal undivided attention sometimes.
Imagine you slashed your money box to buy this brand-new smartphone that just arrived. After unboxing your purchase, you want to get the settings in place as quickly as possible. All fine, until the moment you fail importing your contacts. Flipping back and forth through the quick set-up guide searching for information, you just cannot get this to work. Aaarghhh. Frustration is on its way. Time to pick up the phone to get that agent on the line to help you out.....”Hi, how can I help?” Bingo! Subsequently, you walk through the configuration together with the agent until your issue is resolved. These are classical moments of truth for turning frustration into satisfaction via human-to-human conversational contact.
Companies that block access by phone to their customer service and only offer contact through digital means (e.g. Twitter, Facebook), should not forget the open and public nature of these mediums. Everybody can read threads and find conversations with a hashtag of the company’s name. As long as all of your customers are totally happy with you all the time, there’s not much to worry about. Despite your efforts to do well, reality is different.
In some cases, discussions between customer and customer care have caused serious reputation damage. It is hard to pick up emotions through a digital conversation, let alone, respond in the proper way. Things can get out of hand easily when a customer shows his discontent online. Other people might agree and start sharing bad experiences as well. Before you know, you need to apply damage control instead of answering a customer’s question. In a phone call, there is more room to hear and respond to emotions. Also, it is a one-on-one conversation between just two people.
Advantages of digital support
So, is it a bad idea to use digital channels for customer service? No, of course not! Today’s technology offers great practical tooling to serve your clients. Also, the use of communities and social media can be of great help.
If all questions would be answered by human agents, it would require too many call center agents or keep customers waiting for too long. Also, it wouldn’t be cost-efficient, especially for simple and recurring questions. However, it is important to assess which questions (or target groups) can be best answered with which channel.
Attention never goes out of style
In response to the increasing level of automation, companies that go digital with that indispensable personal touch, tend to be more appreciated and successful than the ones that leave the human part behind. In the end, attention never goes out of style.