We are seeing an unprecedented surge in sales and customer service automation, with chat and email bots on the rise, but many customers still expect and are searching for real, human interaction with companies.
I forgot my password. After a long week of work, on a cozy Sunday afternoon, I was itching to watch a popular new show. But I forgot my password. After stubbornly trying a few too many times, I got a message saying my account was locked. So I dashed off an email to customer service explaining the situation, hoping to get a quick answer.
I expected a friendly response from an employee who would put me at ease and tell me there was nothing to worry about. I received a cold “Hi, I am Alice, I am here to help you.” She included a link to an online help center and directed me to find the solution to my problem there. “Really? That’s it?” I thought.
I wrote back to Alice, explaining that the information on the link didn’t resolve my issue. She sent the same link again, ending her message with: “We will always try to solve any issues you may have with your account in the fastest possible way. Please let us know how we handled your request. It will help us improve our service in the future.”
I was irritated. I felt disappointed. I was looking for some empathy and understanding of my issue. Instead, I received strings of texts, pre-arranged sentences, and a mysterious signature: “Alice.” Who was Alice? Deep down I knew Alice was not human. She didn’t connect with me because she couldn’t. She was a bot, and we would never have a meaningful conversation. Communication was broken from the very beginning.
Now that is probably not the kind of relationship you want to have with your prospective or current customers, is it? Customers want to feel they are understood. They develop loyalty based on those who support and communicate with them. Email and chat bots are often designed to connect with and support customers, but often end up doing the opposite.
Think about your products and services as a give-and-take type of interaction. You offer customers not only a solution, but a connection with your brand throughout the whole process. It should be an ongoing, valuable relationship. Email offers a great platform to build meaningful communication of this type with existing and potential customers. But this effort can be actively sabotaged by blast emails and automated responses. Unfeeling email communication may spoil the chance to acquire a customer or generate loyalty, if that customer is put off by your aggressiveness or irrelevant content.
Gated helps establish a connection between senders and customers who are ready to listen, making communication between sellers and buyers more meaningful than ever. Gated users have inboxes that are uncluttered and free of unwanted email, so they are more receptive than the average buyer to receive authentic messages. By making a donation to the user’s charity, you establish an initial bond that immediately makes communication more meaningful and relevant, improving deliverability.
Combining the best of automation and personalization may be the right approach in the end. As freshdesk.com explains, bots can be used as a sales channel, for expediting onboarding, or when agents are overloaded, but don’t expect them to cut it when you are dealing with angry customers or technical issues. After all, humans are equipped with the best emotional intelligence to deal with issues like intent, empathy or double meaning. So keep it personal when you can, and your users will engage much deeper with your brand.