How a human touch improves customer loyalty and retention

A staggering 74% of customers say they’re more loyal to a company when they can speak to a real person instead of an automated system when they need assistance. Whilst digital solutions are great for improving efficiency and providing 24/7 support, it’s clear that human beings also play a vital role in creating a quality customer experience.

But what is it about the human touch that makes building trust with customers so much easier? In this article, we’ll look at the different ways the human touch can increase customer loyalty and retention, and why human staff are essential to the overall customer experience.

1. Increases customer satisfaction

More than half of customers prefer speaking to a human being on the phone in any circumstance, meaning those customers prefer human interaction regardless of both the issue they’re calling about and the other contact options available (such as chatbots or self-service knowledge bases).

To give customers the human interaction they want, it’s necessary to have a team of real people manning your phones. However, it’s just as vital that your team has the training and experience necessary to provide a good experience and satisfactory resolutions to customers’ problems. Companies seeking to leverage the power of human touch customer service will need to invest time and resources into training, as well as recruitment.

A solid customer service training programme will usually devote some time to emphasising the importance of empathy. If a company is looking to focus on human touch customer service to improve customer loyalty and retention, it might be wise to prioritise empathy as part of employee training. Doing so will help ensure that employees aren’t simply there to provide human interaction but to establish a genuine connection between a brand and its customers.

2. Creates strong relationships with customers

Did you know that 81% of high-performing customer service teams ensure their interactions with customers are oriented towards relationship-building? In low performing teams, this figure is almost 20% lower.

Creating a relationship is vital for customer satisfaction. To create loyal, returning customers, a business needs to make sure consumers feel valued and listened to. Although digital solutions are great at resolving problems, it’s difficult to create genuine relationships between a brand and its customers without real human interaction forming some part of the customer service process.

Encouraging customers to return is essential for helping a company survive in a post-pandemic landscape. There are a huge number of financial benefits to focusing on customer loyalty and retention. For instance, returning customers spend 67% more than new customers, and are 50% more likely to refer your business to others.

3. Demonstrates company values

Values are important. So important, in fact, that 86% of consumers say they are more likely to spend money with a brand that has values aligned with their own. This preference creates another opportunity to utilise the human touch in your customer service.

A company will likely struggle to demonstrate their values in a sincere way with digital-first customer service, because of the limitations of current technology. While automation is fantastic for efficiency, a human operator is needed to demonstrate particular company values like honesty, fairness or a community spirit.

For example, if a customer feels that a particular decision or company policy is resulting in unfair treatment, they won’t get far complaining about the issue to a chatbot. On the whole a machine would only be able to provide programmed responses, which would be in line with established policy.

A human being, however, can listen to the customer’s complaint, and investigate further to see if something can be done to accommodate the customer and ensure fair treatment. As well as creating loyalty, these positive interactions are great for building trust with customers, so that they have faith in the company’s customer service.

So by utilising human touch customer service, a brand can demonstrate its values (like treating customers fairly) more effectively. Doing so helps instil loyalty in customers and retain their business in future.

The importance of a human touch in customer service

Unlike automated solutions, human beings can demonstrate empathy, which is crucial in creating a connection with a customer. Advisors can also understand customers’ problems and emotions more comprehensively than current AI software can manage.

Without leveraging the uniquely human factors of empathy and understanding, a company might struggle to build relationships with its customers, which is harmful for retention. In this way, it’s essential to have a significant human component in your customer service strategy.

On the other hand, automation definitely has its uses. For instance, online chatbots can be programmed to provide solutions to common problems, freeing up human staff to deal with major issues.

For a company to succeed, it must establish a balance between human interaction and digital tools. Combining the two will see bigger increases in customer loyalty and retention than focusing on one might provide.

Include a human touch in your customer service with Sigma Connected

To create lasting relationships with your customers, consider Sigma Connected. We can provide your company with highly-skilled customer service representatives, who are trained to ensure every interaction with your customers is a positive experience.

Skilled representatives can be acquired from Sigma Connected for far less than recruiting, onboarding and training the same number of staff would cost your company. Reducing costs in this way leads to a far better return on your investment. Furthermore, outsourcing with Sigma saves time as well money, as a team can be set up and begin working within two weeks.

If you’re interested in any of our services, or have any questions about what we can do for you, contact us today

 

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