Lately, industry automation – that is, when a technological process replaces a task once done by people – is a topic that’s dominated news outlets. Construction will be automated, stories say. Driving will be automated. Service at restaurants will be automated, too.
But robots can’t replace customer service. At least, that’s what a new survey from B2B research and reviews company Clutch says. In a study of 468 people who called a business with an issue, the chance to speak to a live person was the top priority of all callers.
Here’s what we found:
To recap that data: no matter who customers interact with, the chance to talk to a real, live person is key. Customers also place importance on friendliness and easy communication. If your business interacts frequently with your customers – and if you’re reading this blog, it probably does – make sure to keep these data points in mind when deciding how you’ll handle customer service scenarios, whether over the phone, chat, or email.
Now that we’ve covered what customers want when they’re seeking the kind of help WOW24-7 provides, let’s explore some ways your business can provide the best customer service possible.
Customer support software can put both current and potential customers in contact with you – and it can do so fast.
It may seem counterintuitive to say customer service can’t be automated and then recommend a technological tool, but here’s the key: customer support software saves time and effort for service reps, making them more effective.
Managing customer support over email or a single phone line can be a headache, so these tools convert all incoming requests to tickets. Then you can categorize and prioritize the tickets in order to help customers in a logical order.
You can also automate some of these tasks so that you and your team devote more time to actually helping customers, not figuring out how to provide that help.
WOW24-7 uses Freshdesk, a customer support tool with clients like Honda, 3M, and Cisco. Freshdesk is multi-channel, which makes keeping track of all tickets a cinch.
Yes, it’s possible to leave parts of the customer service process in the hands of the aforementioned tools. But make sure you have people at the ready who can handle requests a computer just can’t understand.
Let’s say you run a chain of pet supply stores. A customer starts browsing your website, looking for food to get her cat, which has special health needs. She finds a product she likes, but she’s not sure if her pet can eat it, so she calls your customer service number. The customer reaches an automated phone menu and can’t figure out how to talk to an employee. Frustrated, she buys from a competitor.
Now imagine that your company had an answering service in addition to an automated phone menu. After a few seconds, an employee from the answering service would pick up the call. That employee would either answer the customer immediately or write down her question for your company to address as soon as possible.
The customer’s interacted with a person and been assured that her question matters. She’s much less likely to buy from your competitor now.
Whether you field your own customer support team or outsource to another company, remember that the people you pick will act as your company’s voice. Look for a trio of traits – friendliness, conscientiousness, and willingness to solve problems – in each of your representatives.
Since friendliness is a top priority for callers who speak to a human customer service representative, make sure your employees come across as pleasant and reassuring over the phone. A human touch can calm an angry customer.
“Customers think, at first, that they’re not talking to a real person. They ask, ‘Are you a live human being?’” says Maya Momotok, CEO and co-founder of WOW24-7. “When we say, ‘Yes, we’re real,’ they provide more information. We get honest answers.”
Friendliness and honesty will provide the welcoming attitude Maya prioritizes.
In addition, choose employees who are detail-conscious and good at solving problems on the fly, as Zendesk suggests. Each customer is unique, and finding solutions can involve both deep knowledge of your company and the intelligence to use that knowledge in various scenarios.
Clutch’s data indicates that customers prefer to interact with actual humans. That is, they prioritize a conversation with a pleasant, effective customer service representative who seems like he cares.
Finding the right customer support tool, refraining from automating every process, and hiring the right employees can go a long way towards providing the most effective customer service interactions for your company.
Elizabeth is a content writer and marketer at Clutch, a B2B research firm in the heart of Washington, DC. Connect with her on LinkedIn, or reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.