Customer Service is an art form, best practiced with resourcefulness, enthusiasm, empathy, efficiency, and good listening skills. We are famous for our customer service in the USA and people in countries around the world have been trained in many of the techniques that were first pioneered here by people like Dale Carnegie. Even with these time-tested techniques, new innovations are being created by Unified Communications (UC). These innovations are being tested on the fly. Technology always creates new challenges as well as fulfillment for customers. Classic strategies that have always been effective, like good listening skills, are now finding new ways to be deployed. Does an Intelligent Assistant need the same skills as a real live person? Does web chat have different issues than a phone call? Is SMS a more effective tool for answering questions than an email? Can an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) route a call better than a live customer service agent?
Offering too many options can create confusion
Today, in the world of Unified Communications, there are so many ways for a customer to ask questions, reach out for help, and inquire about new products or services that it can feel overwhelming. Should a perplexed customer wait for a live agent, do a web chat, write an email, go to a community help board or instead rely on the IVR to give them their information? Each mode of communication can have its own peculiar obstacle course, all of which can be prevented with proper planning. For example, web shoppers often will abandon a shopping cart if they can’t find the product information that they need or if the path to the completion of a purchase takes too long or is too complicated. In fact, over complexity can be a problem as well with IVRs. If a customer is offered too many options, or if they are not the options that the customer wants or needs to complete a transaction, there’s a high chance your customer will be hanging up the phone and dialing another number. Possibly that of your competitor. So while providing options is usually positive and can put you ahead of the pack, providing too many or the wrong ones at the wrong time can also wring the last shred of patience from your formerly enthused potential customer.
Listening is still the most important customer service skill
Being able to anticipate a customer’s needs is an indispensable skill that any customer service agent or UC tool must have. Often this skill can only be acquired by comprehensive training in all aspects of a product or service. Also listening is of strategic importance. There’s never a substitute for paying attention to a customer’s voice, deciphering their needs and offering help before it is even asked for. IVRs can be structured in such a way as to simulate the intuition of a live agent. What is the pattern for certain types of interactions and customers? Is there a way to allay anxieties before they even begin by offering the right options? All of this should be considered when creating a script for an IVR or training a live agent.
UC can dazzle
With so many powerful tools available in UC, effective and dazzling customer service can easily become a reality. No doubt customers remember how they are treated and will return if the customer service is exceptional. Companies like Zappos understand this and have built their reputation on going above and beyond for each and every customer. Amazon has also incorporated easy access to customer service for their Kindle Fire HDX devices through their Mayday button. Push Mayday and you are instantly transported to tech support and a real live person who is apparently, fantastically knowledgeable and helpful. Not much is off limits. Apparently, some customers have even asked for “Happy Birthday” to be sung to them and – it is! That’s customer service!
Now, you may not want or need to go that far for your customers but you do want to provide the UC tools that will make their customer journeys less anxious and more productive. Do contact us at ATI Connect when you want to find out more!