“I am so relieved to speak to an actual person!”
This is one of the most common remarks we hear from our merchants and every time we do, we are reminded how important personal interaction is between a business and their customers. Our company observes on a regular basis the substantial need for an established and reliable customer to client relationship. Whether it is a client seeking additional information, having technical problems or calling in with a complaint, being able to speak directly to our customers is not only a major convenience for them, but an asset for us. With so many companies like Square Inc., going the way of automated voice mail or social media based customer relations, we feel it is important to be reminded that person-to-person customer service is still a major component in the success of any business. Here are the 3 big reasons why:
- Attitude is everything: Automatic answering systems and social media customer service may be efficient and streamlined for the company, but the lack of human interaction alienates the client from the business. According to NM Incite, only 36% of consumers that make customer service inquiries via social media report having their issues resolved swiftly and efficiently. In addition, 40% of those inquiries that are not resolved result in inevitable phone calls. So what happens when you don’t have a readily available customer service call center? In most cases, customers will not only leave the service, but are more likely to relay a negative experience with a company to others. The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, 2013 reports that the average number of people a social media customer will tell about a bad customer service experience is 53. The correct attitude has the power to turn a potentially destructive phone call into an example of why the flexibility and resourcefulness of a human customer service representative is vital, and an advantage for our customers. A contrite, pleasant and helpful response is more likely to encourage a friendly (not to mention forgiving) disposition on the part of the customer. When customers are met with a willingness to help and a go above and beyond kind of attitude, not only are they more likely to stay loyal to a company but will refer more friends and acquaintances. This kind of personal touch simply cannot be achieved through social media or automated messages.
- Active Listening: Active listening is a commonly overlooked component in making sure a customer issue is resolved. This is something that can only be done with person to person interaction. One of the best tools when talking with a customer is the ability to understand and clarify the message they are trying to communicate. From the customer perspective, it is much more reassuring to hear that their message is understood from the vantage point of the company representative, and being acknowledged and addressed at the point of contact.
- Clear Communication: In addition to good listening skills, customer service employees reachable by phone are able to communicate thoughts and information clearly and rapidly. This allows the customer to feel more confident their issue is being addressed immediately, rather than waiting for a written response which could take anywhere between 1 to 24 hours. In a 2011 study done by Evolve24, they found that 70% of customer service complaints made on twitter and social media platforms go completely unanswered. This limits the communication between the customer and business, as well as undermines the trust that was previously established. Having the opportunity to address the customer’s questions and concerns immediately assists in establishing a continued and pleasant working relationship.
Making sure our customers are able to sufficiently communicate their needs to us is one of the many policies we strive to maintain, because we recognize that at the heart of our business, is the relationship with our customers. Although there are distinct advantages to alternate forms of customer service, it’s one missing component also happens to be it’s most important.