The phrase, “there is a time and place for everything” couldn’t ring truer when discussing the dilemma modern contact center leaders face when striking an appropriate balance among digital, automated and phone-based customer care support options.

For instance, when consumers are pressed for time, access to digital support might prove most convenient. As well, automated support is great for scheduling appointments or entering credit card information, for example. But when consumers need substantial support to solve a complex inquiry, there is nothing more effective than human interaction.

But let’s face it … digital communication methods are swiftly infiltrating traditional contact center best practices. In fact, research from Dimension Data projects that digital traffic is set to rise in 89 percent of contact centers within the next two years, and voice traffic will drop in 35 percent of contact centers.

Indeed, it would be a shame to see human interaction fade away in favor of auto attendants and self service customer care options. However, contact center leaders must face this challenge head on by learning how to integrate the right communication solutions at the right times and for the most suitable demographics.

After all, it’s just as important to preserve your contact center’s essential live support service delivered by a trained professional as it is to future-proof your business by implementing digital solutions that are currently increasing in popularity.

It’s tricky to achieve, but striking the right balance between automated, digital and phone-based interactions will be instrumental in preserving human interactions in the contact center, here’s why:

  • Consumers need deep support:   Not all inquires can be answered in a live Web chat or by the options listed off by an auto attendant. When your consumers have complex questions to ask verbal communication is the most efficient customer care method. What’s more, many consumers will always prefer human interaction.  As well, miscommunications and misunderstandings, in terms of tone and objective, are bound to occur when too much customer care is dealt with via digital or automated services. As such, contact centers must always provide access to a hotline number if a Web chat goes awry and the consumer needs live support.
  • Multiple avenues are convenient: Providing different methods of communications augments the consumer experience. After all, superior quality of customer care means that consumers can gain 24/7 access to the support platforms that they prefer. When your consumers know that they can access a combination of support methods which suit their preferences and time constraints, they’ll likely be much more satisfied with your overall service.
  • Human interaction cultivates relationships: Today, consumers want to establish trust with the brands they do business with and quality of customer care is at the crux of cultivating such relationships. As such, the best way to truly convey your dedication to providing high quality support for your consumers is to interact with them on a human level. Phone-based customer care engenders more opportunity to connect with consumers by striking up a spontaneous conversation, demonstrating empathy by actively listening to their questions and expressing compassion and trustworthiness through careful word choice and tone of voice.

It’s important to preserve human interaction in customer care support; however, as technology evolves it’s also important to remain relevant with the times.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.