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There is no argument that automated machines have revolutionized the world of customer service. And with the instant gratification features of businesses connected to the gig economy like Uber and Postmates, consumers are becoming conditioned to the speed and convenience of services across every sector. As speed becomes the norm, consumers have higher expectations for faster and more innovative solutions. At the same time, it is vital that human customer service skills develop at a complimentary rate to technology in order to satisfy consumer’s growing reliance on instantaneity.

Without Humans, There Are No Computers

Businesses all have a human factor: staff and consumers. And in order to remain relevant to the growing technological needs of consumers, businesses need to invest in their human factor. Companies today are competing with each other to attract top talent who are looking for opportunities to grow in their work environment. One of the most effective ways for businesses to invest in their company, is to empower their staff by increasing employee development programs. When employees feel they are being invested in, they will dedicate themselves more genuinely to the company. No matter what the product or service a company provides, staff development leads to higher customer satisfaction, innovative product development, solution-based processes and overall faster growth.

So while new technologies and innovative features are inevitable, and essential, to moving forward alongside not only competition, but the population of evolving customer personas, other business factors must mimic the climb. Technologies can solve business problems, seamlessly dissolve customer issues, and present an unprecedented growth for your business. But the weak link presents itself when a company invests heavily into innovations, but the customer service agents are not able to understand or articulate the functionality to end users.

So whether you are using your customer service force to compliment your tech functionality, or to support your innovative design, your agents need to be a seamless extension of your company front. An upgrade in technology doesn’t mean a downgrade in customer service agents. It means it’s time to empower them to serve your customers better.

Why Your Customer Service Agents Are Vital in Fulfilling One of the Most Fundamental Human Needs: Being Listened to and Understood

The best way to understand a consumer is to listen to them; something only your customer service team can do. Here are three common instances in which your consumer will either need or want a connection to your human customer service agent.

1. They do not understand the functionality of a feature in the interface.

While your FAQ should be able to provide the solution to problems as they arise, perhaps the consumer is frustrated and seeking personal attention to understand the process better. At that very moment, your consumer will want a direct connection to your agent. And they will want an agent that can seamlessly, and quickly, walk them through the process. And that is without them reading straight from an outdated instruction guide that your consumer already read through themselves in an attempt to troubleshoot on their own.

2. The consumer will want some human contact to confirm a process they completed or a purchase they finished already.

While these consumers may have been able to easily manipulate the interface to get exactly what they want, thanks to your newly updated features, they want a human confirmation of the process. At this time, they need an agent who can pull up their interaction immediately to confirm their steps and a completed course, without unneeded conversation that has nothing to do with the process.

3. When the system fails. No matter how evolved or sophisticated technology is, it will always fail.

It may not happen often, but it ultimately will have a hiccup that can only be soothed by the human touch. When this happens, consumers may already be on their way to another provider for their needs. But if they are still onboard and you have what they want, they will need to connect with a person immediately to complete their process. At this time, the agent will need to have unlimited knowledge as to how your interface works and how to help the consumer complete the process as quickly as if the technology you purchased worked. Again, red flags may need to be addressed at this point as to the temporary failure of the technology.

You Can’t Change Consumer Expectations, But You Can Exceed Them

Technological innovations are undoubtedly our first tier of excellence in customer care. But every business across every sector that is set up for excellence, is set up for success across all tiers, not just through technology. That means if human customer service agents are your tier two, they better be updated on new features, competently versed on how to use them, and on the subtleties of customer service excellence. In other words, treat your customer service team as you would your machines. Well-oiled and set up for success with built-in solutions, prior to any problem.

Published October 13, 2016
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