The importance of the human touch in contact centres
In an environment fuelled by technology, it is imperative to customer experience for contact centres to maintain human interaction, writes Frederic Durand, the chief executive and founder of Diabolocom.
In today’s competitive world, meeting customer expectation is no longer enough. In the race to compete, businesses need to exceed customer expectation, creating an unforgettable experience that will positively promote your brand above the competition. Consumers are emotional beings and in order to drive loyalty, each interaction must evoke positive emotions which encourage customers to recommend your brand to others.
There is no doubt that contact centre technology offers great opportunity for smooth call handling delivering first point of contact, self-service options and automated services. Investing in robust technology can provide a professional customer call handling experience whilst enabling better staff utilisation and substantial cost savings to businesses but often callers need and want to speak with a real person.
In a contact centre environment where the face to face element of communication is not available, it is imperative business leaders incorporate an exceptional customer experience strategy, building and maintaining strong relationships with each customer interaction. There is a vast landscape of valuable technology available but business leaders must think beyond technology and place focus on a strong human interface.
Customer expectations are rising but overall trust in companies has gone down highlighting that many brands are failing to deliver to increasing customers’ expectations. In a highly competitive marketplace, brands are no longer able to compete on price alone so focusing on exceeding customer expectation offers an opportunity for businesses to lead the way, excelling above the competition. Consumers are often willing to pay more for a better experience and business leaders are starting to realise the potential impact of investing in a service standard above that of competitors.
The business you are in doesn’t really matter; all unique moments in customer experience, good and bad, can define customer relationships with your brand. There is no doubt that delivering an outstanding service can be key to driving brand loyalty while having a dramatic effect on overall business success and ultimately, increasing sales.
When dealing with a contact centre, many customers are happy to use automated services, but many others still want an element of human interaction. This is when the agent can make or break the customer relationship. The ultimate customer experience is found in balancing technology with real people; using the technology to support the agents enabling a more streamlined service to callers. Self-service options are an excellent tool for quick interactions to questions but for more complex requirements or when the self-help menu does not provide an easy answer, customers need to speak with a human and they do not want a long wait to do so.
This is where the real personalisation of an interaction lies. The contact centre industry provides an important service to customers enabling quick and easy responses but businesses cannot afford to choose technology over personal interaction.
The role of technology in the centre must go beyond call handling and incorporate tools which support the agent in their interactions with customers. These technologies can assist the agent to offer a truly personalised service.
The key to fully engaging customers is to drive positive emotions but many callers choose to speak with an agent because they are angry or frustrated and this is where agents can transform a negative experience into a positive one. A well-trained, professional agent is invaluable in these circumstances when technology cannot provide the support the caller needs. We must ensure that our contact centres have both the human and the technological resources they need to deliver an outstanding service. Only by connecting the right technology with a customer-focused workforce can the centre truly exceed customer expectations.