Customer Communication: Bots Are Nice, But Humans Are Better
Robots are cool. I watched "The Jetson's" as a kid and was obsessed with all the tasks robots handled. George could get showered and dressed with one robot. Alice does everything else around the house and their car flies them anywhere they need to go.
The Jetson's reality is rapidly becoming our own.
In the home and in business, bots are everywhere. They are convenient and help businesses be more productive by eliminating their most menial conversations. Advances in mobile technology have made it possible to go a full day without talking to a single human being.
Yet, in a world where we appear to be more connected than ever we are starved for human connection.
Bots are a great customer service tool, but they aren't the ultimate solution to your service woes. There's only one, true way to create personalized service that delights…
Offer Human Support
Believe it or not, people like to talk to other people. No matter where they fall on the mood spectrum–angry to delighted–customers prefer to chat about their thoughts or issues with a real human.
Phone calls or social media messages from customers requesting basic information (business hours, return policies, the physical address or phone number for a business) aren't difficult to take, but they are a huge distraction. Using a bot or an auto-attendant is a terrific way to offload those basic conversations.
Bots lose their appeal when a customer has a complex issue. This is where live chat and phone support really shine.
Offering human support creates loyalty; a whopping 55 percent of consumers say easy access to information and support can make them fall in love with a brand.
Customer communication isn't rocket science, but it does take some effort to get it right. Here are the three support channels you should make as human as possible.
When a customer has a complex issue with your business, there's no other channel they'd rather use; 46 percent of customers prefer to talk to customer service on the phone about complicated issues.
The crux: it's not easy to always pick up the phone, especially for busy small business owners. And not answering your business phone can lead to unhappy customers who don't leave voicemails and never return.
Ensuring your customers have a person to connect with on the other line shows how much you value them. Don't have time to take support calls or need help? Outsourcing your calls makes it easy to provide that high-level, personal service your customers seek.
While the phone is still the preferred channel for complex issues, customers are more likely to reach out over live chat for quick questions.
I use SproutSocial to manage PATLive's social media accounts. I chose it for its robust reporting and monitoring, but I fell in love with it because of their support team.
Sprout really encourages its customers to reach out with ideas and issues, and within the software there's the option to connect with live service or support. If I run into something that seems buggy or if I have an idea for improvements, I just open the chat client. The support team is always so kind and helpful – a real win in my book.
Not all of your customers want to use the phone. Offering live chat with a human is a superb way to connect with customers and help them with issues on the fly.
Speaking of social media, customers are using social media channels for support more and more every year. Bots are definitely helpful in this realm, but human service should still be a priority on social media.
We all know that speed is everything in social service, and failure to live up to customer expectations can really put a dent in your customer counts. In fact, organizations that fail to respond to customer inquiries on social media can expect to see a 15 percent increase in churn.
Whether you implement a social monitoring tool or use a customer service management tool, it's imperative you add a human touch to your social service.
Humans are better for customer communication.
Yes – bots are easy. Yes – bots are convenient. Yes – bots help businesses offload some of the more tedious conversations. I'll admit it – bots are really cool. However, if you're looking for a total service solution, bots are not the answer.Humans still play a fundamental role in customer communication; people give a voice to an organization, empathize with our issues and relate to use as only human beings can. There's a comfort in feeling connected.