The Power of Human Connection in Digital Customer Service digital customer service

The Power of Human Connection in Digital Customer Service

Consumers prefer to go digital in just about every aspect of their lives, including their business and brand interactions. That’s why companies are increasingly investing in digital transformation to serve consumers, meet their expectations, and stay competitive.

But what exactly does digital customer service entail, and how can you make it truly effective?

In this article, we’ll explore strategies to enhance digital customer service, ensuring that your customers feel valued and understood at every turn. 

What Is Digital Customer Service?

Digital customer service is using digital channels and technologies to support and assist customers. Unlike traditional customer service methods such as phone calls and face-to-face interactions, digital customer service leverages platforms like email, live chat, social media, mobile apps, and self-service portals to engage with customers. 

This approach offers convenience and flexibility, allowing customers to reach out for help from their computer or mobile device. From a business perspective, digital customer service enables companies to provide timely, efficient, and personalized support, meeting customers where they are.

When used effectively, digital channels open up opportunities to create more meaningful interactions and personalized experiences. 

The Challenge With Digital Customer Service

One potential drawback of adopting digital transformation in customer service is the lack of personal connection. When you speak to someone over the phone or in person, you can easily establish rapport and respond to their verbal or nonverbal cues. But, it’s challenging to convey empathy and build a genuine connection when interfacing with them through live chat or email. So, digital customer interactions may feel robotic and transactional. 

How can you prevent these challenges from happening in your digital customer interactions?

Read on to learn the best practices for ensuring that your digital customer support channels enhance rather than diminish the customer experience.

Start With Strong Agent Training And Coaching

Humanizing your customer service initiatives starts with, well, being human. That’s why ensuring that the people in your contact centers have the right mindset, knowledge, and skills to connect genuinely with customers and provide empathetic support is essential.

Let’s explore these components in more detail below. 

Instill A Customer-Centricity Mindset

See to it that your customer service agents know the value of human connection by emphasizing the importance of seeing each customer as an individual with unique needs. Your customer service team must recognize the importance of empathy and active listening so they can respond to customers in a meaningful and understanding manner.

It’s also easier for virtual agents to foster human connections when they see your customers as actual human beings. 

You can instill the right mindset by training them on your specific customer personas. Share stories about real customers and the lives they live. In doing so, you help contact center agents relate to customers on a personal level, making interactions more authentic.

Give Them The Knowledge They Need To Serve And Connect With Customers

Contact center agents can show up as their best selves when they have the right resources at their fingertips.

To that end, make product and client data easily accessible so your customer support team can retrieve the info they need at the right time.

When equipped with the necessary knowledge, customer support agents can focus more on creating human connections, ultimately fostering customer loyalty.  

Level Up Their Skillset

Customer support coaching goes a long way. It pays to keep a close eye on each agent’s performance to determine areas where they excel and need improvement. Suppose you discover they need help establishing rapport or building customer relationships. In this case, you can implement coaching programs to develop these essential skills. 

Or maybe you have team members whose response times aren’t up to par. In this situation, it may help to provide training on how to respond quickly. 

Whatever the case, targeted coaching encourages agents to continuously improve, which ultimately enhances the customer service experience.

Use CRM Data To Personalize Your Digital Customer Service Interactions

One of the best ways to humanize customer experiences is to personalize them.

Make sure that you’re collecting the right customer insights and data to tailor interactions based on individual preferences and past behavior. This can include:

  • Basic contact information
  • Customer history, key dates, and milestones (e.g., birthday, date of first visit, date of last visit, etc.)
  • Purchase history
  • Previous customer interactions (e.g., live chat logs, customer email interactions, etc.)
  • Previous customer issues

Equip your customer care team with this information and encourage them to use the data when interacting with customers. That way, every interaction feels more relevant.

Giving customer service teams the right information can also speed up their interactions. With a clearer view of the customer journey, they can avoid asking unnecessary or repetitive questions, allowing them to address issues more efficiently.

