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Proving the Power of Human Customer Service Through These 7 Real-Life Stories
Published: September 11, 2023
Today’s business landscape is evolving at the speed of light as consumers and companies become increasingly reliant on digital solutions. Many enterprises seek to integrate new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, into their operations to remain competitive.
Studies have found that 9 out of 10 enterprises have already begun incorporating AI into their systems, and industry analysts predict that many will continue increasing their AI investments in the coming years. And a large portion of businesses (57%) are using AI tools to improve their customer service departments.
Truly, artificial intelligence offers significant potential as a tool for creating great customer experiences. However, businesses must remember that AI should be seen as a tool that supports human customer service agents rather than replaces them.
After all, in today’s post-COVID landscape, consumers seek humanized, personalized, and empathetic customer support. Check out these eye-opening statistics:
86% of consumers believe brands must show empathy to build strong customer relationships.
70% want more profound and more personalized connections with their favorite brands.
73% expect businesses to treat them as individuals, considering their unique needs and expectations.
If these numbers aren’t enough to convince you, this article will delve into a few fascinating real-life cases showcasing the role of human customer support in improving buyers’ experiences.
Top 7 Stories Showcasing the Importance of Outsourcing Customer Service to Human Agents
“Customer Service Saves a Life”
In 2019, a Comcast customer service agent named Kimberly Williams received a call from a man in Michigan. The caller, Dan Magennis, had reached out to discuss an issue regarding lost channels following a power outage.
As the two were speaking, the man’s words suddenly became slurred. He continued talking, but everything sounded like gibberish.
Although the contact center agent could not understand what the customer was saying, she immediately recognized the slurred speech as a sign of a stroke.
Williams kept calling out to the man until she heard the phone drop. She knew she had to act immediately to help the customer, so she quickly dialed 911, alerting the fire department to what happened. EMTs and police soon arrived at Magennis’ home and brought him to the nearest hospital.
The man received immediate medical care because of the agent’s selfless act. To this day, he credits his quick recovery to her.
“Aloha From Tech Support”
An anonymous technical support representative shared the story of an older customer who reached out to her because of a broken netbook. The service rep explained that, traditionally, the customer had to mail in the netbook for repairs if it was malfunctioning.
On the other end of the line, the older woman began crying over the news, explaining that she had recently suffered from two strokes, making it difficult to text or write. At the same time, she relied on her netbook to communicate with her daughter and son-in-law, who were stationed in Hawaii.
The tech support specialist knew she had to help the customer, so she quickly exchanged the netbook for her and sent her a brand-new one.
Once the older woman received the new netbook, the service rep even took the time to help her set up her Skype apps and recover her old passwords so she could immediately connect with her family.
A few months later, the tech support agent gets called to the office without knowing why. When she arrived, she was greeted in person by the older woman she had helped.
The customer had brought her a card and a teddy bear wearing a hula skirt, both gifts from her family in Hawaii. She explained that what the tech support agent did meant so much to her and her daughter, so they couldn’t resist saying thank you in person.
“Apple Said Yes”
During the launch of the iPad 2, Apple’s customer service team received a hilarious letter from a man who had bought their newest product.
The man had returned his iPad and attached a note that said, “Wife said no.”
Meanwhile, the team handling returns found the note amusing and shared the story with Apple’s VP.
The higher-ups allowed customer service to refund the man’s cash, but they surprised the customer even further by sending back the iPad. On it, they attached a note that said, “Apple said yes.”
“A Holiday Miracle”
In 2013, a young Halo fan had to undergo a liver transplant surgery around the holidays. The boy was feeling distraught about being in the hospital and unable to play the newest release of his favorite video game franchise.
To cheer him up, his father reached out to Bungie, the creators of Halo, as a Christmas surprise.
Touched by the father’s letter, Bungie’s customer service department reacted quickly. The entire team signed and sent the boy a card with get-well wishes.
Then, they surprised the young boy even further by building him a custom helmet based on one of the main characters and sent him unique shirts, toys, and personalized art from the game designers.
The father later posted a “thank you” thread on social media, including images of his son at the hospital, spending Christmas alongside his many gifts from the Bungie customer service team.
