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This post originally appeared on Customer Think.

In a world where people are continuously connected and able to share good and bad experiences, customers have more influence on brand reputation than ever. They have a closer relationship and emotional investment in the companies they select, and with more ways to interact with a brand; it’s critical to keep customers satisfied. So, what’s the secret to increasing loyalty and ensuring customers use their networking power to recommend your service to a friend? Superior human service.

 

Automated Service Isn’t Enough:

If your organization is trying to achieve superior service and differentiate the customer experience through digital assistants or an army of chatbots, it’s time to reevaluate your strategy. Digital service offerings are a good supplement but their basic functionality is standardized across most companies. This means your customers won’t be able to differentiate your chatbot from your competitors. Digital assistants don’t personalize conversations, build trust, demonstrate empathy or deepen emotional connections. And if your customers can’t tell what makes your service special, there will be little holding them back from switching providers. The crux of the matter is simple: there is no substitute for a human interaction. Accenture supports this notion, reporting that despite the rise of self-service options, nearly three quarters of will choose a human over a digital capability when seeking advice or looking to resolve a service issue or complaint, and that percentage is even higher when it relates to sophisticated inquiries. This means your phone based service professionals are at the heart of your brand’s customer-relationship and play a critical role in boosting customer satisfaction and long-term brand loyalty.

In order to win customers over for the long haul, service professionals must be engaged, confident, and emphatic to customer needs. Modern day customers want to be respected and valued; they need to trust companies have their best interest at heart. In a recent survey Cogito conducted with over 1,000 customers:

  • 80% of respondents said they believe a personalized experience is crucial when speaking with a phone professional.
  • Furthermore, 97% reported it is important that a customer service representative demonstrate a genuine interest in solving their problem. If your customers perceive they are not being heard or that their issues do not matter, they will simply leave your brand for another.

 

Empathy Is a Competitive Advantage:

As service becomes the number one differentiator for customers, organizations are under more pressure to build a brand that prioritizes positive customer experiences. In 2017, the need to offer positive service has only escalated. To achieve differentiated service, don’t rely on your website’s pop up robo-guidance. Give your customers the empathetic human touch to prove to them how much you respect their time and value their business. Give your service professionals the training and tools they need to build rapport, trust, and emotional connections with your customers. Those organizations that can provide this kind of personalized service will earn the reputation, loyalty, and referrals that will fuel long-term competitive advantage and growth.   Want to learn more? Check out this interview with Donna Peeples, Chief Customer Officer at Pypestream, about Driving Better Customer Experiences Through the Call Center.

 


 

Steve Kraus
Vice President of Marketing | Cogito

Steve brings over twenty years of experience in marketing, selling, and delivering customer engagement solutions to the world’s most customer-centric organizations. Prior to joining Cogito, Steve led product marketing for Pegasystems, growing the CRM suite from a niche player into a recognized leader for marketing, sales, and service applications.