As technology makes great advances and processes become further automated, we risk losing a key component of customer engagement in our business, human interaction. Automation has its benefits, but in building relationships with prospects and clients, it can be the downfall to a business.
In many stores today, a customer is able to walk in; locate what he needs; proceed to the self-checkout lanes; pay; and leave never having spoken a word to anyone. Where this can be looked at as efficient for the consumer, and cost effective for the store, it bypasses any human connection.
Why Human Connection is Important
The interaction with a customer can be a huge differentiator in today’s market. As easily as it was for someone to walk into the store and make a purchase without even uttering a sound, they just as easily can walk into a competitor for a similar experience. To stand out from those around you, creating a positive customer experience by crafting an interaction, between the customer and the representative, can be the winning difference.
Opportunity to Differentiate
Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) systems have been around for years in automating customers through menus when they call a business number. For many people they provide frustration when they can’t easily reach a human to answer their question or address their need. They sit pressing every number possible, hoping it transfers to a real voice. In many situations, where companies look at IVR systems to be a cost savings, customers have found them to be a curse.
Some companies have recognized this and have used it in advertising. They demonstrate the advantage their company provides in making it easy to speak a person. These companies have recognized the value of the contact with the person and the opportunity for conversation.
Conversations Provide Benefits
Conversation has almost become a lost art, and when used can provide various benefits.
A Powerful Marketing Tool
Engaging customers in conversation can be a powerful marketing tool. Speaking with a prospect, prior to a sale, the opportunity exists to ask why they have an interest in the product and how they plan to use it.
This question can help verify that the product they are reviewing best meets their needs, or if another option would better serve them. Being able to evaluate and make the optimal recommendation to a prospect can demonstrate that the company cares about their clients. It can also prevent future concerns by clients when they have purchased something that didn’t best meet their needs.
Ability to Identify Trends
Customer feedback can be a source of impactful information. When conversations happen with multiple clients and the same questions or concerns are repeated, it can be an opportunity for the company to solve a problem. By recognizing the trend, they can provide value in pre-empting the questions with information that provides the answer as well as has the opportunity address a recurring concern.
Turn Around a Dissatisfied Customer
Companies whose representatives are strong in listening skills can be vital in reversing dissatisfied customers. Often the complaint a client expresses may not be getting down to the root of the problem. By listening and then asking a few clarifying questions, often the true issue in the mind of the customer can be resolved.
Turning a bad experience around can be significant in not only retaining the customer, but preventing their leaving the situation dissatisfied and sharing their discontent.
According to Zendesk, 95% of customers who have a bad experience will share it with others and 54% with share it with five or more people.
Ensuring that your company keeps a focus on providing human to human contact and engaging in conversation with prospects and clients, can elevate you from your competition, creating loyal customers for years to come.
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