In a recent article, Jeff Toister discusses how self-service (websites, portals, automation, etc.) has made things easier, but it also takes out the human factor in the customer experience. The more technology is used to streamline the customer journey, the less interaction people experience with friendly customer service agents. People want the customer experience to be easy and fluid, but there will always be times when customers are frustrated with a product or service and need empathy and validation from real, human agents. Toister offers and elaborates on the following five ways companies can humanize their customer service:
1) Establish a customer service vision to unite the company.
2) Find creative ways to make connections with customers in ways you normally wouldn’t. Toister gives examples in his article.
3) Increase call center agent staff and put emphasis on first contact resolution to reduce time constraints and pressure on agents.
4) Develop your agents’ connecting skills with the “10 and 5 Rule” and the “Five Question Technique”. Learn more about these techniques here.
5) Scripting is necessary much of the time, but Toister points out that requiring agents to follow strict scripting can remove the human touch from the customer experience and could potentially cause more issues than the customer initially had prior to calling the company. Toister’s recommendation is to create procedures that allow for conversational communication.
Why Human Agents Are Still Necessary In The Customer Experience
Toister’s five points shine a light on ways companies can humanize customer interactions in an increasingly automated self-service world. However, the reality of pain and frustration needs to be taken into account with the customer experience. How many times have you, or someone you know, called a company because a product or service wasn’t working correctly only to become more frustrated than before due to an interaction with an automated response or an IVR system? Technology can be a great thing and help make contact centers more efficient, but in moments of anger and frustration, customers often need to talk to a human agent.
Human customer service agents can help frustrated customers more than automated service bots. By making customers jump through hoops, companies often agitate the problem further and make the interaction terrible when the customer does finally reach an agent. When a customer calls fuming because they’re unhappy with a product, service, mistake, etc., they aren’t asking for simply a solution to their issue, they’re seeking empathy and a listening ear. Contact centers with agents who have been trained using real-world examples and immersive techniques will be equipped to handle the intricacies of human communication and offer the right help for individual situations. In addition, contact centers that allow their agents flexibility with their customer conversations without requiring strict adherence to scripts will see an overall happier customer base.
This blog post is based on an article from Jeff Toister of Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.. To read the original article, please click the link below:
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