How did this disconnect happen? For one, jaded by bad experiences, many consumers believe that service technology automatically implies a lesser level of humanity. This leads many brands to describe their support operations in terms of a customer’s ability to interact with “real people” when they have a question.
Technology and humanity are designed to work together. But it takes a new way of thinking – one that puts equal priority on both personalized customer service and advancing technology, allowing both to advance in tandem.
The key element in this balance is relevance. If technology can equip customers with relevant, helpful information, organizations can use technology to provide a personalized, human customer experience. Here are a few ways to preserve the human element of customer service:
1. Get Organized
Companies need to ensure that the relevant person is handling a customer request. How many times have we heard, “Sorry I am going to have to transfer you to another department because we can’t handle that here?” Customers will not tolerate that kind of service any longer, so it is critical that companies make sure people are relevant to the conversation.
2. Show the Human Behind the Content
Customers want to consume relevant information; they don’t need to (or necessarily want to) talk to a live person. But they really want to know that there is a human behind the content that they are being served. One of the main principals of Coveo is that knowledge is created when information is connected with a person that knows what to do with it. Therefore, when delivering service to customers, it is equally important to show the customer who the experts are with respect to the content. Those experts could be top contributors from a public community, your top customer service rep that has worked on this subject many times, or that subject matter expert that is sitting in a department within your organization. Customers want to put a face to the content to know it was human generated, not machine generated.
3. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
Preserving the human element will only impact loyalty and satisfaction if the interaction between two people is relevant to the needs of the customer. Like content, it must answer the right questions being asked. Being relevant requires organizations to include a high degree of personalization. Having access to and knowing every interaction a customer has had with your organization allows you to personalize the important conversation with relevant content. That makes the customer feel like you know who they are, what they want and where they need to go to get their answer.
At the end of the day, customers just want brands to know who they are and how they can get the right answer, the first time. When technology can provide relevant information across channels, then brands have both factors working together for their benefit.