As technology further improves how we do business, it is also improving how customers can interact with companies. Most people will acknowledge how annoying it can be to receive non-stop customer complaints, but less acknowledged is that customer complaints don’t happen as often as they should. Many customers have reservations about contacting a company to fix a problem due to the time invested, or the possibility of the issue not getting it fixed at all.
Many customers regard contacting customer service to simply not be worth the effort, with 38% of participants in a survey suggesting they’d rather clean a dirty toilet than go through the rigmarole of calling customer services. On top of this, a large number of participants felt that their business with these companies was underappreciated by the company. In the end, this lack of customer satisfaction adds up, with almost half of these participants saying that they have recently stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service. Overwhelmingly, these business are customer-facing retail roles.
There’s also something of a generation gap regarding customer service. ‘Baby Boomers’ or people born between 1940 and 1960, are more comfortable and willing to use customer services than ‘Millennials’, born between 1980 and 2000, who prefer to figure out a way to fix a problem themselves. There’s also a noticeable gap between generations when it comes to how they prefer to use customer services: Millennials prefer to use services like texting, emailing or online messaging services, while Boomers prefer face-to-face staff interaction, or calling by phone.
In response, a lot of business have starting building ‘chatbots’, to provide a quick response time and enable those more used to texting to use customer services without needing to talk to staff. A chatbot is usually present while a user is navigating the company website. While they can be used to drive sales and offer prices, it’s used mostly by people who need to discuss a problem they’ve had with a company’s services or products.
These chatbot systems seem to be working: well over half of survey participants have stated that chatbots are here to stay and that they use them at least once a month. With this in mind, it might be time to look at the systems we use now for customer service: Large, outsourced call centres with overworked staff, lengthy and frustrating automated phone systems that put you on hold for 15 minutes and email tickets being ignored or delayed without reason.
While a chatbot still annoys some due to being imprecise or obnoxiously chipper, there’s a sizeable portion of your customer base that prefers a chatbot (or a chatbot that switches to a CSA when needed) that would otherwise consider customer service to be too much of a pain to bother with.
When you provide a chatbot on your website, you give a larger portion of your user base the ability to discuss issues, thus strengthening customer retention and improving the reputation of your business. At the Change Consultancy, we’re excited about taking new technology, methods and workplace philosophy to reinvigorate companies and get them running at maximum efficiency in an age where change is fast and confusing.