Chances are, off the top of your head you can reel off examples of subpar experiences you’ve had with some of the world’s most recognizable brands. The most egregious of these customer service failures can go viral, impacting the perceptions and buying decisions of millions of people around the world.
The financial impact of poor customer service is substantial. So why haven’t businesses been able to successfully address the underlying issues?
It is not for a lack of investment in technology and process improvements, according to Electronic Ink CEO Harold Hambrose. What is needed is to rethink the contact center from the perspective of human interaction.
Here are a few key points that Hambrose makes in his recent ICMI article, The Human Risk of Your Contact Center:
- Quality and efficiency come at a cost. Focusing on call volume, interaction times and response rates in the name of quality and efficiency is important, but shouldn’t come at the expense of meeting customer needs and expectations.
- The customer isn’t the only one on the line. The context of contact service representatives — often required to navigate complex software, sitting in a cramped, noisy cubicle, surrounded by training binders and policy memos — is as important as the context of customers with whom they interact.
- Empathy and kindness matter. At its most basic level, customer service is about one person helping another. The best customer experiences are ones that are grounded in empathy, understanding and just being nice.
- Invest in people to mitigate risk. Companies must match their investment in technology and process with an investment in their people in order to solve problems related to customer satisfaction, sales, retention and brand perception.
Hambrose’s conclusion: “It is time to bring equal concern to the human context of the customer’s outreach — and the human context of the operator’s answer.”