There was a time, going back at least ten years, when brands prioritised competitive pricing and product quality over customer experience.
All it took to propel a business to success was to make a premium, high-quality product.
Now, customer experience is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have for business success. The post-Covid-19 customer experience is more important than ever before.
Customers seek hyper-personalised experiences tailored to their specific needs and abilities. They still want to get customised customer support and talk to a human being.
But how come great customer support depends on the human factor in a world that’s so heavily focused on the Internet and digital technology?
Well, with so many product choices available these days, most customers expect to be wowed by today’s brands. Remember, consumers are truly bewildered by overchoice. That’s why customer service is a key factor that influences the outcomes of purchasing decisions.
With that in mind, let’s define the concept of personalised customer service and see why the human factor is still needed for customer support, even in an increasingly digital world.
Table of contents:
- What is personalised customer service and how is it related to human interaction?
- 4 reasons why consumers still want human interaction vs. bots
1. What Is Personalised Customer Service and How Is It Related to Human Interaction?
You may deliver great products that customers love. But, if you can’t deliver the personalised customer service consumers expect from you, you’ll fall behind and lose your competitive advantage.
So, before taking a more in-depth look at why customers still want to talk to a human being, let’s see what personalised customer service is and how it is related to the human factor.
Put simply, personalised customer service boils down to tailoring your communication with each customer and treating them as individuals, not numbers.
It represents the difference between a customer making a purchase, then forgetting about your brand, and becoming a loyal fan returning over and over again. Without personalised customer service, increasing your customer retention rate can become an uphill battle.
Think about a gourmet chocolate shop. If you had to choose one reason to return (apart from delicious handmade chocolate), it would probably be the personalised customer service you’ve experienced.
Typically, local shops treat customers like friends, care about their needs and respect their opinions. That’s why they have the ability to turn first-time customers into repeat customers.
Even if you do not run a small local shop, you can still transfer this experience to your businesses by allowing your customers to talk to a real person who welcomes them courteously and personalising their experience with your brand.
Though digitisation has significantly evolved, the human touch is an invaluable factor in customer satisfaction.
For small businesses, the human factor defines great, personalised customer service. To make your customers truly happy, you need to remember who they are, understand their needs, and customise their experience based on their profile attributes.
So with that said, let’s see some good reasons why your customers still want to talk to a human being, even in a post-Covid-19 digitalised world.
2. 4 Reasons Why Consumers Still Want Human Interaction Vs. Bots
According to a survey conducted by CGS, an outsourcing company and global provider of business applications, consumers crave a human element in customer service.
The study reveals that the key factors determining a happy customer service interaction are the “opportunity to speak to a human agent” and “working with a friendly agent”.
Another survey conducted by PwC shows that 82% of U.S. and 74% of non-U.S. consumers prefer human to automated interaction. In Australia, 81% of consumers want to interact with a real person more as technology evolves.
Here is why the human touch still matters in customer service:
- Customer service is about emotion, not technology
At its core, customer service is about building genuine relationships based on trust, and feelings are key in building those genuine relationships.
Do you remember Star Trek characters? Data is a robot with impressive computational capabilities but unable to experience emotions. Even if you’re a Star Trek fan, you probably wouldn’t like to interact with a robot unable to understand your feelings as a customer.
Remember, understanding and responding to emotions is key to resolving issues faster, making customers happy and even dealing with upset or frustrated customers.
- Human interaction builds trust
Customer trust is the cornerstone of every successful business. Delivering personalised customer service and allowing your customers to interact with a real agent helps you build trust by humanising your brand.
One caveat, though: If you’re running a small business, it is essential that you deliver professional, timely customer service and use a business landline phone number. Otherwise, your efforts to build trust with customers could backfire, causing them to lose trust in your business.
For example, if you answer phone calls yourself, you are inadvertently telling your prospects that you are running a one-person business. There’s nothing wrong with that, but customers prefer big and successful brands to single-person startups.
So, if this scenario sounds familiar to you, getting a professional virtual receptionist is the greatest gift you can make to your customers. Eventually, they will reward you and become raving fans for your brand.
- Consumers are suffering from chatbot fatigue
Consumers are tired of chatbots. They experience “chatbot fatigue” every time they feel bewildered by maddening interactions with chatbots and painful automated systems.
One of the main reasons people dislike chatbots is that they typically take more time than a human agent to find a solution to their problem (not to mention they keep coming back and asking a series of annoying questions).
There is nothing wrong with using a chatbot to make first contact with a visitor, but make sure you also allow your customers to get in touch with a real agent if they need support.
- Humans are social creatures
We have all discovered during the Covid-19 “great lockdown” that social distancing is contrary to human nature.
Human interaction is something we all need because we are social creatures. Yes, technology has the power to improve processes and operations, but in the realm of customer service, humans beat machines.
Businesses that have realised the importance of human touch in customer service have also empowered agents to ditch the script in order to focus more on conversation and human relationships and less on techniques and memorised scripts.
We are inherently social creatures who get value from interacting with others. That’s why customer service needs to be inherently human.
Conclusion: If you think back to the positive interactions you’ve experienced with a brand, you probably remember the person on the other end of the phone.
Ultimately, it is human interaction that makes customer service truly great.
At B2B HQ, we believe that excellent customer service means helping customers in a friendly, timely, efficient manner. Not only do we provide personalised customer service to our community members, but we’re also helping them set their businesses apart from the competition with professional, well-trained receptionists.
If you, too, want to impress and keep your customers with great customer service, we would be happy to provide you with a top-tier virtual receptionist. Ultimately, they will reward you for taking care of them and recommend your brand to others!