In Pursuit of a More Human Customer Service

Allen Malapit
June 3, 2015

“The support that we’re getting from Handshake is such a rare thing. I know that whatever happens, I’ll always get an answer. We always get someone to take action on any problem.We work with other services and end up getting automated answers that can take 24 hours or more to come through. Here, you can contact someone and they’re aware of who you are. They don’t treat customers like bots. The customer relationship is personal.”

- Aga Rehfeld, Bakker Made with Love

"The customer service and support I’ve received from Handshake is second to none. I’ve not worked with any other business in Australia, particularly an overseas business that has accommodated our schedule and our needs like Handshake. Even though my business operates on the other side of the world...I know that someone is willing to stay late or willing to come in early to catch me on the phone.”

-Mary Licandro, Childsmart

Human Customer Service: Why It's Important

In an age of Interactive Voice Response systems, self-checkout at grocery stores, and more and more customers reporting that they prefer self-service over speaking with a representative, the importance of great customer service can fade into the background. More specifically, the human element of customer service and support can get lost. According to a survey conducted by Zendesk, 67% of respondents said they preferred self-service over speaking with a company representative. 91% of of respondents said that they would readily use an online knowledge base if it met their needs, and 75% said that in general, they believe self-service is a convenient way to address customer service issues. As a wholesale brand, you’ve probably invested in an automated telephone attendant. You may be in the midst of developing a B2B eCommerce platform to offer detailed product information and self-service ordering in response to customer demand for a simple, convenient way to place orders 24/7. These kinds of initiatives are crucial to staying competitive. But while a B2B eCommerce platform can increase both sales and customer satisfaction at a wholesale brand, just as a knowledge base is incredibly useful for a SaaS company, problems can arise when companies don’t offer an alternative to those self-service options when they’re needed. Among the calls for self-service, customers are also responding to a more human customer service experience (as the quotes at the beginning of this post vividly demonstrate). Anyone who has received a canned email in response to a support question or gone round in circles with a robot over the phone can probably relate. At Handshake, we’re all about bringing that human element back into the equation. As the above quotes indicate, customers may prefer self-service in certain instances, but there’s still no substitute for a real person on the other end of the phone helping you through a problem or a sales rep who can provide the insights to help a retailer make purchase decisions. Now that your customer service teams and sales reps are freed from data entry and paper-based processes with the advent of integrated solutions for mobile order writing and B2B eCommerce, redirect your customer service resources toward proactive outreach to customers, and help your sales reps improve their rapport and interactions with customers. Throughout all the changes, don’t forget this very important fact: people buy from people.