If it feels like you’ve spoken to more automated customer service voice systems and robots than actual human beings lately, don’t worry—because you're not going crazy. The last decade has seen the rise in workforce automation, stripping grocery stores of cashiers in favor of self-checkout lanes, swapping bank tellers for automated online systems, using “auto-call” centers to handle customer service issues, you name it. And, frankly, it’s not helping us; most people still want to speak to a human being, rather than a bit of intelligent software.
So, knowing that real-life humans appreciate like-minded connection more than robotic automation, how do you bring back (or keep) human connection in your company? Well, one sure-fire way to do so is to make your customer service synonymous with humanization.
Here are just a few ideas on how to make sure your small business still has that human touch when communicating with its customers.
Don’t Automate (Most) Emails, Respond Individually
In general, consumers frown upon automated responses. It makes them feel insignificant and not worthy of that company’s time.
To make your customers feel both heard and feeling significant, try to individualize responses as much and often as possible. Have your customer service agents take time to respond to customer questions, complaints, or concerns with a character and uniqueness. Consider addressing them, the customer, by their provided name, ask them how you can help, extending a sense of gratitude for their business, etc..
It’s also important that you make these individualized responses as efficient as possible. Set response limits, be it a word count or span of time, so that your customer service workers don’t spend too much time on any one personalized response.
Don’t Drop the Ball, Respond Quickly
Very little things rub a consumer the wrong way more than tardiness in communication. And, from a human-to-human standpoint, not being punctual with communication actually creates distrust and relational issues—which can be extrapolated on to your business, as well.
When you get an email or phone call (even a text), try to get back within an hour. If someone on the customer service team doesn’t have the time to fully commit to said request, simply send something like “We got your email, and we’re looking into it.”
This will make the customer feel like they’re not only heard but that you’re taking the time needed to address the issue. If for some reason that employee needs even more time than, say, a day or so, make sure they stay in contact with the customer to keep him or her updated.
Don’t Appear Rude, Smile and be Polite
It can be hard to stay calm and composed when a customer is complaining at the top of their lungs. Or, in this day-and-age, responding in all caps.
But here’s the truth: No good can come out of any customer-to-company interaction when both parties are battling one another in every which way. As hard as it may be, these situations should be approached with empathy, not anger.
This will not only help to subdue an upset customer but make sure your company is leading with its best foot forward. A bad customer service argument can lend itself to a PR nightmare.
Be kind, don’t respond in all caps. Keep your voice level, make eye contact and smile if the opportunity presents itself.
Making sure your customer service agents keep their cool and respond with compassion can save you many future headaches, while also bettering your brand reputation and trustworthiness.
Get Personal, Follow Up
Your customer service agents do more than just dealing with day-in, day-out questions and concerns. Or, rather: they should be doing more than just putting-out consumer fires and answering the odd product question.
To add a bit of personality into your customer service workings, try to get personal with your customer base. Now, this doesn’t mean asking about their day-to-day happenings, but it could mean sending out a “Happy Birthday” email when appropriate or asking for their thoughts on a product or service they’ve since purchased.
When in doubt, remember this: If your customer service team is sounding (or typing) like a gaggle of robots, you should course-correct them. Suggest they inject some character into their responses to avoid sounding like Star Wars drone.
Hire, Train, and Keep Good People
Above all, the biggest key to ensuring your customer service is in top-notch shape and pedestaling human connections is this: Hire good, empathetic people, then train and support them in order to build on their inherent goodness. That’s a good a way as any to build not only strong brand reputation and trust, but foster a (profitable) loyal fan base, to boot.
Given how our case studies show we can better businesses customer satisfaction across the board, we invite you to drop us a line to see how we help leave your customer base grinning from ear to ear.
Want to learn more about our services and products, as well as how each can play a role in growing your business? Feel free to get in contact with us, today!