How to keep the human element in customer service
A shocking 59% of consumers say that companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. The “human element” refers to the possibility of a genuine connection between a customer and a service agent emerging during a customer service interaction. It’s vital that these connections are established with customers, as they can massively improve customer loyalty and increase retention.
A company seeking to restore this element in their customer service teams should ensure two things. First, the company must offer a personalised service experience. Secondly, they must establish a customer service team based around human staff instead of automation. Whilst there is a place for digital solutions, a bond cannot be created between a service team and the customer without some kind of human interaction.
In this article, we’ll look at what makes human beings so important in customer service and how companies can offer a personal customer service experience. Read on to find out more.
Why the human element is so important in customer service
Around a third of consumers say that the most frustrating part of a bad customer service interaction is not being able to speak with a human being. Including real people in a customer service strategy is therefore a massive factor for ensuring customer satisfaction. Here are some other reasons why the human element is so important:
Unsurprisingly, 72% of customer service directors say that empathy is an important skill in a customer service agent.
All customers will appreciate some level of empathy, especially in complaint handling, because it shows that the customer service representative (and therefore the company) has a genuine interest in that customer’s problems. Empathy is also very important when dealing with vulnerable customers or sensitive situations, as these are particularly personal or difficult interactions that require considerable emotional intelligence.
Training and careful recruitment are some of the best ways to build an empathetic customer service team. Companies should consider investing more time and money into hiring, to ensure they can find individuals with a genuine interest in solving people’s problems.
Without empathy — a key customer service skill — a company may find it difficult to keep the human element in their customer service.
Including the human element in customer service is desirable for companies because it encourages customer loyalty. Statistics show that real people manning the phones is hugely important to customers, with 75% of customers saying they’d prefer to speak with a human being over an automated system.
Customers prefer interacting with human staff because that’s the only way an opportunity to experience a human element in customer service can arise. A chatbot might be helpful to interact with, but available technology does not yet allow for any meaningful connection to arise during a chatbot interaction.
Customers’ preference for real people can even negatively impact customer satisfaction if a company is too reliant on digital solutions. However, digital solutions can bring numerous benefits to companies in the form of improved efficiency and helpful data insight. It’s therefore more important to allow customers to choose between digital and human-first service options and ensure they are fully integrated.
Emphasising the human element with a personal customer service experience
Personalisation is so popular it has become an expectation among consumers — 76% expect their experience with a company to be tailored to their needs.
By personalising their experience, a company can demonstrate that it understands and cares about a customer’s needs. Caring about customers is vital in establishing a connection between the customer and company, so personalisation is a vital factor in adding the human element
Personalisation can be achieved by collecting and analysing customer information, but it’s important that these insights are available to customer service teams so they can be used during calls. If advisors can view customer information easily on a centralised platform, they can better understand individual customers’ needs and provide a more personal service, which is a huge part of keeping a human element in customer service.
Data insights can also be proactively used to provide a better customer experience — such as ecommerce stores recommending products based on previous customer purchases, or companies sending reminders for annual appointments like MOTs. Although connections can only be made between a human advisor and a customer, using technology (like data insights) allows those connections to be made faster and more effectively.
The key factors for quality customer service
So we’ve established the two key factors in keeping the human element in customer service: human operators and personalisation. The next step is looking at accessing suitably skilled advisors to ensure these factors can be added to a service strategy.
Outsourcing is one popular option for finding skilled advisors. A dedicated partner can provide a workforce more quickly and at a lower cost than could be accessed with traditional recruiting. Companies might also consider utilising a third party for a one-off personalised campaign.
Regardless of how the human workforce is accessed, companies may want to set time and resources aside for integrating technology into their customer service. Using automated customer service options and tools like data insights to help human staff do their jobs is crucial for a personal customer service experience.
Provide a personal customer experience with Sigma Connected
At Sigma Connected, we prioritise the human element to ensure your customer will always have great interactions when they contact your company. Our skilled advisors are able to provide helpful, empathetic advice, and add a personal touch wherever possible.
If you’re interested in any of our services or have any questions about what we can do for you, contact us today