Customer experience teams in 2021 I Harald Henn
Harald Henn paints his vision of the automated call center of the future, and explains how various roles can and should transform to ensure the customer service experience is constantly optimized.
In this interview, our customer experience expert Harald Henn discusses the need for customer service teams to focus their time and effort on the more emotional tasks and queries, while leveraging AI technologies for the more repetitive tasks and requests. This interview is an extract from our full interview with Harald for our Navigating Customer Service 2021 Guide.
What do you think customer service teams are going to have to do differently in 2021, to stay ahead of the competition and keep their customers happy?
Harald: I think that for those repeating tasks: ‘where's my package?’, ‘Where's the shipment?’, ‘there's something wrong with the invoices‘, that is something that those assistants can easily achieve and they can provide way better service around the clock any time of the day than human beings [can]. Human beings should emphasize on something different, which is emotional relationship building and trying to have a long-lasting relationship. That is still something I want to do with a human being not with an assistant or with conversational AI. So I think that the teams need to have more emphasis on training, on building relationships, rather than doing transactional businesses. ‘Where's my shipment?‘ which is the most common question in e-commerce, this is something that provides no value to a human being that another human being is answering the question, ‘I have to look into shipment system and your shipment will arrive next Thursday.’ Any conversation and technology can better provide that answer than human beings.
If I have a question ‘Will this product really fit my needs?‘, that is something that still should stay with agents, with human beings. But ‘Where is my parcel?‘, ‘Can I have another invoice, I lost the first one?’ I mean, no value to the conversation. So leave it up to conversational agents.
So the IVA should be taking care of those very repetitive tasks, whereas the humans should be emotionally connecting with the customer, and really providing that human touch that customers are looking for.
Harald: Exactly. But that needs to be addressed. In the past, we have seen too much emphasis on repetitive tasks done by agents, and they were trained on these issues. I think that the payment structure needs to be re-addressed, and re-adjusted. We need better people in on the frontline, because this is the ‘make or break’ -- if you have somebody who takes care of you, who can show empathy, where you think you are appreciated [in regards to] the business you're doing with the company, and you have a person on the other side where you say, ‘I like to do business with that person,’ then you should have the best people on the front office. And they should be fair paid and they should be well trained. So [there should be a] totally different attitude and organization than in the past and I think that needs to be readjusted in a lot of customer service teams.
What else do you think is essential for customer service teams to know about this increased emphasis on customer experience as we enter into 2021?
Harald: It's a never-ending story. I mean, once you have trained somebody, that doesn't mean that you can stop there. It's a very continuous effort on a very high level to make sure that your ‘make or break’ organization is really working and gives you a competitive advantage.
Discover more of Harald’s customer service team predictions for 2021, as well as those from our other expert interviewees, in our Navigating Customer Service in 2021 trends guide. Grab your copy now
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