Has technology made us less human? We can tweet, fan, follow, post, text, etc. to communicate without ever talking to a real person.
And that seems to be one of the biggest frustrations people have when it comes to customer support. With some companies, it seems impossible to get in touch with a ‘real person’. But this does not mean customer support agents will soon be out of a job! There still needs to be a real person on the other side of a support channel and here’s why….
We have specific problems:
An FAQ section and knowledge base on your website is great, but will never address a specific problem the way a person can. For example, a knowledge base answer may tell me to try steps 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, but step #4 is Greek to me. I absolutely do not understand what it means and need to have someone explain it to me like I’m a five-year-old. Only a person can do that.
Computers don’t understand my frustration:
Have you ever worked your way through an automated phone system, not able to figure out how to reach a real person no matter how many times you press “0”? Has it gotten so bad that you were actually raising your voice at the automated voice as if that would get you through to someone quicker? (Um, not that I have.) I appreciate companies who have very accessible customer support agents who understand my frustration. I can explain that I tried something a dozen times and it still didn’t work. Please, oh please, help me. That’s when I need a little one-on-one attention with someone holding my hand.
There are areas that don’t need a person, such as determining when I first became a customer or if I’m a big spender. Obviously, that can be easily calculated. But a customer support agent can personalize my experience by looking at my history. Agents will know if I tend to be a chatterbox or just want to fix the issues asap. These nuances can only be addressed through human interaction.
Only agents can save the account:
Let’s face it. Customers leave. They may go to a competitor or no longer feel they need your type of offering at all. Cancelling an account is very easy to do if the process is entirely automated. However, a customer service agent can identify if the account can be saved. Maybe customers need different tiers of service? Or maybe what they need already existed in the product and they just didn’t know it? Or they had a bad week at work and hate pretty much everything. A customer service agent is the one who can get to the real heart of the problem and determine if it is solvable.
So yes, absolutely have all the high-tech systems in place for customer support. None of that goes out the window. The multi-channel approach with phone, email, chat, and social media should all still be in place to serve customers where they are. The point is to ensure that behind each channel, there are real people who can jump in to assist with very specific questions. If you skimp on human interaction, your customers will leave for your competitors that realize how valuable that is when it comes to support.