We think it’s important to strike a balance between automation and a human touch in digital customer service. Sure, we live in a world that increasingly relies on technology, but we believe this only emphasizes the qualities that are particular to human communication, not replace them.
The connections between customer experience and loyalty are clear. Let’s take a closer look at the actual emotions that inspire loyalty. It’s easy to provoke a reaction, but it’s important for contact center teams to focus on the key emotions that are most valuable.
We’ve narrowed it to 5 key emotions for loyalty:
These key emotions encourage customers to come back to your brand because they feel connected and enjoy the different types of interaction they have with the brand, including customer service, the purchase experience, and the product itself.
Emotions that inspire customer loyalty
Retention is a central metric for profit and growth. Startups and smaller companies especially can’t afford to lose customers. But loyal customers are always valuable, no matter how many you have. According to Forrester, customers are 5x more loyal when they feel valued. You can make customers feel valued by inspiring the following emotions.
1) Surprise — Surprise, as long as it’s positive, is very closely related to delight. Agents should try to surprise the customer with the responsiveness, speed, efficacy, and personalization of outstanding customer service. Encourage agents to go out of their way to impress customers. Zappos has done very well with this, and every brand could learn from its example.
The surprise in this regard comes when an agent goes out of his/her way for a customer, or simply knows the customer well enough to offer tailored service that’s also results-driven. There’s still plenty of room for improvement for most companies where digital-first omnichannel customer service is concerned, and anything that’s extraordinary will surprise customers.
2) Familiarity — Despite all of the recent advancements in communication technology, like chatbots and AI, more than half of today’s digital customers still want to interact with a human rather than a machine. Chatbots are great for first-level answers and FAQs, but they still can’t replicate the human touch and spontaneity inherent in interpersonal communications.
Customers want to be treated well, develop relationships with brands, and feel like a ‘regular’ — like traditional days when shopping was exclusively brick and mortar and always face-to-face. Combine this level of personalization with the agility of social media, and you have a winning combination.
3) Relief — Responsive, results-driven customer service that’s delivered with an authoritative, yet human tone soothes even the most upset customers. When things go wrong, the customer wants to feel better, no matter how angry he or she sounds. Feeling like you’re in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing and wants to help is key.
How to make it happen? It helps to know if your customer service agents are naturally empathetic. It’s also a training issue. Customer service agents on social media should be given some freedom to respond to emotional and conversational cues.
4) Gratitude — When you deliver surprise, familiarity, and relief, you have some pretty happy customers on your hands. And what’s even more important is that they’ll feel grateful to you for being friendly and great at what you do. The longer you inspire positive emotions, the more grateful your customers will feel, and the more loyal they will be.
And gratitude feels best when it’s mutual, so be sure to instill in agents a sense of gratitude for their roles. Agents should be inspired to make customers feel grateful, and they should be given the freedom to do so, along with the tools that work better.
5) Belonging — The sense of community a brick-and-mortar shop can give to a neighborhood is hard to replicate on the Internet — but it’s not impossible.
By keeping an active presence on social media and giving prompt responses, you can begin to build a community of engaged customers. Then as you deliver great customer service tailored to each customer when they need help or when things go wrong, they’ll really feel like they belong.
Maintaining a lively dialogue with customers by using listening technology to keep tabs on the online conversation is another great way to make this happen.
Call center software to inspire loyalty
Each interaction between a customer and a brand is a crossroads. It’s an opportunity, a moment in time shared between two people. Having the right tools allows customer service agents to know more about the customer on the other side of the interaction.
Call center software should use the advantages of technology to enable agents to do what they’re really good at: being naturally human.
Interested in learning other ways the digital age is impacting customer emotions? Check out our webinar, Digital – First Customer Service: The Future is Here Today.