Customer support is a vital aspect of any business. It includes training, installation, troubleshooting, maintenance and disposal work—all of which are essential for a customer’s proper usage of a product or service.
About 96% of consumers say that customer support is important to their choice of loyalty to a brand. Additionally, great customer service heavily influences a customer’s probability of repeating a purchase by up to 60–70%.
With all these facets included within the umbrella of customer support, 36% of customers will share their experience online, regardless of whether it’s good or bad. Cultivating your own online presence lets you explore what your customers say about you and how you can improve your customer service, especially since customer support demands and tactics are ever changing.
In fact, around 90% of small businesses are now integrating different ways to add convenience to their operations via technological advancements, such as ecommerce, online payments and chatbot customer support, to keep up.
But while many businesses have started incorporating digital solutions into their processes, some argue that live agents are still the way to go. Thus, the AI vs. human debate continues to this day.
If you need help weighing your options for your business, this article can be of assistance. Read our infographic to know which type of customer support is for you.
Factors That Make for Excellent Customer Support
Customer service is the way to understand your customers, which is vital for customer satisfaction. Without it, business growth might not happen. To continue improving your service, you must know how to provide excellent support. Here are some factors to note:
A reliable customer service professional who has a deep knowledge of how their company’s products and services work is key to a customer’s purchasing decision. This is because customers, especially new ones, are bound to ask questions about the purpose and benefit of your offering.
According to a report by INSEAD, business performance was 87% stronger with brand associates who had brand expertise than those without. If your customer support representative is well-trained and has adequate knowledge to answer your customer’s queries, you’ll likely get a successful conversion.
One good customer service practice is being accessible. Customers want to contact your representative for whatever support they require. If you provide them with the kind of assistance they want, where they want it and when they want it, you’ll find yourself with more patrons than you thought.
Per a National Retail Federation report, more than 90% of buyers will choose a merchant based on convenience. Providing such an experience to your customers is a great way to show that you value their time and loyalty, so you reward them with better customer service.
Immediately responding to inquiries or feedback regarding a specific product or service is crucial for customer service. By assisting as many clients as possible, your responsive customer support team can help with customer retention and repeat business.
Customers will feel heard and appreciated if you express your gratitude when they give you positive feedback or if you resolve their concerns in an instant. A HubSpot study shows that 90% ranked responsiveness to customer service issues as ‘important’.
Some customers want businesses to contact them first, especially if there’s a problem with their orders or if you’re going to follow up on their experience. They may not be pleased with the situation, but they’ll appreciate you keeping in touch after the sale and until their concern is resolved, if there is any.
Data from Netomi reveals that 40% of consumers want brands to start taking their needs into consideration as quickly as possible. The only way to provide quick solutions to your customers is by proactively looking for ways to help them, even before they know they need your support.
A representative’s ability to connect with your customers is a major factor in an effective customer service experience. According to research by Dixa, 96% of consumers feel that a brand showing them empathy is vital, especially during a support interaction.
Often, customers feel like they aren’t heard, especially if they don’t get the result they’re looking for. A great way to make up for this unfortunate outcome is to understand where the customer is coming from. Relate to your customers humanely and genuinely.
Advantages of Using AI Customer Support
Artificial intelligence (AI) is widely used in different industries for its great and effective benefits. Similarly, businesses are integrating AI in commerce to help provide a better customer experience. Here are some of the advantages of using AI customer support:
- Round-the-clock availability
While live chat agents will have a typical 9:00 am–5:00 pm workday, lunch breaks, sick and vacation leaves, and holidays off, a customer support AI chatbot has no downtime. It’s always online and available for anyone who wishes to connect with your business—no matter the time and day.
AI chatbots are also great if you serve international customers. You don’t have to worry about failing to cater to customers in different time zones because your AI chatbots will answer everyone from anywhere at any time.
- Quick response time
Consumers value their time and expect real-time help, which is why response time is one of the important attributes of excellent customer support. In fact, according to Ifbyphone, around 79% of consumers want to receive immediate responses.
