Why Customer Service Skills Are Especially Important in Today’s Increasingly Automated World

Automation has been steadily increasing as customers expect quick and efficient service, and companies look to save on labor costs. In fact, 25% of jobs in the US are at a high risk of being automated. In a world that is becoming increasingly automated, customer service skills are more important than ever. Why? Because automation tends to increase the efficiency and accuracy of redundant tasks, thus creating an opportunity for employees to connect with customers in more meaningful ways. Customer service takes on a strategic and supportive role in this new environment. Let’s take a look at some ways that your staff can provide excellent service in a highly automated world:

1) Resolving Issues: Although many customers are accustomed to and may prefer automation, there is still a significant amount of consumers that want to be assisted by a person, particularly when getting an issue resolved. In fact, 83% of customers surveyed stated that they prefer human interaction in these situations. We’ve all been there where the automated menu isn’t providing us with the option that we need, or fails to understand what we are asking. This is where an employee with great customer service skills saves the day. The employee’s customer service skills are critical because he/she is often faced with a customer who is frustrated that they have an issue to be resolved and increasingly frustrated that the automated system didn’t help. An employee who is empathetic and able to resolve the problem fully and quickly will significantly enhance the customer’s experience and the overall image of the company. Conversely, an employee with subpar customer service skills will increase the customer’s level frustration and can result in the customer leaving and/or writing a negative review.

2) Personalizing the Experience: Automation provides a one-size-fits all approach, but much of an experience comes from personalization. This is particularly true with experiential products, such as staying at a hotel, eating at a restaurant, or enjoying entertainment. A well-trained employee takes the opportunity to look for clues on what a customer may want, engages in conversation to get to know the customer, and provides customized recommendations. To do so, employees need to be trained on what to look for (i.e., reading body language, understanding common cues, etc.), know how to engage with guests, have a strong understanding of what may enhance a guest’s experience, and share suggestions with the guest without it sounding like a sales pitch. When highly trained employees execute on this properly, it results in satisfied guests and increased revenues for the company.

3) Enhancing Your Brand: As more companies turn to automation, this provides an opportunity to stand out in the crowd by offering high-quality customer service that compliments automation. Great customer service helps retain customers, and customers that continue to support brands will spend 67% more than new customers. An investment in your employees’ customer service skills is an investment in your brand.

Automation should support both customers and employees by taking care of simple, redundant tasks, and allowing employees to use their time supporting customers in meaningful ways. This requires employees to have exceptional critical thinking skills, problem solving abilities, and a high level of empathy. Supporting your employees in developing these skills is critical for achieving success in today’s automated world. So, consider what you need to do to ensure your employees are set up for success in this ever changing, technology-driven environment.

At SGEi, we focus on leadership, sales, and service training. We offer a variety of training programs customized to your company’s needs. Connect with us to learn how we can enhance your employees’ customer service skills.

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