Where is the phone number?
Ever returned a product and wanted to know when you would get your money back? Or needed instructions for a product you bought but couldn’t find a telephone number on the company’s website? You scanned the contact page. No, only social media icons, FAQ, ah… and live chat. That’s alright for simple and non-urgent issues but in some cases, you’d rather just deal with it now, immediately. Get it over with and move on. So, you keep searching… there must be a phone number somewhere on this page!
Advantages of digital support
So, is it a bad idea to use digital channels for customer service? No, of course not! Today’s technology offers great practical tooling to serve your clients. Well thought-out and executed FAQ pages, chatbots and email automations can be of great help for finding the right information and keeping your customer up to date about his or her order. Also, the use of communities and social media can be of great value for simple and non-urgent questions.
If all these have to be answered by in person, it would require too many call center agents, keep customers waiting too long and therefor it wouldn’t be cost-efficient. That’s why it’s important to regularly assess which questions are frequently asked, how they can be best answered, and which channel is most appropriate.
But companies that block access by phone to their customer service and only offer contact through mainly digital channels, should not forget the disadvantages of these channels. It is hard to pick up emotions through a digital conversation, let alone, respond in the proper way. And usually it takes longer to solve an issue because agents handle several interactions at the same time.
Social channels are public. Everybody can read along. As long as all of your customers are totally happy with you all the time, there’s not much to worry about. Despite your efforts to do well, reality is different. Discussions between customer and customer care have caused serious reputation damage for brands. Things can get out of hand easily when a customer shows his discontent online. Other people might agree and start sharing bad experiences as well. Before you know, you need to apply damage control instead of answering a customer’s question. In a phone call there is more room to hear and respond to emotions. Also it is a one-on-one conversation between just two people.
Even millennials prefer to call sometimes
Although having grown up with the internet and organizing every detail in life online, even millennials prefer that human touch or personal undivided attention sometimes.
Imagine you spent a half month’s salary to buy a brand-new smartphone that just arrived. After unboxing your purchase, you want to get the settings in place as quickly as possible. All fine, until the moment importing your contacts fails. Flipping back and forth through the quick set-up guide searching for information, you just cannot get this to work. Aaargh. Frustration is on its way. Time to pick up the phone to get that agent on the line to help you out…..”Hi, how can I help?” Bingo! Subsequently, you walk through the configuration together with the agent until your issue is resolved. These are classical moments of truth for turning frustration into satisfaction via human-to-human conversational contact.
Attention never goes out of style
Companies that go digital with that indispensable personal touch, tend to have more loyal customers and be more successful than the ones that leave the human part behind. At a time when products or services are more and more interchangeable, providing excellent customer service enables company to stand out from their competition. Brands that provide telephone customer service understand the added value of the human voice. That’s because personal attention never goes out of style.
Editors note: this post was previously published on June 4, 2018, and has been completely updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.
Companies that block access by phone to their customer service and only offer contact through digital channels (e.g. social media, chatbot, live chat), should not forget the open and public nature of some of these channels. Everybody can read threads and find conversations with a hashtag of the company’s name. As long as all of your customers are totally happy with you all the time, there’s not much to worry about. Despite your efforts to do well, the reality is different.
In some cases, discussions between the customer and customer service have caused serious reputation damage. It is hard to pick up emotions through a digital conversation, let alone, respond in the proper way. Things can get out of hand easily when a customer talks about his discontent online. Other people might agree and start sharing bad experiences as well. Before you know it, you need to apply damage control instead of answering a customer’s question. In a phone call, there is more room to listen and respond to emotions. Also, it is a one-on-one conversation between just two people.