Fortunately, AI chatbots are programmed to answer instantly, assuring the shortest waiting time for customers. These chatbots are often equipped with canned answers to help customers with common problems and inquiries.
- Reduced errors
Humans can often make mistakes, and while this is generally fine, computers, on the other hand, don’t slip up as much. AI makes decisions based on previously obtained data and algorithms. As a result, errors are minimised. This increases precision when addressing common queries.
This proactive measure to ensure error-free service will greatly affect how your customers think of your company. Trust from customers can help you build a positive brand reputation and get repeat business.
- Faster assistance
Chatbots make decisions and carry out activities faster than humans. While human customer support agents consider different elements for their responses, such as emotion, accuracy and customer rapport, AI-powered machines focus on what they’re programmed to do and deliver results faster.
In comparison to other communication channels, live chat is a cost-effective option. According to Juniper Research, chatbots would save organisations around $8 billion each year.
Not only do you take out overhead costs of a live agent, such as monthly salary, benefits and taxes, but chatbots also allow your support team to communicate with consumers in real time, resulting in a higher return on investment.
Benefits of Working with Human Customer Support
Of course, customer service doesn’t just tackle black-and-white cases. Knowing the answer is just one area of customer service, and delivering the solutions and addressing complex situations properly can only be done by human customer support for now. See the advantages of working with live chat agents below:
- Authentic human touch
Technology is useful but it frequently fails to connect with customers. Often, humans buy based on emotions and want that human touch throughout their customer service experience. When people contact your company, emotional awareness and personalisation make all the difference. Live agents can detect emotional cues and adapt their messages accordingly.
Trust encourages consumer loyalty and gives them a positive experience. If your clients have a pleasant encounter with your company, they’ll associate it with a favourable emotion. Meanwhile, a negative service presents the opposite effect.
- Ability to multitask
Chatbots frequently use canned responses that may not deliver the best solution. Because of this lack of response diversity, concerns may take longer to be resolved.
On the other hand, real human customer support representatives can sort multiple incoming queries, answer with a personalised action plan, and route concerns to the appropriate team member for quicker and more focused assistance.
- Ability to handle more complex issues
Certain questions demand further explanation and discussion. Complex issues can be handled effortlessly by conversing with a live agent. Human chat assistance can provide more significant insights into problems and helpful recommendations from other customers’ similar experiences, delivering more effective solutions.
- Ability to gather qualitative data
Since live chat workers converse directly with clients, it’s easier to exchange the information needed to resolve problems. Furthermore, interactions between agents and customers help the companies gather vital data for improving customer service. This information can be utilised as a resource for future queries and issues, and it can also help spark new company ideas.
- Ability to mitigate customer frustration
Now, customers are pushed to ‘chat’ with a bot more than ever. While it should have been an easy solution, an analysis showed that most consumers (57%) gave a company one-star ratings, suggesting that they weren’t happy with the service they received from their automated customer service.
Connection plays a big part in keeping customers engaged. Unfortunately, chatbots aren’t the most amiable creation, and without this rapport between consumers and support agents, frustration can ensue.
Thus, it’s important to give your customers the best experience by personally acknowledging, empathising, and diffusing issues and concerns more sensibly and as needed, instead of letting an AI chatbot talk to them from start to finish.
The Final Verdict
There’s no doubt both human and AI customer support have a lot they can bring to the table. While both solutions sound practical and beneficial, it’s important to tick off as many items on the list of your customer’s needs as possible.
The best tip is to do your best to keep up with the times, especially when providing quality support for your customers. The two options discussed have their own set of benefits, so choose the solution that best answers your needs. Take the time to weigh which one would fit your company.
If you want to partner with a call centre in the Philippines that can cover all your customer support needs using the right balance of human customer service and technology, check out Select VoiceCom.
Select VoiceCom is a telemarketing and call centre outsourcing company that delivers professional and affordable services. Learn more about Select VoiceCom’s customer service expertise and contact us today!