New Customer Service Survey Highlights the Importance of Human Interaction

Posted by Rodney Kuhn

6/11/15 11:47 AM

Customer_service_survey-045954-editedToday’s world of customer service—filled with digital and self-service channels like Web chat, co-browsing, SMS and in-store kiosks—looks entirely different than it did decades ago when customer service was characterized by a person-to-person experience, be it in-person or over the phone. The findings of a new survey conducted by J.D. Power, however, show that there is still a desire for that human touch, despite the surge of digital channels, especially when it comes to their banking experience.

Customers cited a number of reasons for preferring this human interaction, from being able to enjoy a face-to-face conversation to feeling safer with a human being processing their request.

For example, one survey respondent explained, “I like the personal touch of actually going in and talking to someone. Something larger like an actual paycheck I prefer to actually go inside and talk to the people there. It feels safer because phones, technology these days, [have] made things easier but [they have] made things a lot less secure.”

Even if your company doesn’t operate in the banking industry, the findings of this study should be telling for your customer service strategy, especially within the contact center. The 21st  Century contact center is inundated with digital service channels like email, text and Web chat that do not require the intimate touch of a human being—like hearing the tone of a person’s voice while partaking in a conversation over the phone.

Here are some ways to bring a heightened level of personalization to your contact center:

Get your agents on the same page: In talking to customers over the phone, agents are largely responsible for the impression that customers have of a brand. Therefore, it’s important that agents are on the same page regarding personable traits that are preferred and those that are not (i.e. tone of voice, word choice, questions asked). Consistent training, coaching and personal development exercises are necessary in order to achieve this unified front among your agents. For example, managers can send customized educational lessons to agents in between customer interactions so as not to distract or overwhelm them.

Throw out the scripts: According to a recent study conducted by Software Advice, the web-based hub for customer service software, nearly 70 percent of customers believe that the customer experience is improved when an agent does not sound like he or she is reading from a script. Supervisors can encourage agents to veer from their script from time to time. Or, they can provide their agents with more flexible or personal talking points to guide customer interactions. Nothing sounds less personable than a scripted conversation.

Don’t be afraid of your data: Leverage the stream of customer data that is flowing through your contact center regularly. This can include, for example, voice of the customer data, post-call survey data and qualitative data like the tone of a customer’s voice on a call recording. Utilize all of this data to hone in on your customer service strategy and to identify areas in which that person-to-person feeling can be enhanced.

Want to learn more about how to improve the customer experience and increase retention? Check out this blog.

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