Most people don't really like it when they need to seek customer support help. I'm different. I love customer support interactions because it helps me, as the leader of the Global Service Delivery team at inContact, to shape our customer support strategies and best practices.
I recently needed some information on my health insurance. It was late so I assumed customer support wouldn't be there, and began searching in the customer portal. Yes, a self-service portal…how cool. Finally I found the topic I wanted and all of a sudden a little pop up box said “do you want to chat? How can I help you?" It even had the name of the person inviting me to chat. I thought, "great, I’m going to get this question answered and I can resolve my issue." However, after 10 minutes of back and forth with this "agent" (AKA virtual assistant) I didn't have an answer and walked way with a poor customer experience.
Call me old fashioned, but for me nothing beats the personal interaction with a customer. Good interactions or not so good interactions, that human element has the opportunity to make a difference. In fact, I was inspired by a quote from Customer Experience Strategy by Lior Arussy:
“Employees create the customer experience. Without delightful employee experiences, there is no customer delight. You cannot initiate one without the other – it’s that simple. Either through product and service innovations, or through exceptional customer service, employees cement customer relationships.”
I know…it’s about what the customer wants… but it can also be about the brand you want to create. I met with a customer today and their brand is the customer experience. It is in the DNA of every employee. They are passionate about what their company delivers to their customers and they don’t see that changing. With all the innovation in self–service, chat and other non-verbal interactions, I guarantee there is still a large group of customers who want that “personal touch” and see the value of such a relationship.
So based on my experience with my insurance provider, what am I going to do with my own service/support organization when I launch chat support? While I know some companies have been very successful with virtual assistants, I'm going to make sure it is a real person at the end of that keyboard and do my best to make sure our customers can tell that “personal touch” is delivered by real employees.