How to Make Your Customer Support More… Human
It happens all the time – people avoid interacting with customer care at all costs as it’s known to be lacking sometimes. We’ve all experienced being on hold for an hour at least once. Proper customer support should be your top priority - and interestingly, it’s all about making interactions, not simple transactions.
A human-powered call center is a thing. After all, our personal interactions and connections mean more to us as humans than nearly anything else. And that’s exactly why we should focus on making the customer experience more human these days.
Knowing contextual data may be your superpower
As it’s possible to assign call tags and record calls, you can check who you’re trying to help, what their past experiences have been, and what options they have available. You can prepare your answer and help them the way that AI would never be able to.
Be human, be kind
When someone calls your customer service, they always want their problems solved as quickly as possible. Empathy is the key to win your customers’ hearts. It’s vital that you teach agents how to show emotions and build relations with customers. Sometimes a quick question like “How’s your day going so far?” is enough to create a connection with a customer. For us, it’s just a few extra moments, while for them - it’s a smile and a whole different experience. Efficiency still needs to be a priority, too. But there are little ways to slip feel-good moments into every customer interaction.
Customer service is not just a simple transaction and the ability to solve problems. It’s also about making an overarching emotional connection with a brand. It is something that often makes or breaks a person’s relationship with a brand. Putting more weight on every customer interaction will encourage a shift from the transactional mindset.
It is always profitable to be a well-informed customer service provider
You can answer much faster if you can easily browse the customer’s account details and their history with your company. Finding the right answer is easier when you have access to this kind of data. You’re also able to understand their questions better and be more specific with your answers.
Also, when both a non-technical newcomer and a veteran integration developer ask about “an easy way to export data”, they probably have slightly different things in mind. Using a one-size-fits-all approach is simply wrong, so if you know your customer’s profile, their goals, and needs - try to make good use of it.
A customer effort may get reduced. No one wants to be forced to do anything, so don’t make your customers repeat themselves – there’s nothing worse than describing your problem billion times. Taking a look at the information collected in your system is way better than asking your clients the same questions again and again.
Using contextual data is one step away from better queue prioritization. You can quickly identify the most urgent and important conversations, and tag them (i.e. technical support, new orders, VIP customer). Then, it’s possible to raise those to the attention of other team members.
Basically, having a broader picture of your customers lets you deliver truly helpful service more quickly and at the end, you just make your customers happy, educated and more successful.
5 basic steps to become more human
1. The first seconds are crucial
Everyone knows the importance of the first impression. It’s said that the first impression might be the last one, too. Keep that in mind when serving your customers.
Sometimes it’s hard to be clear as your customers cannot see you, so be careful and try to avoid misunderstanding and miscommunication. Be cheerful, friendly, helpful, but never sarcastic (even if your customer is).
2. Use the right language
Speaking in the customers' language means two things: making sure that your language and approach resonates with them, and making sure that you are tailoring your customer service effectively to the type of persona.
Having a refreshing and cheerful attitude is important, but so is speaking in a way your customer feels most comfortable in. For example, if a customer is direct and formal in his/her tone, you should reply accordingly.
On the other hand, if the customer seems to be a conversational type, then you can start the discussion by asking them how are they doing. This will help both of you to feel at ease.
3. Do not sabotage yourself, avoid jargon
Stop thinking that the customers are very familiar with your products/services. Customers appreciate clear communication, so agents should avoid using ambiguous language. For example, using very technical terms can confuse customers, while using slang can make agents look unprofessional. Always simplify technical language, and avoid using slang expressions altogether. Your key to success is to make the customer understand the nature of the business/products without making them lost and confused.
4. You’re a human, not a robot
There is value in using a template of sorts to help anyone in customer service understand the key points to hit in a phone call. But relying on that script too much leads to an unfeeling and unpleasant experience for the customer. If you’re training, run through plenty of scenarios until your staff feels comfortable winging it. This should be common sense „Hello, Ms Smith. How are you today? How can I help you?”.
Take product A and product B for example. A customer might be interested in product A, but as a professional having a clear understanding of what the customer needs, you think product B would be a much better choice for him. So, instead of explaining the features and benefits of both, you try to emphasise why and how product B would meet his needs more than A.
5. Do not lie, just underpromise and overdeliver
No matter how tempting it might be, you should avoid tricking the customer into making a wrong purchase. Always express the most authentic and honest opinion to your customers. The clearer the facts, the easier it will be for them to make the right decision. In the end, a satisfied customer is most likely to be a repeat customer.
What’s more, if you’ve ever received something sooner than expected, or if a company did a better job than promised, you were probably delighted. On the other hand, if a company told you it would do something and didn’t, you were probably peeved. Try to promise what you know that you can absolutely deliver, and then some. You’ll consistently impress customers (and most likely, they’ll tell their friends about it too!).
It’s always crucial to keep in mind that we’re all human. Let’s act and talk like it.
Originally published here.