Improve Your Response Times To Promote Better  Customer Experiences

Speaking of faster customer interactions, nothing makes people feel less valued than being ignored or left waiting. Responding to customers promptly is a great way to convey that they’re not just another number.

And, of course, striving to solve problems and answer questions quickly is a must. Industry data shows that speed of response directly impacts customer satisfaction. According to Forrester, customers are 2.4x more likely to stay when companies solve their problems more quickly.

Have A Digital Customer Service System 24/7

This should come as no surprise, but most consumers want to deal with real people, especially when they have complex issues or questions. If it’s possible for your contact centers, it may be worth investing in a 24/7 customer support team to provide round-the-clock support. 

In doing so, you show customers that you are always there for them, reinforcing the human touch in your digital customer service strategy. This constant availability ensures that customers feel valued and supported.

Now, 24/7 support may only make sense for some. So, a good alternative is to leverage digital portals or knowledge bases that contain answers to common customer questions.

You can also consider using chatbots to field responses during non-business hours. Choose chatbots with natural language processing to simulate human conversation for the best results. Just make sure you’re transparent about your use of AI. You should also clearly display your contact center’s business hours so customers know when they can expect to speak with a real person.

Another note on chatbots: if you’re using them alongside your customer care team, create a smooth transition from bot to human agents when needed. Doing so paves the way for a seamless customer experience.

Promote Brand Consistency Across Both Traditional And Digital Customer Service Channels

If your business operates on multiple channels (e.g., brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, social media, etc.), ensure you have a cohesive brand voice across all customer touch points, whether traditional or digital channels.

Remember, inconsistent interactions diminish the connection people have with your brand, so it’s crucial to maintain uniformity in how your company communicates.

Again, this goes back to training. When your entire workforce is attuned to your brand voice and style, it helps them foster a human connection with your customers. This consistency guarantees that no matter where consumers interact with your brand, they experience the same genuine service.

Weave In Visual Elements In Your Digital Interactions

Humans are visual creatures. That’s why another great way to spruce up your digital customer service interactions is through the use of visual elements such as pictures and videos. 

You can, for example, allow customers to converse via video chat so they can see the representative face-to-face. 

Another approach is to let agents use photos, screenshots, or video demos when addressing customer inquiries. This is particularly helpful when they need to illustrate complex processes, troubleshoot technical issues, or provide step-by-step instructions. Visual aids make explanations clearer, more effective, and of course—more human.

The Power of Human Connection in Digital Customer Service digital customer service

Collect—And Act On—Customer Feedback

We’ve provided many tips so far, but ultimately, the best strategy for humanizing your digital customer service will depend on your customers’ needs. 

That’s why it’s crucial to have a feedback mechanism that provides valuable insights into what your customers want and need. Consider using surveys at the end of each customer support session to get feedback on the quality of the interaction, the effectiveness of the solution provided, and the overall customer experience. 

If your goal is to make digital customer service more human, you can ask questions like:

  • “Did you feel understood during this interaction?” 
  • “How can we make our service more personal for you?” 
  • “How would you rate our responses to your customer inquiries?”

Once you have the data, analyze it to identify trends and areas for improvement. Use these insights to make informed changes to your processes, training, and customer service strategies. The goal is to evolve to meet and exceed customer expectations continuously.

Improving Customer Centricity Begins With Having Empowered Agents

Digital channels will continue gaining steam, but that doesn’t mean human interactions should be left behind. As long as you keep your customers front and center in your agent training and help desk operations, you can ensure that every interaction, whether digital or personal, is meaningful and effective.

It’s also worth noting that the customer experience goes hand in hand with the agent experience. When your agents feel motivated and empowered, they are more likely to provide exceptional, empathetic service, leading to higher customer satisfaction and customer loyalty metrics.

Need help doing just that? Playvox’s webinar, Building the Agent Experience Innovation Center, teaches you the essential elements needed to build and innovate the agent experience in your contact center. Watch it on demand here

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