I called my bank recently and found that they, like many companies these days, had changed their phone directory so that dialing zero doesn’t immediately send you to customer service. My need didn’t fit into a clearly defined service option, and pressing zero did nothing, so I listened to the automated message a few times and picked the option I thought was most likely to get me to a live human.
(Pro tip – If you need to speak with a human and you can’t get past the automated system, dialing the sales team is a sure-fire way of reaching a person who can then connect you to the correct department.)
Being unable to reach a real person when I just had a quick question was highly annoying. And I thought about the general state of customer service communication these days.
We have found more and more ways to avoid direct conversation with the companies we buy from. We love the ability to email support, leave comments on Facebook for the customer service team, use the website chatbots, and even text about our orders.
But nothing angers us more than being unable to reach a real person when we have a need.
It’s easier to use these tools than to pick up the phone… until we have a real problem, a real hurry, or a real need.
And then the fastest way to solve a real problem is to reach a real person.
This becomes clear anytime you have to listen through an automated menu before reaching a human, like I did with my bank.
Technology helps us do wonderful things.
Our team at Contact One does a lot of non-spoken communication for clients. We offer chat service, email support, and online scheduling, but we’re also there when people want to speak to a human.
It isn’t enough to add chat features and email support if customers can’t be helped by a real person when they need it.
A chatbot can’t de-escalate a frustrated customer, and an automated phone system does nothing but further inconvenience an already pressed for time caller.
Are all of the other technological tools supportive of an excellent customer experience? Yes, of course.
But as long as people are people, a human on the other end of the phone will always be the most critical component of customer service.