Here at B Squared Media, we are known for bringing humanity to customer care communications. That’s because our focus is on driving conversation.
Nothing has brought more light to the need for humanity in customer care than the COVID-19 pandemic. With delayed shipping times, limited stock, and longer on-hold wait times, customers are more eager than ever for answers. Factor in high tensions due to virus fears, social issues, and lockdown – long story short, it’s never been more important to respond the right way.
Having trouble bringing humanity to your customer care communications? Have no fear, we’re breaking down our strategy for you below!
Don’t Be Afraid To Go Off Book
While it’s important to communicate consistent messaging across your brand, don’t get so hung up in previously approved messaging that you end up looking like a robot.
In order to bring humanity to customer care, you need to be truly ready before responding. If you’re getting a lot of questions about replenishing your stock, and are only sharing the same 1-3 answers to each question, you’ll come off as dismissive and robotic. Your customers will also catch on to your generic responses, and chances are, they won’t be understanding.
Don’t be afraid to tailor your approved response to specific questions. It’s likely what has been approved won’t fit every question. Take a moment to see what the customer is asking, and make sure you’re answering it correctly.
Bringing humanity to customer care communications involves tailoring your answers to each user. While you can go off a basic script, you need to vary the response and add more detail when necessary. If you don’t, you’re going to hear about it!
Use Chatbots As A Tool, Not A Crutch
Many consumers want to use chatbots, but it’s easier to do them wrong than it is to do them right. Chatbots are about convenience, which is why they are great to use for FAQs, scheduling appointments, or updating account information.
They lose the element of convenience when they are unable to complete a request and the needed human support doesn’t show up. I recently reached out to The Container Store via Facebook Messenger. I had made an order several weeks before, and while I had since received two emails stating that shipping was delayed, there had been a lack of information shared in that communication.
Reaching out via messenger, I was met with the below message, making it clear I was going to be interacting with a chatbot.
My first reaction was positive. I certainly understand the stress the pandemic has put companies under and the increase in angry customers. And in times of overwhelm, chatbots can be useful. But after answering the chatbot’s questions, I was left with this:
This message was sent on a Monday at 1 p.m. I did not hear back from a human at the Container Store until Thursday at 1 p.m. Not only that but when I replied to the person, I was once again prompted with a chatbot.
The lesson here? Overwhelm is understandable, and chatbots are a great tool. But you can’t expect them to do all the work for you. Bringing humanity to customer care communications means involving humans in a timely manner. And if you’re not hitting the mark, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about bringing in an agency like B Squared Media.
Listen To Customer Feedback
When your customers offer feedback in comments or private messages, don’t ignore it. Not only should you acknowledge their contribution, but you should also collect it. Are you noticing many people saying the same thing? Or does a suggestion make sense to you or your team? Is it something you can implement?
Let’s say you’re a jewelry company, and every time you post a photo of your pieces, your audience is asking for rose gold options. Ignoring those requests won’t do much in creating loyalty to your brand. In fact, if consumers ask enough and are not acknowledged, it’s likely they’ll move on to a different brand. Instead, acknowledging those requests and letting consumers know that you’re working on adding more rose gold jewelry to your next collection can go a long way in helping your customer feel heard.
Humanity in customer care means that you are not only answering questions, but you are also listening. That’s why it’s important to have your ear on the ground. Acknowledgment alone goes a long way. Add in the use of social listening, and you’ll be able to anticipate needs before they are even suggested to you!
Rise To The Occasion
Another important lesson we’ve learned over the last several months? You need to be ready to take action. Nothing makes this more clear that the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement at the beginning of June. Consumers were demanding action from brands and companies, and those who didn’t act, or didn’t act fast enough, paid the price.
Don’t fall into the trap that what you do or how you respond on social doesn’t matter. You can do all the above in order to bring humanity to your customer care communications, but if you ignore events that are taking a toll on your consumers, then you aren’t being very human at all.
The best thing you can do to make sure you’re ready to take action when the moment arises is to prepare. What are your brand values? Where does your brand stand on certain issues? If your consumers ask you to stand up, how will you do so?
Part of knowing how to respond is knowing your audience. How are they affected by what’s going on? Is that affecting how they are interacting with you? In what ways can you validate their experiences and be there to support them?
Thinking about situations like these before they happen so you can act in the moment is one way to bring humanity to your brand and set yourself apart from others.
Always Be Listening
If we had to breakdown all the above into a few words, we’d say “Always be listening.”
Take the time to hear what your consumers are saying before sending them a generic response. Don’t leave them hanging when you have a problem, acknowledge their feedback, and know what they expect from you. If you’re on top of those initiatives, you’ll be well on your way to bringing humanity to your customer care communications.
Leah K. Williams
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