“Lego Lost and Found”
In this silly and sweet story, a 7-year-old boy named Luka Apps spent all his Christmas money on a new Lego Ninjago toy. However, the child’s happiness quickly turned to disappointment when he brought along his favorite toy on a shopping trip and lost it.
Distraught, Luka wrote a letter to the Lego customer care team. He explained how upset he was to lose his Ninjago and reassured the team that he would take better care of his action figure if he ever got a new one.
Soon after, Lukas was surprised to receive a letter from a Lego customer service representative.
The service rep not only offered to replace his lost toy but also sent him extra goodies for being honest. He made Luka promise to take good care of his new Lego friends.
“Flight of Compassion”
An anonymous airline customer service agent once received a call from someone rushing to visit their hospitalized family member.
The service rep recognized the customer’s anxiety over the phone and could tell they were dealing with a family emergency.
So, they went above and beyond the call of duty to ease the customer’s load, offering to schedule everything from their flight to backup flight to even a service car so that they could reach their destination on time.
In addition to handling all of this, the agent made sure to follow up with the customer, confirming their flight details two times: through email and a personal phone call.
As a final gesture, the airline’s support teams worked with the gate agent and flight captain, telling them about the customer’s predicament so they could offer their help and best wishes.
“Tiger or Giraffe?”
In this story, Lily, a 3-year-old girl, visits her favorite grocery store, Sainsbury’s. The store sold a type of loaf called “tiger bread,” but Lily thought its pattern resembled a different animal.
To express her concerns, she wrote a letter to the store, explaining that the bread was wrongly named and should be called “giraffe bread” instead.
Sainsbury’s customer support services team found her letter funny and agreed that Lily’s idea was brilliant since the bread’s pattern looked more similar to giraffe spots than tiger stripes.
The store immediately renamed the bread and even sent Lily a special gift card as a “thank you” for her letter.
How Customer Service Outsourcing Helps You Deliver Better Experiences
Call center agents can handle 24/7 phone support.
As mentioned in previous sections, businesses can use artificial intelligence tools to support, streamline, and improve many business processes, including customer service. However, AI still has its limitations. As of this writing, the technology is not yet advanced enough to handle voice calls in the same way human agents can.
According to a 2023 research study, consumers view chatbots as the most valuable use of AI in customer support, but a whopping 70% still prefer interacting with human agents on the phone.
A different study echoes this finding, noting that 80% of customers still list phone calls as their preferred customer service channel.
Companies can use AI to provide quick, generic responses to emails and social media messages. However, outsourcing customer support to human agents will be essential for answering client concerns and feedback over the phone.
Human customer service teams can take on more complex and novel problems.
Here’s another limitation of using AI for customer service: the technology is valuable for responding promptly to commonly encountered customer issues. However, it cannot solve novel problems, only replying to queries uploaded to its database. This is where call centers can come in handy.
A human support team can handle the complex, potentially emotional customer concerns that the AI cannot address. Call center agents can learn from past problems and use their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to figure out how to deal with new ones.
AI can mimic human-like functions with updated data and continuous training. However, working with an outsourced customer support team is still your best bet for cases that require an authentic human touch.
A human support team is crucial for personalized and empathetic customer interactions.
A 2023 Redpoint Global study found that the “human touch” still matters to customers, even with the emergence of artificial intelligence.
In the survey, 77% of consumers stated that a positive customer experience involves genuine and empathetic human interaction. Meanwhile, 58% say they want companies to disclose that they use AI in customer service.
Finding a balance between using AI for automation and having human agents should be a top priority for companies focusing on customer satisfaction. The same study found that 76% of customers are less likely to trust and continue interacting with a brand if they sense disjointed communication with AI across different platforms.
Remember: providing exceptional customer service is about more than just having a quick response time. Today’s consumers want to feel that your CS team understands their concerns, cares about finding solutions to their issues, and connects with them genuinely.
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Now that you understand the importance of human customer service, it’s time to take the next step: finding your ideal call center.
Let SuperStaff be your dedicated outsourcing partner as you navigate this increasingly digitalized world. We provide a wide range of customer service solutions, including 24/7 omnichannel and multilingual support.
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As a Psychology graduate, Hannah is passionate about people-first content that appeals to the audience’s thoughts and emotions. She keeps up with the latest workplace trends, developments in AI, the Metaverse, and other technological disruptions that may shape the future of the BPO industry.