The days of exceptional customer service are not behind us. Rather, it’s more vital than ever to provide a stellar Customer Experience in every facet of commercial interactions. Today, consumers require human contact and connection to feel secure in their purchase and continue to support a brand. Businesses that understand the need to adapt and adjust with changing technologies, forms of communication and consumer preference will always come out first. This is why many brands have turned to social media when it comes to their customer service outreach, and specifically, outsourcing (BPO).
This model offers a more guaranteed delivery of your customer service values. It can identify you as a business that cares about people and puts their buyers first, always. Consumers will consistently respond to that message with their loyalty and brand advocacy.
Pros and Cons of Online Customer Service Versus Telephone Customer Service
The most established brands (i.e. those who are ahead of the curve) will commonly offer both, however they each provide different advantages and ways in which they appeal to different customer groups and audiences.
Telephone Customer Service
The more traditional method of customer service, telephone communications, provides an easy and immediate point of contact, with the often reassuring touch of a human voice. Even today, many prefer to phone in their customer queries or complaints as this is their go-to and what they’re most familiar with. If the customer service contact is professional, experienced and knowledgeable of the products and services, there is a higher likelihood of a positive outcome and successful problem resolution.
With that said, there is always room for error as humans are imperfect and telephone automation can also play a part in negative Customer Experience. Automation frustration is a very common tale in the customer service industry and we’ve all been victim of the automated maze of “if you know the extension, press…” Thirty minutes pass and you’re back where you started, pressing buttons and hoping for a different outcome. For more information on the pitfalls of automation, refer to our blog on this topic.
Speaking of imperfect humans…
One of our expectations as customers is to understand, and be understood. This is also a very widespread complaint when comparing customer service experiences. There are too many companies within the US that still don’t offer multilingual customer support, thereby damaging relationships with their core consumers. For example, if a Spanish-speaking customer calls into a support line with a query about a specific product, but struggles to communicate with the agent because of a language barrier, that customer may very well be lost forever. Not only that, the customer’s network could be negatively influenced as well.
Another possible con of telephone-based customer service is what we like to refer to as the phenomenon known as “customer-lack-of-service”. This is the scenario where the customer does indeed connect promptly with the correct department, however the individual they are connected with has allowed a bad day or personal problems to affect their consumer interaction. These “bad apple” agents leave an even worse taste in the customer’s mouth – and that lingers. Those kinds of experiences can taint a relationship for good. Let’s face it, the nuances of emotion are easier to detect in a human voice than in the written word (i.e. online).
As laid out above, telephone customer interactions can garner great rewards or cause irreparable damage, depending on the many variables.
For a more in-depth look into online customer service and outsourcing these operations, head over to part two of our blog.