How psychology affects the customer experience of voice support

 

When done right, a conversation with the customer over the phone can be helpful, engaging, and even fun. The problem with voice support is that it can also go terribly wrong, and those are the types of interactions that people hear about.

The story is all too familiar, a customer had to wait so long to get a hold of anyone they hung up out of disappointment, the agent on the other end of the line wasn't willing to go the extra mile to solve their problem, or they had to explain the problem anew each time the call was transferred. When a customer reaches out, they're likely frustrated by an issue and have every horror story they've heard in the back of their mind. 

They're not thrilled about having to call in, but at the same time, they understand that it's their best bet for a quick and easy resolution.

All they really want is to talk to a real person:

HEAD-Customer-Support-Values

Customer service values via GetApp Lab.

And they're right; voice support is one of the best channels for quickly identifying and solving complex issues. It's also a great place to build on your relationship with the customer. When you understand where customers are coming from, and strive to provide the best support possible, voice becomes a channel that can help build trust, solve problems, and make the customer experience better.

Why customers dread calling voice support for help

On average, US customers spend more than thirty hours per year on the phone with customer support. Based on these previous interactions, they've formed an opinion about how the whole experience will go. From long wait times and labyrinthine menus to scripted responses and numerous transfers, customers associate contacting support in this channel with a negative experience. Your team will be fighting against these biases whenever they speak to the customer via voice support.

The root cause of this is a perceived lack of respect for the customer's time. They see calling in for support as an investment of their time, something that is taking away from regular daily tasks. If the customer has to waste time on hold or wade through confusing menus just to get to one of your agents, that translates to a bad experience in their mind. It erodes the relationship between the company and the customer and builds on their dislike of voice support. 

These experiences, whether the customer has them with your company, another company, or hear about it from a friend, contribute to their state of mind when actually needing to reach out for support. It's important that your team understands this when providing voice support. When used properly it is one of the best channels for alleviating customer frustration and dealing with urgent and complex issues.

Make customer support your competitive advantage™

Being able to talk through an issue in real time not only helps the customer resolve their issues faster, it also gives your team the easiest path to building a stronger relationship. Your team can easily provide solutions to complicated problems and work with customers to make the entire experience more personal. These experiences give the customer a reason to trust your company and make customer support your competitive advantage.

To provide an exceptional voice support experience for the customer, your team will need to understand why the customer chose this channel in the first place. Customers who reach out in this way are looking for:

  • Quick solutions to complex issues — Voice support gives your team the ability to ask probing questions and guide customers through their issue in real time. Urgent issues like a password reset can be resolved without the back-and-forth that would be required via email or live chat.
  • White-glove treatment — Voice support helps your team provide more personalized experiences for the customer. Customers will use this channel when they want to connect with another person and have them on the line to walk through complicated or confusing tasks.
  • Tough conversations — Voice support is the choice for customers when they need to vent or walk through a difficult issue. The immediacy of this channel helps them feel “heard” and gives them an easy way to talk through any issue that's confusing or frustrating.

In this way, the mindset of a customer who reaches out for voice support is different from those who choose chat or email. Live chat is chosen for its simplicity. Customers love the ability to have an immediate connection with your team while still being able to perform other tasks. Email support is better suited for less urgent issues. The customer will need to wait for replies and potentially go back and forth to clarify their issue a number of times.

Understanding these differences, as well as the specific needs of a customer using voice support, will give your team the ability to create better overall customer experiences. When you consider the frame of mind a customer is in when they call in for voice support, it's easy to bypass potential issues and alleviate their frustration.

The difficulties that come along with this support channel revolve around the customer's past experiences and the value they place on their time. By streamlining the process of contacting voice support and making each experience better than the customer expects, this channel can be one of your most effective tools for building stronger customer relationships.

Make sure your team knows how to provide the best voice support possible

Customers need to be able to connect with your team in the channel that best suits their needs. Voice support is one channel that helps make support your competitive advantage. Your customers will always appreciate the ability to call in and talk with a real human being.

Voice support helps them resolve complicated issues quickly, and gives your team the ability to make more personal connections. Building these relationships will help reinforce the helpfulness of your brand, which translates to more comfortable customers and easier interactions. Both your team and the customer will see the benefits of great voice support.