Folks from Solvvy – an intelligent self-service platform for customer service – caught up with author, speaker, entrepreneur, and coach, Sarah Hatter to talk everything customer support. For starters, she urges folks to get real. While you would think that “human touch” is getting lost to technology, you might want to think again. Technology, today, is in fact an enabler. A huge proponent of automation and tech, Sarah says, “Artificial intelligence has evolved to a point where it is trained to have an empathetic side.” Isn’t it, then, paradoxical that humans are turning robotic while machines are turning human?
The key takeaway for customer service leaders is that language can be a game-changer: relational is in and mechanical is out. A simple thing like replacing robotic email templates with personal transactional emails might change the way your users perceive you.
Winning customers from that very first experience with your product and company is essential. It is stellar customer service that separates the best from the rest. You want to have your customer service function to be an extension of your persona. If your brand is happy, fun and happening, you don’t want a support notification going out that reads, “Please allow 2-3 days for a response.”
From a “white page with an email address on it” to becoming an “integral function of selling,” customer support has come a long way since Sarah Hatter launched her company, CoSupport, in 2011. The customer support function has truly evolved from playing catch up after product launch to carefully thinking through support strategies ahead of time. Searchable help sections, video tutorials and trained support personnel have become a norm today.
In all of this, what truly amazes Sarah – our wine and grilled-cheese loving friend from California – is support “baked” into the product itself! Instagram is a classic example. It did not have a “Help Center” when it started out and folks took to it almost instantly since it was so self-explanatory. The adoption was phenomenal, and the growth, explosive.
As someone having worked the phones at a call center at the age of 15, Sarah thinks phone support is on its way out! It is expensive and in most cases the staff is not well-educated about the products and services they are supporting. Having untrained interns taking people’s credit cards numbers over phone and paying a crappy wage for reciting a script from the binder is no longer considered effective customer service.
Our expert also shared some interesting research results: Gen Xers tend to contact customer support via email, chat or social while the millennials and the 45+ crowd prefer to find their own answers. Their reasons differ. Millennials “don’t have time to waste” and self-explanatory works best for them while the 45+ age demographic wants to “feel empowered” and leans towards old school user manuals, step-by-step guides and downloadable pdfs.
With web and self-service support on the rise, advent of machine learning and natural language processing, and so many great tools and techniques out there for companies and teams of all sizes – the support community is living in truly magical times. If done right, these technologies can bring great returns on investment and help support driven organizations deliver a stellar customer experience.
Sarah Hatter is going to be sharing her valuable insights on emerging trends and best practices in customer support in a webinar, organized by Solvvy, an intelligent self-service platform for customer service. Reserve your spot today.