A recent article published by Moneywatch (Nov. 2013, Michael Hess, author) revealed a number of interesting findings about what customers are looking for in customer service. Some of those only confirm how important customer service is, for companies in industries across the board, and the fact that most customers would not say companies “exceed their expectations” or go the extra mile for them, most of the time.
But to me, the most interesting finding has to do with the fact that, according to the study, “personal connections still matter most”. A huge percentage (65%) of customers, still prefer a live phone conversation with a real person to get assistance, over widely popular channels, like e-mail or chat. And that includes services like product assistance. It just seems like, according to Mr. Customer out there, much of what we’ve been doing to automate the interactions with customers and their access to product support and assistance actually goes contrary to their wishes.
There are plenty of wonderful solutions that allow companies to help the customer help him/herself, from customer-facing knowledge bases and search technology, to automated virtual assistants. But the lesson of this study seems to be that it may not be such a good idea to try to “deflect” calls at all cost. After all, giving customers a superior experience is all about connecting with their emotions, particularly in the product assistance/support touch points. And nobody does that better than a capable, empathetic human being at the other end of the line.
People still like to talk to people…