In our modern age of digital customer service, customers may engage with brands in more ways than ever before—and at a much faster pace. Omnichannel strategy and the growing presence of self-service options have certainly helped streamline customer service practices, but a question still remains: Will customer service eventually lose the human touch? Many studies show that there’s great power in the personal touch in the realm of customer service, and customers want to be valued as individuals and not just consumers with personalized customer service. A RightNow study found that 73% of respondents believe friendly customer service representatives can make them fall in love with a brand, while 86% are willing to pay up to 25% more for a better customer experience. A study conducted by CX Act Inc., a customer experience improvement firm, further found that over half the respondents preferred to contact a brand by phone as they found it best for resolving issues, while a Consumer Reports study revealed that 67% of customers have hung up the phone when unable to talk to a real person. These studies suggest that, while customers want access to the latest technology that saves them time, human contact is essential to building confidence, trust, and loyalty—the differentiator that can transform a poor customer experience into an inspiring one.
Brands can deliver personalized customer service and greater engagement in many ways. For one, agents should aim to make every customer interaction a humanized one by addressing customers by name, introducing themselves, and using a friendly tone. Every interaction should be considered a conversation–showing empathy for a customer issue, appreciation for their business, and being apologetic for anything which has caused inconvenience are all ways to humanize customer service. This is especially critical when agents are interacting on social media or via SMS, as the lack of human voice or visual contact makes it especially important to make a human connection. Companies should therefore strive to enhance the touchpoints where human service counts the most: giving customers a live agent over the phone to solve complex issues, training agents to be sensitive to customer needs while offering personalized options, and embracing such channels as video chat to give customers a face-to-face service experience.Personalization is equally valuable when marketing to customers. A Digital Trends study found that 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant. E-commerce giant Amazon has used this strategy for years with its recommended product marketing tool—offering customers personalized recommendations based on their search and purchase history—while airlines such as Virgin America swiftly offer marketing deals via email following online bookings as well as follow-up emails when a customer abandons a flight search and does not make a reservation. Such brands not only capitalize on customers’ online habits but fine-tune their offers to make sure they are actually relevant and appealing to the customer, creating a win-win situation for both brand and customer alike. Companies may also take steps to show the human face of the brand in a marketing context: using video testimonials on the company website as well as encouraging user-generated videos on social media, relaying stories documenting the brand’s history and core values, offering video tutorials with actual employees for support, and inviting customer feedback through polls, surveys, or campaigns that welcome customer votes for preferred products and services.Despite the increasingly digital nature of modern customer service, brands should take care to deliver personalized customer service for greater customer confidence and long-term loyalty. Customers need to feel that brands value their opinions, honor their feelings, and consider them as individuals who deserve great products and services. Learn about Vocalcom contact center solutions for a great omnichannel customer experience.
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