Outsourcing Customer Service and Bake sales?
What does outsourcing customer service, AI and customer experience have to do with a bake sale?
As my wife and I walked by a bagel shop Sunday morning, there was a table set up with all kinds of baked goods and a couple of teenagers in front of it. As we passed by one kid said good morning to which we replied good morning and kept walking. As the other kid saw that we weren’t stopping, he quickly said good morning and followed up by asking if we would like to help them fly to New York for a competition. What kind of competition, my wife asked, which got the kid to smile big and explain what they are flying to New York for. It was an interaction that lasted only a few minutes, but it was effective. It got the results the kids needed, which was money, but it also got the word out about what they are doing and its importance.
As we continued on my wife and I discussed that we really don’t see many bake sales anymore. I mean, we hardly see one and yet they used to be so popular just a few years back. It’s a sign of the times. People today are on social media and everything is done online, at least that’s what it seems like. Maybe most kids even do their fundraising online, getting their family and their friends to put the word out on social media. Is it effective? Yes, it’s very effective, but they would not have gotten my support or countless others that Sunday morning if they didn’t set up that table and speak to us.
So what does a bake sale have to do with customer service outsourcing, AI and customer experience?
I saw a lot of similarities between the outsourcing of the customer service experience, AI and the bake sale. Here are just a few thoughts that crossed my mind:
Customer service outsourcing varies greatly from one company and even one agent to another
Both the kids we engaged with were nice and seemed like great people, but one in particular was more engaging and got us interested in their story. This got me thinking about the call center agents in an outsourced call center. They might all be polite and follow protocol, but are they engaging? Do they believe in the brand enough to transmit the story in a convincing way? Are they part of the cause or doing just enough to stay on the account?
Not everyone engages the same way
We all know social media is a powerful tool. The amount of engagement that happens is astounding but it also takes a big effort to stand out from the crowd and even more so to do it in a way that gets people to engage. The reality is if I saw those kids story on social media, I wouldn’t have donated to their cause. It wasn’t personal. It was nice having a conversation with a person. Learning about what they were interested in and being able to help. Could they have raised money strictly on social media? Possibly, but they would have missed out on a lot of people that walked by them that day.
AI versus personal touch for the best customer experience
We’ve all read about how AI will replace customer service representatives. I personally believe that AI has a role to play in enhancing customer service but will not replace a live customer service agent. When it comes to customer experience, we need to engage the customer in the manner they would like to be engaged. Sometimes automation is the way and sometimes human interaction is best. The key to a great customer experience is to allow people the comfort of engaging their way. The first kid that said hello to us at the bake sale was great, but not engaging. The second got the results they were looking for but in a way that we felt good about the experience. We need to remember that when automating processes, these automations should be done to enhance an experience, not for budget cutting or other such reasons.
We should always remember that the customer is the heart of the business. If we focus on the customer and deliver what they want in the way they want it, we are bound to succeed in implementing a great customer experience.
This article was written by Perry Silber, COO of GuateCall. GuateCall is a Near-shore contact center provider of multi-channel bilingual services located In Guatemala, Central America. If you would like to learn more about GuateCall, please reach out to me at 713-474-2222 Ext 116 or by e-mail Perry@Guatecall.com