A New Look at Customer Care: Hybrid Customer Service

“How may we assist you?” Customer service is the leading connection between a business and its customers. Providing positive experiences for customers increases the chances of receiving that customer’s ongoing business, thus providing a positive reputation for a brand. There are instances, however, when a service isn’t what a customer hoped it would be. Poor services result in a bad-tasting impression of the brand, and lost business from customers.

Understanding how crucial it is to provide excellent customer experiences through services leads to also being aware of what obstacles businesses should be paying attention to in today’s tech-savvy target markets.

Today’s Customer Service Road Blocks

As important it is to provide information to a customer, it’s also wise to prepare customer service agents with relevant information. Traditionally, these agents go by a script of the common questions and answers in order to resolve customer dilemmas. The problem with this approach is that today’s consumers have more technically advanced inquiries that the agents haven’t been prepared for. Due to these inquiries, agents need to spend more time than necessary figuring out how to resolve customers’ problems. This creates the domino effect of leaving more customers on hold for a longer period of time, resulting in the next road block.

Customers want everything done efficiently, and that fits with their expectations of customer service. Due to other customers with difficult questions, they find themselves on hold for a long period of time and begin to wonder if an agent is ever going to pick up on the other end. This hold becomes a conga line, and more and more calls are left waiting to be answered. Eventually, the longer customers wait, the more likely they are to hang up because they’ve wasted too much time.

The Hybrid Solution

Customers want better service and agents want better strategies to provide that improved service. The solution to the wants and needs of customers and agents is to look at how customer care can be done efficiently, keeping pace with consumer trends. This directs business to use a hybrid solution: the mix of online self-support materials and traditional customer service agents.
This high-quality solution gives the support customers and agents need in order to reach their goal: having problems resolved quickly and easily. Customers can access information at their comfort level, and agents can use these materials to aid in providing a positive customer experience.

The Success of a Hybrid Solution

Self-support materials are used as assistants via a brand’s website. Customers and agents can access many self-support features such as FAQs, videos and interactive how-to guides in order to receive the information they need. These features become crucial advantages for both parties.

Today’s consumers run on technology. From e-book readers to tablets, laptops and smartphones, when customers face a dilemma involving their favorite devices, they want it resolved as quickly as possible. This is where online materials transform to self-support materials for the customer. On their time, without having to be placed on hold, customers can access information and solutions to common issues and troubleshoot their device all in the comfort of their own home or work.

Self-service is also an advantage to customer service agents. The more customers are transitioning to self-support materials, the lower the volumes of calls to their call centers. This allows agents to allocate their time wisely and assist customers who do have more difficult inquiries by gathering information from them and the support materials, as well as guiding customers through their self-support destinations.
There’s no doubt that a hybrid solution is the answer to high call volumes, outdated customer service agent scripts and waiting times. The ability for agents to access key information to create a more efficient service experience, and for customers to become more knowledgeable about their favorite products and independently self-troubleshoot, makes the hybrid solution the adaptation customer care needed.

James Ramey is CEO of DeviceBits, a company that’s changing customer service through conversational digital agents and interactive content that enables customers to help themselves.