Asked to identify their customers’ chief pain points when interacting with their companies, the surveyed executives most often cite the inability to speak or chat with a human agent in real time and the company’s failure to fulfil expectations for customer service or care.
Over one-third of survey respondents (37%) also say their company has not yet figured out how to use technology to nurture a stronger emotional attachment to their brand. Considerably more consumer goods producers and financial services providers struggle to build such attachment than do firms in other sectors.
When interactions go wrong
Figure 8: Chief pain points experienced by customers in their interactions with brands.
While the human touch is vital to conveying empathy with customers, advanced technologies can make important contributions to such outcomes. Many respondents believe that better empathy skills training of contact center and other customer-service agents is an effective way of strengthening emotional attachments, but respondents say that technology-focused initiatives are also likely to be effective. These include better visualization of analytics insights about customer preferences, and technology or processes that minimize or eliminate the need for customers to repeat details they’ve already provided.
How to boost empathy
Figure 9: Effective steps companies can take to convey empathy with customers.
Finally, companies need to learn how to strike the right balance between automated and human elements in customer interactions. As we showed in our Human connections report, while technologies such as AI are now capable of handling entire interactions with customers, consumers still want the option of speaking to a person.3
Companies must also understand that not all customer interactions require the most advanced technology. “Companies have to be careful about where they’re using newer technologies,” says Mohammed. “They can end up deploying a Lamborghini for a problem that doesn’t necessarily need a Lamborghini.”