How to Balance Humanity and Technology in Customer Service

Increasing your customer retention rates by just 5% can boost profit margins by 95%.

Customer service can’t be just an afterthought in running a successful business. To stay ahead of the competition, and drive a successful brand, you need to know how to give your clients interactions they’ll never forget.

These days, technology is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your CX (Customer experience) campaigns. Whether it’s a chatbot for 24/7 service, video conferencing for face-to-face intimacy, or big data for contextual conversation, technology has a lot to offer.

The question is, how do you make sure your digital enhancements don’t drain humanity from your support offering?

Can you unlock the benefits of the latest tools, without becoming too robotic?

It’s possible — but you’ll need to keep the following ideas in mind.

1. Never Underestimate Face-to-face communication

Instant messaging is convenient, and phone calls are a cost-effective way to keep customers and colleagues up-to-date. However, nothing creates more of a human connection than face-to-face interaction.

Although meeting with all of your clients, one-on-one might not be a possibility in the current marketplace, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the benefits of face-to-face conversations. Video conferencing is becoming increasingly accessible thanks to services that deliver video via WebRTC interfaces and quick cloud connections.

Something like Deltapath Mobile Video Contact Center will allow businesses to deliver personalized video over mobile applications whenever and wherever they need to communicate with clients. The benefits of these visual interactions?

  • Better relationships built through eye contact: Studies show that eye contact strengthens the bonds that we feel towards both strangers and friends.
  • Improved context in conversations delivered via subtle nuances like body language. Tense shoulders and a furrowed brow on video shows you that the person you’re speaking to is more stressed than their tone would indicate.
  • The ability to “show” instead of tell. With video, you can walk someone through how to use a product step-by-step, actually showing them the actions you’re performing as you go.

2. Be There for Customers When they Need You

Many companies assume that the easiest and most efficient way to communicate with customers these days is through instant messaging. Many younger customers prefer instant chat to email, phone, or even video calls.

Instant messaging supplemented with 24/7 support from chatbots ensures that you can always be there for your audience when they have questions that need answering. Chatbots can be there for your clients when the rest of your customer service team is sleeping. What’s more, they never get frustrated by answering the same questions over and over again.

However, instant chat and AI aren’t all you need for effective customer support. While these tools are excellent for answering basic questions or making FAQ experiences more interactive, your customers may also need human assistance at times too. Be sure your chatbot is capable of meeting customer requests, or you risk creating a frustrating experience for your customer.

To give your community the best of both worlds, make sure they know when your service team is available, and give them an easy way to upgrade their conversation to a human interaction when necessary. A “click to call” button on your chat app is all it takes to ensure that a frustrated consumer can find help when they’re not getting the right response from a bot, or when they need more clarity than they can get via instant messaging.

The arrival of more AI and self-service in the customer support space doesn’t mean that human interactions are no longer necessary. Many people prefer to deal with human beings when they’re talking about complicated issues. However, supplementing your human team with technical support will mean that your employees are more capable of serving customers when bots aren’t enough.

3. Bring more Data into the Conversation

Technology has the power to make your conversations more contextual. It’s the difference between an agent stepping into a conversation with a client with no background knowledge, and the same agent having a complete profile to guide them.

75% of customers say that they despise repeating themselves during customer interactions. That means that by the time a client reaches your customer service team, you should know as much as possible about them.

The only way to give your support team this power is to provide them with technology that can aggregate user data from various parts of the buying journey. For instance, your inbound call center solution should integrate with your CRM application and your instant messaging tools, so that your agents know all about a client by the time the phone rings. Integrating the right tools will give agents data like:

  • Where a customer comes from
  • What their name is
  • What the last product they purchased was
  • Any support or service cases open
  • Quotation sent
  • When any warranties are about to expire or mandatory maintenance is due

Something as simple as being able to greet your client by name and talk about the previous product they bought without prompting is enough to transform the customer service experience. Not to mention, if there are outstanding complaints, proactively ask whether the customer is calling in in regard to this complaint, it would mean night or day to the customer.

Make Customer Success Part of your Brand

Ultimately, most customers won’t mind what technology your teams are using to serve their needs, as long as they get a solution to their problems quickly. With that in mind, the best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to stay focused on delivering the outcomes your customers need.

How do you do that?

Listen to your audience.

Through social media listening tools, you can collect information about what people say when they’re talking about your brand. Are you too slow to answer the phone? Is it difficult to get hold of a rep when your customers need one? Remember, 83% of customers trust the opinions of their peers when making purchasing decisions.

You can also use your UC system and insights from your sales teams to find out what kind of questions your customers ask most so that you’re prepared to offer faster assistance. Something as simple as a knowledge base where you can provide solutions to customer queries can give your brand a stronger reputation.

The more you listen to your audience, the easier it will be to determine what you need to do to improve your CX strategy with a blend of both human skill, and technology.