How Important is High-Touch Customer Service for Your Contact Center

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The number of calls answered on an hourly basis, time taken to answer a single call and the handling time of a call are not always the most accurate metrics to evaluate the performance of a contact center, although they are commonly used. Being average is not good enough in a market where there is intense competition.

Modern contact center managers and company leaders realize that it is not only about complex mathematical equations or numbers featuring in the performance audit reports and balance sheets. It is more about customer satisfaction and customer welfare. If a customer is happy, getting a few extra referrals is a cakewalk.

Also, we know prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, even though evolving technology has made problem resolution easier and faster, the best scenario is the one where there are no problems. Multi-channel problem resolution also escalates costs.

The only way concerns can be mitigated effectively is by envisaging problems even before they occur. That would keep the customers happiest, because they won’t have to spend additional time on maintenance or looking for resolutions. It can be achieved if a company maintains a knowledge management system which analyzes vast amounts of discrete and continuous data collected over an extended period of time.

By studying the data carefully, a number of problems can be identified and solutions can be provided through self-help services, tutorials, FAQ pages, making calls proactively, or through newsletters.  Call volumes would drop and bring cost benefits to the system. 

What is High-Touch Customer Service Approach?

With the explosion of technology, it has become imperative for contact centers to adopt modern technologies and resolve customer issues. Empowering the customers through self-service portals and tutorials and reducing resolution times make technology an indispensable part of customer service. However, even in the age of proliferation of easy-to-use, and highly affordable technology and miniaturized mobile devices, there will always be issues which chatbots and smart devices won’t be able to resolve. It would undoubtedly require human intervention. There are also callers who don’t feel comfortable with modern technology and prefer to make voice calls. For such customers, training the right candidates and making them independent enough to take charge is necessary. They will have to be given access to the right resources and also direct access to managers for resolution of problems.

Resolution of calls in the first or second call is an important metric which is often overlooked. In order to resolve an issue in the first call, the length of the call may extend but there are immediate cost benefits in terms of lower number of follow-up calls or repeat calls to resolve the same issue(s).

Companies categorize contacts in their CRM software in terms of different demographic and psychographic parameters. However, based on a single or a combination of parameters, the importance of customers varies. Those in the high worth bracket expect more personal care. Human agents are required to make calls to them with customized offers. It is different from less important customers who may only receive standard service calls from VoIP technologies and predictive dialing technologies. This is also an example of high-touch customer service.

How Can you Deliver High-Touch Customer Service?

A high-touch customer service approach ensures that the customer touch points are streamlined and each offers a unique and memorable experience to customers. An agent has to be a very good listener and observer to understand the customer needs and troubles. Agents can then offer the best possible resolution and if a solution is not available immediately, they can disconnect after assuring the caller that his problem will be dealt with at the earliest and as soon as a credible solution is found, it would be communicated to the caller. A highly professional agent would call back as promised. This increases the rate of first call resolution without having to route the call to other people and thereby, increasing the average call handling time.

However, care has to be taken that not too much is promised and not too little is delivered. That would create a very bad impression on the customer and negative word of mouth could be detrimental to the organization.

An agent should be sincere when communicating with a customer and should always be empathetic to the customer. His manners should be impeccable and professional with a personal touch. Being ambassadors of the company, they have to ensure that even if they are making a sales pitch, they don’t sound overzealous and bellicose.

Creating a long-term healthy relationship is far better than showing a few extra conversions in your performance sheet. If you act as well wishers of your customers, they will also start to care about the company and soon an unbreakable bond will be created which will lead to better sales and more business. The best approach for a modern contact center undoubtedly is the high-touch and high-tech approach.