Before 2020, the world was well on its way to becoming a contactless society. COVID-19 accelerated this process, and we began to adjust to the “new normal.” Consumers increasingly sought to protect themselves by selecting contactless options.
What’s interesting is that Coronavirus also changed the types of contactless options society chose. Before the virus, consumers increasingly chose self-service options. Call centres were decreasing in popularity as clients used convenient digital options instead.
Two weeks after the WHO officially declared a pandemic, it became clear that this trend was reversing. According to the Harvard Business Review, the number of customers rating interactions as difficult during this period doubled to 20%. Company hold times increased by 34%, and query escalations shot up to 68%.
Part of the reason was customer panic due to their changing circumstances. Calls for assistance burgeoned. Clients increasingly needed reassurance and help in claiming refunds and declaring financial hardship.
A changing work environment became another contributory cause. Where possible, call centre agents began to work from home. This change meant that companies had less control over infrastructural elements and call quality.
Companies have since had time to adjust and achieve some degree of normalcy. What they’re finding, however, is that providing empathetic support has become more critical than ever. 74% of people now expect more human interaction in the future.
Call centers are now the front line of customer support. For many clients, they are the primary point of contact. Firms that understand this will always have a competitive edge.
Companies increasingly require their agents to display more than just technical skills. Agents must understand the psychology of outstanding customer service.
As firms face an increasingly competitive contactless environment, their support teams are becoming even more critical for success. Agents now play a crucial role in protecting the brand image, reducing churn, and upselling.
Companies must look for team members with a broader skill set as call centers transform into high-touch centers.
It’s no longer sufficient for support to answer the client’s questions. They must be fully conversant with the firm’s products and services and perform as brand ambassadors. They should be able to offer solutions that ensure client success as well as satisfaction.
Consumer service specialists, SupportYourApp, train their employees extensively in using their client’s products. The staff is also expected to use the products to ensure that they understand where the sticking points might be.
With the dynamic technology environment, brands must adopt an omnichannel service approach. Team members should be comfortable interacting through various platforms. They should be adept at handling more than one interaction at a time.
SupportYourApp hires IT, specialists, with an outstanding customer service ethic. The firm specializes in supporting companies in this industry. It’s no longer possible to fool customers with ineffective solutions read off by rote.
The interaction is perhaps more important than the solution. Clients dealing with call centers are typically frustrated when they phone in. Team members must be able to deal with this frustration and still deliver an outstanding service experience.
The goal should be to build a relationship with the client and make them feel valued. Not all people have these critical skills.
Active listening is an integral part of delivering the right solution. Agents must shift their focus from what they’re going to say next to focusing on what the client is saying.
Human interaction is becoming an essential factor in delivering excellent service. Clients who contact support are no longer interested in the stilted responses of artificial intelligence. AI provides simple solutions that they’re easily able to find themselves online.
When consumers reach out to a company, they want to feel valued. By providing a highly-skilled human consultant for them to speak to, firms prove that the client experience is important to them.
Outsourcing this function allows businesses to draw on the specialist skills required cost-effectively. Firms and clients benefit through an improved service relationship as a result.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
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2014 The Global Indian New Network (TGINN)