Ah, the automated phone decision tree. Sure, no one likes to get caught in its maze-like structure of numbered customer service options. But then again, no one likes to pay a premium for products or services. So for many customers, it’s worth the cost. As Mary Shacklett writes in an article for TechRepublic, most of today’s Internet-savvy consumers want to control the process themselves.
They like self-service, they expect 24/7 communications with their retailer, and as long as live chat is good, they don’t really need to have a “real person” help them….E-consumers also expect retailers to know everything about them (e.g., buying habits, likes, dislikes, and even what their overall dealings have been with the company), because this information can be readily captured on the internet.
In light of this consumer reality, Comm 100 CEO Kevin Gao suggests cultivating an online experience that is second to none. That means training service agents who can give consistently high quality online customer service. Great service involves soft skills, like great communication (the ability to listen to customer’s problems), thorough knowledge of the product and great writing skills.
A service agent who can empathize with the customer, who can put themselves in another’s shoes is the best kind of service agent. By conducting live-chat agent training, you can improve the overall customer service experience – in some cases by 25% or more. A prime, brick-and-mortar example of excellent customer service at work is the Starbucks model.
The Sweet Spot
The sweet spot of customer service, according to Shacklett, is the tradeoff made between good product and good service. Knowing which is more important to your customer base will help you as a C-level executive, determine the right blend.