Does Too Much Technology Disrupt Interpersonal Communications?

Have you ever gone out to lunch or dinner and noticed that nearly everyone in the restaurant is using his or her smartphones? There’s a good chance that you’ve experienced this exact same situation, as we’ve all been guilty of being a little too attached to technology at some time or another.

But, with that said, technology has become an important part of our lives, helping us connect with others and work more efficiently. But is our addiction to technology disrupting interpersonal communication? According to a recent Harris survey, the answer is “yes.”

According to the survey results, 71 percent of respondents believe technology has improved their quality of their life. However, almost three-quarters of U.S. adults also believe that technology has become too distracting, even millennials (18-35) seem to agree according to the survey.

What’s more, a strong majority of respondents agree that technology is corrupting interpersonal communications (69 percent) and having a negative impact on literacy (59 percent) with these figures highest among baby boomers.

So what do these survey findings mean for contact centers? It’s quite simple; businesses must ensure that they’re maintaining a healthy balance between technology and human interaction.

While self-service technology is great for certain situations—for example, when a customer needs to check on their bill or status of a delivery—others situations call for communication with a live Communicator.

It’s for this reason why it’s extremely important that businesses offer various different communication channels to cater to consumers needs, such as live chat, social media, and telephone service.

While technology has certainly changed the customer care industry, it hasn’t lessened the need for Communicators. There are certain situations in which technology just can’t offer the same quality of customer care and, in these scenarios consumers need the help of a live, experienced Communicator to help solve their problem.

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, SOCAP, 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 is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Three Customer Care Practices That Drive Consumers Crazy

The contact center is one of the most important arms of a business. After all, contact centers are responsible for managing customer care and maintaining consumer retention. But, identifying what makes a customer tick, however, isn’t always easy for contact center employees. After all, no two customers are the same.

To help businesses understand what practices tend to drive consumers crazy, Consumer Reports National Research Center recently conducted a survey of 1,016 adults. In the survey, the company asked respondents to rate certain pain points on a scale from 0 to 10, 0 being “not annoying at all” to 10 being “tremendously irritating.”

So what practices frustrate customers the most?

Survey results found that 75 percent of respondents are irritated when they can’t get a live person on the phone and when a customer service representative is rude or condescending. What’s more, 74 percent of those polled said that they become highly aggravated when they are disconnected, while 71 percent said they’re frustrated when they are disconnected and unable to reach the same representative again.

For contact center leaders, it’s important that they make sure that their Communicators aren’t “annoying” customers by participating in these practices. Below are various ways in which contact center leaders can avoid making these mistakes:

  • Preserve human interaction: Many companies make the mistake of replacing human interaction with interactive voice response (IVR) technology. However, the majority of customers prefer to speak to an actual human being. Therefore, make sure that you give customers the option to speak to a qualified Communicator.
  • Train Communicators: As stated above, customers want to speak to a Communicator who’s not only knowledgeable about the company’s product or service, but who’s also empathetic and positive. Communicators should always use positive language in all situations no matter how frustrated a person may be at the start of the call.

Be sure to employ a strong customer care strategy so that you can  provide consumers the service to make them happy and retain their business.

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, SOCAP, 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 is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

New Report Stresses the Importance of Self-Service for Customer Care

The need for customer self-service at the enterprise level has never been greater, with three out of four customers now preferring to solve service issues on their own without asking agents for support.

Why is customer self-service in such high demand? Simply put, self-service expedites the customer service process while also easing the burden on call center staff.

Here is a breakdown of some of the leading technologies in use today, as evidenced by a new report from Software Advice:

  • FAQs: With an 85 percent adoption rate among customer service departments, the online facts and questions, or FAQ, section is the most widely implemented self-service solution in use today. This helpful resource allows customers to quickly locate answers to common questions with the click of a mouse without ever having to pick up the phone.
  • Knowledge bases: A step above the FAQ section in terms of scope, knowledge bases typically include resources like customer testimonials, white papers and product specification sheets to aid customers in their service journey.
  • Interactive voice response (IVR) phone systems: The most important part of any phone-based self-service solution, IVR phone systems automatically greet customers and transfer them to the appropriate department within the enterprise (i.e., technical support, customer service or sales).

Other leading self-service channels being used in the enterprise today include online discussion forums, interactive diagnostics and Web-based virtual assistants, according to the report’s findings.

It’s important to realize, however, that while self-help is an invaluable next-generation technology that customers love, quick and easy access to live agents when needed continues to be critical to your service delivery. There is nothing worse for customer service, for instance, than a caller getting lost inside an IVR system with no access to an operator, or browsing a website without the ability to talk to a live representative. Consequently, if you’re going to offer self-service features, make sure that your customer service representatives are always accessible to ensure the highest possible customer satisfaction.

Is your business currently using self-service for customer support? Tell us about your experiences!

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.