In the business of contact centres, technology is an essential ingredient in providing smooth call handling, first point of contact, self-service options and automated services. Artificial Intelligence (AI), automated services and Chatbots are often the first point of contact between a business and its customers and they play an essential role in the overall customer experience but their strength can also be their weakness. The benefit of these technologies is in the standardisation of services and consistent uniform approach they provide.
But in an environment where every outlet offers the same or similar technical support options and the experience is standardised and expected, what can you do to differentiate your brand from the competition? This is where a human employee can step in and transform a standard customer interaction into an exceptional one.
The power of emotion shouldn’t be ignored. Humans are emotional beings and no technology, no matter how clever, can fully replicate the human element of customer relations. Empathy is a human emotion only a human employee can provide. Often when customers are frustrated, confused or angry, they just need someone to listen, empathise and help. A well trained, effective employee can use what at first appears to be a negative interaction with a customer and transform it into a positive one by listening and explaining the issue and solution in simple relatable terms.
As we invest and submerge ourselves in technological advances, we shouldn’t forget about old fashioned customer service basics of listening, empathising, building rapport and earning trust. Good interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are essential for fully understanding our customers and only a human employee can utilise these abilities. Thorough training and a supportive work environment all contribute to making an employee better equipped to handle customer relations.
The contact centre environment lacks face to face interaction removing a large part of communication effectiveness. It is therefore essential that employees are trained effectively in alternate communication skills such as listening techniques, tone of voice, use of language and personalisation. When developing a customer experience strategy, contact centres should incorporate not just a robust, reliable investment in technology but a dedicated commitment to the centre employees. A strong human interface can only be achieved through investment in people incorporating initial and ongoing training programmes which include customer service, conflict management techniques and emotional intelligence.
There is no doubt that delivering an outstanding service to customers provides opportunity to business in driving brand loyalty and reputation. The key to fully engaging customers is to drive positive emotions. In order to unlock the potential of each customer interaction, look to your employees and provide them with the tools and expertise they need to exceed expectation and drive brand loyalty.
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