CYBERSPACE CAN BE LONELY_nlighten article_July_2019

Digitising consumer interactions was supposed to give the customer what they want – instant access to information and communication. To a certain extent, it does. Most businesses now communicate with their customers through various online portals and UX business is booming, as businesses invest in ensuring that user experience is optimised and personalised at every stage.

We’re huge advocates of great UX, of course, and of how technology can facilitate great CX and give businesses a way to digitally record and track the customer journey at all stages. But – and this is a big BUT – businesses are forgetting something really important: You still need to make it easy for your customers to talk to you in person.

Wasn’t the Internet supposed to speed up communication and make things simpler?

Humans have the capacity to speak at 150wpm, meaning 1,000 words can be spoken in around 6.6 minutes. Conversely, the average typist using a computer keyboard can master 40wpm – meaning that those same 1,000 words could take upwards of 25 minutes to exchange. This is even more protracted when people are accessing online platforms using their mobile phones, and relying on their thumbs to do the talking.

When people are looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems, the more difficult it is and the longer it takes, the more lonely and irritated they feel. And if there is one thing technology and the Internet has achieved, it is lowering people’s tolerance for waiting.

This is when it can all go wrong for your brand online

One of the reasons that customers take to social media to vent their spleens when they are aggrieved is because they have learned it is the easiest and fastest way of getting attention and support. That’s sad, isn’t it?

When things go wrong, customers aren’t just looking for a resolution; they are looking for validation, sympathy and support. They aren’t getting that from chatbots, FAQ pages, or a contact form.

Don’t let your customer feel isolated

When things don’t go as they are supposed to, it can be lonely online. Cyberspace is a frustrating place if you want to reach out and get answers to questions that somebody hasn’t already thought of.

Why don’t businesses make it easy to contact a human when it’s needed?

Going through customer service contact options can be a frustrating experience, one that merely adds fuel to the fire when a customer is disgruntled. If your business has messed up, you want to have as many options as possible for your customer to tell you all about it, and providing a real person to speak to often feels as though it is an absolute last resort for businesses.

Have you gone online to get customer service contact details and had to answer multiple questions about your complaint using dropdown boxes directed to a FAQ, offered the option of sending an email, and only once every avenue has been explored are you bequeathed the privilege of a precious phone number? That’s simply not good enough.

Many customers prefer to chat online – the above-average typists, those with social anxiety, noisy households or a multitude of reasons they would rather keep things behind a screen. Many just wish for a little human interaction, without having to jump through hoops to get it. It isn’t too much to ask for.

View the previous nlighten article by Nathalie Schooling: How to Be a Better Customer Experience Leader

nlighten. enhancing customer experience:

Customer Experience Masterclass: Get results by thinking like a customer experience pro – Invest a day in our value-packed interactive CX coaching. The quality of your customers’ experiences defines your success. | JHB – 9 October 2019