What’s the Most Effective Way to Support Today’s Customer?

Customers want self-service options over interacting with in-store employees or your customer service team, if possible.

There’s no doubt about it.

IoT and mobile device management firm SOTI surveyed 526 shoppers and found:

  • 73% prefer in-store self-service technologies
  • 76% like the faster shopping experience that self-service and employee mobile tools provide

Plus, the cost of customer self-service runs just pennies, while the cost of live customer service runs $7 for B2C and $13 for B2C, according to Harvard Business Review

The good thing about this, obviously, is that you can cut your costs. And self-service technologies scale almost infinitely. Plus, customers get help for their problems.

But, on the other hand, this creates the natural problem of your customer service team only getting the more difficult customer service issues technology can’t solve.

The problem is that most companies haven’t changed their customer service hiring and training practices much over the past several decades. So, their reps don’t have the skills necessary to help today’s customers with the challenges they face.

And of course, complex issues take more time (and therefore cost more) to handle.

What Should You Look For in A Customer Service Rep?

By the time a modern customer gets to you, they’ve already done their online research. They’ve used your self-service help if you have it available.

They’ve spent time. They’re angry, frustrated, annoyed, and out of patience. So, you need a specific type of customer service personality to handle that situation.

According to the aforementioned Harvard Business Review, customer service managers prefer what they call “Empathizers.” These reps have good listening and communication skills, like to help, and aim to provide good service.

But HBR found “Controllers” to actually be the best type of rep. “Controllers” take charge in a social situation, build a plan, and get customers a quick answer to their problem.

“Controllers” focus more on telling customers what they should do to solve their problem than asking customers what they want to do.

And HBR found that 84% of customers want a straightforward answer to their problem, rather than an array of choices about what to do.

The theory is easy to understand. But, at least now you know what to aim for.

And you can work to build a customer service support system that makes your customers ecstatically happy…while your competitors flip and flop around, trying to figure out what to do.