What Is a Virtual-First, Human-Centered Approach?
The virtual-first, human-centered approach is aptly named for the holistic approach to the customer experience. Although customers may first encounter the AI, IVR, or virtual assistance tools, everything leads back to the human agents whom we rely on to help customers.
While the virtual tools provide many quick self-service functions, customers will always have the option to speak with a live person to address their questions and concerns. Offering omni-channel support not only gives people more choices in how they interact with your company, but also relieves the burden of the workload from your agents. With a virtual-first, human centered approach, people remain at the heart of your operations.
The Virtual Role in Improving the Customer Experience
Digital tools are designed to improve the customer experience, not direct it. AI platforms have proven that they optimize the customer experience by reducing handle time and call volume, making your agents’ jobs much easier. The system can predict where the conversation is going based on historical data, and populate answers. Not only does this reduce the time it takes agents to find answers and collect data, but it also allows them to focus on the conversation. Meanwhile, you are training and refining these digital tools to become even more effective with every interaction.
From the customers’ perspective, your virtual tools provide more freedom and choices in the customer experience. Self-service options allow customers to get quick and easy answers when they don’t need to speak with an agent. And for the circumstances that require a human agent, virtual callbacks mean that they no longer have to spend hours glued to the phone or risk losing their place in line. In addition to reducing wait times, it has also decreased call abandonment as well.The virtual role in improving the customer experience is one that is sure to keep evolving. Understanding its application will help optimize your call center’s performance.
The Human Role in Customer Service
A human-centered approach means that we remember these are real people we are interacting with, and should be treated with the same empathy and respect we would want in their situation. Oftentimes, they are dealing with difficult circumstances, and your agents are the first people they have been able to interact with. It’s important to understand that emotions run high, and the automated systems can be difficult to navigate, creating high-stress situations.
It’s at this point when the quality of your customer service is most crucial. Most people simply want to feel heard, or as if someone cares. That’s when we need to really focus on each customer as an individual and make a connection. Of course, you still have to service your calls, but take the time to get to know who you are talking to and familiarize yourself with their specific needs. If you are listening, it will make a lasting impression.
In order to achieve this, you must also maintain a staff that is well-trained and familiar with handling the issues their customers are dealing with. Agents who are knowledgeable and efficient make it easier to find solutions instead of creating more problems. But most importantly, it means they will be better prepared to for advocate for your customers