Technology is great… until it’s not. You are on a website. A little box pops up and there’s a picture of a customer service rep with a typed message asking if you need help. So, you type a question, and just a moment later you get a response. That’s the perfect scenario. But, what happens when the response is wrong? I was on a website looking for a camera for my notebook computer. The chat box popped up, asking if I needed help. I typed in a question about the camera and the response was about what computer I was interested in purchasing. I had no interest in buying a computer. The digital experience had gone awry.
There needs to be a balance between the digital and human experience. A total digital experience is not always possible. If a customer needs support, a chatbot may not have all the answers. The best chatbots have been programmed to understand when it doesn’t have an answer or the customer is confused. At that point, the chatbot moves the customer from the digital experience to a human experience, as it seamlessly switches you to a human to continue the conversation. That’s the way it should work – just at the right point, moving to the human experience. That’s balance.
There are other forms of digital experiences. Zappos is the online retailer that makes it easy to connect with a customer service rep. They know customers will have questions, and even though they are an online company that sells off their website, they make it super-easy to connect with a human.
And, sometimes the experience moves from human to digital. For example, I may call to talk to a support rep. Maybe I have a “how do I do this” type of question. The customer support rep can simply tell me and walk me through the steps, and that may take some time. So, maybe a better option is to send me an email with explicit instructions. Or, maybe send me a link to a video that shows me, step-by-step, how to accomplish what I’m having trouble with.
So, how does a company strike a balance between digital and human? The answer is knowing where to cross over between digital and human – or the other way around. And, that point of the crossover is when there is friction. At the point of friction is the right place to switch. In the examples I just provided, there was a point of friction. The chatbot knew when to flip me over to a live agent. The customer support rep knew I would have a better experience watching a video tutorial. Once you know the point of friction, you can strike the balance between the digital experience and the human experience, giving your customers the experience they deserve.
Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or . For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken