Firms need to communicate responsively, clearly and with understanding. Even AI development needs a human in the loop. So, then why are so many businesses happily handing over communication to chatbots and automated systems?
We all know that communication is an essential part of business. Quite simply, if you can’t communicate with your consumer, you can’t do business. A business needs to communicate responsively, clearly and with understanding. Even AI development needs a human in the loop. So, why is it that so many businesses are happily handing over their communication to chatbots and automated systems?
At Cymphony, we believe in the ‘power of the personal’. What does this mean? It means that unlike most premium communication providers, we believe in enquiry handling with a personal touch and forming a relationship with consumers is the most important thing. We do this by being personal, human and genuine – making first impressions count for businesses. That could be anything from answering with a friendly tone, giving helpful information, or as basic as not missing a call. These are all things that are invaluable to building those precious customer relationships which bring repeat purchases over the long term. So, here are my three top tips for delivering exceptional customer communication.
1. Take every call
This has become increasingly important since a survey of 1,600 businesses from BT found that, on average, a missed call loses a UK business a massive £1,200, showing just how important taking your customers’ calls is. Taking every call should be your goal because once it goes to voicemail, they dial the next business on the Google results list.
When answering the phone having a comforting voice on the end of the line makes your business feel more personable. Every business should aim to provide customers with an exceptional inbound caller experience which makes the business sound more caring, personal and genuine. A statistic from WebFX shows that 89 per cent of consumers shop with a competitor after a poor user experience. This means that if you fail to provide the level of service your customer needs, they will just find someone else who can. Customers want someone they know can help them. When you don’t answer the phone, they don’t stick around. Simple.
2. Don’t leave online communication to automation
With less face-to-face interaction available to us this year, it’ll come as no surprise that more people are shopping for products online now than ever before. The Office of National Statistics shows the percentage of retail sales online were up 14 per cent this May compared to May 2019. These are the highest online sales figures recorded in the UK. Because of this, it is more important than ever for a business to have someone who is qualified as an inbound communication specialist to be answering calls and messages. Just because more business is happening online, it doesn’t mean that people don’t expect a high level of customer service. Having someone answer the phone to customers who is able to guide them through things quickly and smoothly goes a long way to providing a quality service.
In a recent report from CGS, half of the consumers surveyed believed that chatbots and virtual assistants make it harder to get issues resolved, another reason why you should at least consider a hybrid of personal touch combined with automation. At Cymphony, our call handlers and chat operators receive the very best training to ensure they can be the solution to any customer’s problem. Seventy-one per cent of consumers said they would be less likely to use a brand if they knew that brand didn’t have human agents to talk to. This staggering statistic from the same CGS report shows how important it is for businesses to maintain a human touch as part of their customer communications.
3. Train your enquiry handlers for every eventuality
Having a well-trained and informed person at the end of the phone will boost a business’ brand personality. This is because people want to talk to people and people buy from people. A human can gauge the level of emotion your customer is feeling and is able to be empathetic when they are annoyed. A human can express concern for a customer’s needs that will let them know your business cares. When customers answered CGS’ survey questions on what they thought about AI in customer service, the top response was that it was ‘maddening’ – also in the top five responses were ‘impersonal’ and ‘superficial’. Not the terms any business wants to be associated with. If a customer picks up the phone to discuss a complaint, the last thing you want to do is upset them further. A well-trained person can sensitively navigate these situations. A bot can’t.
At Cymphony, to help our operators be the best they can be, we have created a learning and development centre where our staff complete customer service modules and learn the Cymphony standards. We understand that our clients’ customers want their life to be made as easy as possible, so this is exactly what we look to provide.
The benefits of having a trained enquiry-handling professional are numerous for a business; they make the company more approachable, they allow you to maintain a brand personality and, perhaps the most important one for me, it alleviates stress for the consumer. I think we’ve all had enough stress over 2020. Wowing your enquirers and responding quickly to your customers is one way every company can secure new and repeat business and the best way to do that is through the power of personal.
Tim Morris is the MD of Cymphony, a premium communications provider helping to build customer relationships from the first interaction. Tim’s vision is to provide an exceptional inbound customer experience on behalf of all Cymphony’s clients.