Human Customer Service in a Chatbot Universe
This week, Marie from DashThis shows us how to expertly balance automation with human customer service, despite the increasing temptation to let chatbots do it all for you.
Customer service changed tremendously in the past few years.
It’s not surprising since our buying habits have changed too. E-commerce businesses and new website technologies completely turned customer service upside down.
Remember when we had to go out and hit the mall to buy products? When you couldn’t Google your item to see if it was cheaper on Amazon, because Amazon AND Google weren’t even a thing?
Back then, customer service was either face-to-face or on the phone, but either way, you had to talk to someone at one point or another during your shopping process.
Nowadays, you can spend thousands of dollars online without ever talking to a single person in the process. If you have questions, you will most likely get answers via a chatbot, a FAQ, or a help center.
Everything is now automated, and as much as we love automating everything at DashThis (we’re an automated marketing reporting tool after all!) We believe that some things should stay human, genuine and personalized.
Having great customer service is a significant plus-value against your competition. Automating your customer service, on the other hand, seems like a great idea, but will cost you way more than it seems.
The real cost of automated customer service
It’s simple: automating your customer service is less costly in the beginning, but in the long run, you’ll have difficulties retaining customers, you will lose some, and gain less.
When you first think about hiring a fleet of customer service representatives you, of course, think about the cost associated with it. You may be tempted by automated solutions instead because of how cheaper and easier it would be to implement. No hiring process, no training, no salary to pay, you just set it up and call it a day!
But is it really cheaper?
Over 52% of consumers have switched from a company to a competitor once they were faced with poor customer service. The definition of “poor customer service” can vary from one person to another, but it’s very likely that having to ask questions to a chatbot, not receiving a proper answer, being unable to talk to someone, or getting referred to a FAQ page enters this category.
Customer service is getting more important than it ever was before. Clients now expect to have good service wherever they go, they can rate your service online for everyone to see, and they have no problem switching companies if faced with poor service. In fact, 67% of customers have become “serial switchers"; customers who are willing to switch brands because of a poor customer experience.
And if your customers think that you provide bad customer service, they will be more likely to leave when a small problem occurs. Even more so at the beginning, since between 20% and 70% of new customers will leave a business in the first 100 days.
When even one single customer is not satisfied with your service, not only are they more than willing to leave, but your reputation is on the line too, they could give your company bad reviews that will discourage potential customers to choose your brand.
Poor customer service is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year, so automating your customer service may seem like a cheaper option, but you will most likely end up losing a lot more than you thought in the long run.
B2C or B2B... Service is always key
You might be thinking that for your niche or your audience, it’s not the same, that people don’t expect the same level of service for B2B companies.
Don’t be so sure. Whether you are in a B2B or B2C market, people will always prefer great customer service if given the choice.
Amazing service is a great way to differentiate yourself from competitors.
If you’re shopping for an online tool for your company, which one will you choose: the one that put you in contact with a great customer success rep, who answers all your questions, is funny, and help you understand the tool a lot better, or the company that keeps referring you to their help center articles through an automated chatbot? Over 80% of consumers would rather talk with a real human when they have questions or concerns with a business’ product.
Let’s not forget that decision-makers are consumers too, even if they are shopping for their businesses, they too prefer talking to a person, even more so since they may have more technical needs and inquiries.
Businesses are all different, but one thing they have in common is that they want solutions that are well adapted to them, and don’t want to waste time. Having a great customer service team that can make sure your clients don’t waste time searching for answers or implementing your solution is a great way to make more and better business as a B2B company.
By having great customer service, you will help your new clients understand all the great features your solution has to offer. Your clients will get all the support they need, and you will be able to dissipate your client’s fears or uncertainties about your product. Therefore, you’ll get more clients, and they will stay longer with your company.
Don’t just provide service; Impress your clients!
Now that we agree that good customer service is important, how can you achieve the best customer service possible?
The key is a winning combination of human, genuine customer service representatives, with a touch of help from different tools.
Are automated messages, help centers, and chatbots out of question? Of course not.
Just like ketchup goes hand in hand with french fries but could never replace them, automated tools are the perfect condiment to your customer service. You can use these tools to bonify your customer service offering, just not as a replacement to your customer service team.
Some tools can really help your team offer a better, more efficient and even impressive customer experience. Here are some tools available to help you offer an out-of-this-world service:
Tools like Pipedrive help you manage your reach outs, with it your team can really have a more organized pipeline to prioritize leads. This way you’ll always be right on time and efficient.
At DashThis we use Bonjoro to create personalized videos for our clients, it really gives that WOW effect that no email or regular chat ever could. It’s a great way to help customer retention and satisfaction.
Intercom can help you deliver automated messages when customers need them quickly (like when there’s an issue with your website or app). With tools like these, you can communicate with all your users faster, and gather their questions or opinions so that your team can help more efficiently.
So... To automate or not to automate?
Automated messaging and bots are great to help you give a little more and be efficient, but they could never replace genuine and human customer service.
A customer service team can help your clients understand your product better, make good use of it, and on top of that, it’ll make them feel like you got their back whenever they encounter a problem.
Surround yourself with amazing customer success professionals, combine their work with useful tools, bring a little wow effect, and you’re in business!