The Role of People in the Digital World
We’ve all seen it, whether in a restaurant, on a train or bus, or at just about any public location. People are spending time interacting with their smartphone, tablet or other digital device. We live in a digital world where you can access information online whenever and wherever you want.
Companies and organizations have adapted to this digital world, allowing customers to research, shop and get help online at their convenience. They did this to enhance the customer experience, but also to improve the efficiency of the contact center.
With the plethora of information and services available to customers online, do customer service agents truly have a place in this digital world? Well, yes. Actually, they are more critical to the customer service experience than ever before.
Many of these digital channels still require human intervention of some sort. Whether it be a live chat, answering a customer email, responding to a comment or request via social media or another channel, agents are on the back end of these interactions. And, they still must provide the high-quality service that customers have come to expect. They are critical to supporting digital and online self-service.
And, despite the plethora of digital self-service channels, one of the oldest and most reliable ways to access the contact center — the phone — is still one of the most widely used channels.
That’s because, while customers can find a lot of information and complete all sorts of transactions, when they have complex customer service issues or problems, they may not be easy to resolve via self-service online. Those complex issues can sometimes only be solved with human-to-human contact, meaning a phone conversation.
Speaking to someone on the phone can be reassuring when you have a problem, giving customers a sense of comfort and helping you build a meaningful relationship with them.
That human interaction can help you ascertain tone, feelings and can help you create those key moments of truth with a customer that can help create lifetime loyalty. If you handle a customer in the right way when they come to you with a problem, you can form the beginnings of a long-term relationship.
However, the agent has to do more than just answer the customer’s call. The agent must be prepared to handle the most complex issues in a way that takes the customer’s feelings into account. That means arming your agents with all the information they need to give that specialized service.
Agents need to have all of the customer’s information — items purchased, payment history, previous problems and more — at their fingertips. Customers who are already frustrated want their problem handled as quickly and efficiently as possible. If the agent wastes time searching several screens to find basic information, the customer’s frustration will assuredly grow. These negative experiences lead to customers taking their business elsewhere. Therefore, it is critical to streamline these complex processes using such tools as a unified desktop and case management.
People are your most important asset and can do the most to help you build relationships with your customers. And if your organization uses Workforce Optimization, it can help ensure you are staffing your contact center with the right individuals to create efficient and effective interactions with your customers, optimizing customer engagement.
Despite all of today’s technological advances and the online tools available to customer service organizations, the importance of the customer service agent in this process can be overlooked. Those agents are still the most critical element of providing the quality customer service experience that your customers deserve and that helps you differentiate yourself and your brand.
Don’t overlook their importance to your organization.