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While a lot of modern customer service is all about fast response times, installing chatbots, and bending over backward to serve your customer’s needs and expectations, so many businesses overlook an essential fundamental.

Human connection.

In a world increasingly dominated by tech, automation, and AI, more businesses are changing their customer experience but forget that human connection is still absolutely vital and what customers are looking for.

Just take a look at some of the biggest companies in the world and how they speak to their customers, especially when it comes to social media and live chat conversations.

It’s human. It’s real. It’s connected.

People feel as though they’re talking to another human being who cares about them, and they connect with this care, empathy, and compassion.

So, how about your business?

Are you nurturing, maintaining, and developing customer success via human interaction?

At CMS, we’re not only aware of this fact, but we also take pride in being pioneers of human connection and customer satisfaction. Our passion lies in fostering meaningful relationships between businesses and their customers – underpinned by understanding, empathy, and heartfelt care.

So, bringing all this together, this guide will detail everything you need to know about human connection in the customer experience, why it matters, and how to make it a staple of your personalized experience.

Let’s get into it.

The Value of Human Connection in Customer Service

Retail worker having a pleasant conversation with a smiling customer

Firstly, you must understand why human connection is so important. Knowledge is power, after all. 

Sure, human connection sounds nice, but who’s got time for that in today’s world? Surely, this means spending more time with each customer without guaranteeing it will deliver any result?

Well, it’s nothing short of crucial, and the benefits are tenfold. 

Right off the bat, the most up-to-date statistics showcase that 74% of customers are more loyal to companies when they speak to an actual human over an automated system, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Related Reading: How to Deliver Excellent Customer Service

The Impact of a Human Touch

Building Trust with Customers

In a world where companies often treat customers as numbers, imagine the breath of fresh air a customer feels when a business treats them as an actual person.

Recently, I was buying a subscription package through SurferSEO and couldn’t find a tier that fit me right. I contacted the company through their live chat option and, within an hour, was chatting with their sales rep, who was an actual person, asked how my day was going, and just had a friendly conversation.

I was so impressed with the level of care and time they were taking with me as an individual customer, and I now highly recommend them to anyone who’s interested. It was so personalized, and they took the time to hear my needs and create a package that suited me.

All that, even though they must speak to hundreds of customers daily.

It’s this level of actively taking your customer expectations, needs, concerns, and feedback into account, seeking to understand rather than simply resolve issues, that gets results. 

This kind of human-driven, empathetic approach is instrumental to building trust with customers. 

It shows them that their voice matters and that they’re valued for their individual experiences.

Creation of Long-Standing Customer Relationships

People inherently yearn for lasting, meaningful relationships within their social circles and the businesses and companies they work with.

Nobody wants to go to a different grocery store every single time they shop. They want to find one they like that suits their budget, gives them quality products, offers a positive experience, is positioned in a good location, and has staff that cares about them.

When they find it, they’ll stay with them, and many people will go out of their way to get there if the benefits are worth it.

Your company shouldn’t be any different and should be striving for this kind of loyalty.

When customers see that you aren’t just after their money but genuinely care about their experience and satisfaction, you don’t just create a repeat customer—you’re essentially forming a bond, a relationship.

In the long run, these relationships pave the way to customer loyalty, which, as you may know, is worth its weight in gold!

In fact, statistics show that loyal customers spend up to 67% more than their preferred businesses than new customers will – a figure that speaks for itself.

On-The-Spot Problem-Solving and Issue Resolution

Let’s be honest: algorithms and bots can’t fully gauge the emotional context and underlying nuances of a customer’s problem. 

They’re good and have their benefits, but they’re not perfect.

Enter the power of a human agent —it allows for intuitive understanding and immediate problem-solving, tailoring solutions to customers’ specific needs. 

While a bot may stammer through programmed responses, a live agent equipped with empathy can dissolve tension and ensure customers walk away feeling heard and satisfied.

Personalized, Flexible Service—Moving Beyond Rigid Protocols

And finally, steering away from rigid protocols and inflexible guidelines can be a game-changer. 

No two customers are alike, and neither are their issues. 

A one-size-fits-all approach? That’s old news.

The dynamic of a meaningful connection enables flexibility and adaptability in service. It’s all about seeing beyond the guidelines and molding the service to fit the human at the end of the line and not the other way around.

So, here’s the takeaway: human connection isn’t the icing on the cake—it’s the whole darn cake with a cherry on top! 

The question is, are you ready to serve it to your customers?

The Power of Numbers: Key Statistics & Data Points

Alright, let’s dig a little deeper into how people feel about the connection. After all, the numbers don’t lie. Here’s some data from a Savanta survey on empathy and connection in customer service:

  • Rule flexibility and Satisfaction: Nearly half the respondents, about 48% to be exact, agreed that customer service reps should be empowered to bend the rules to ensure customer happiness. This just tells us that satisfaction takes precedence over tradition and rigidity, right?
  • Loyalty Rewarded: Numbers also spotlit the role of customer loyalty, with 54% of respondents considering it utterly acceptable for employees to break rules on their regular customer base. The stats scream loud and clear — loyalty is a two-way street!
  • Breaking Rules for Happiness: The stats also showed that flexibility isn’t a theoretical concept. About 53% of respondents have experienced a sales associate or employee bending the rules to make them happy. The world is evolving, my friends, and so is customer service.
  • The need for Flexibility: Here’s a big one – a whopping 76% of respondents made it clear that customer service rules need to be flexible. So, when it comes to customer service rules, maybe it’s time we start rolling with the punches.

And there you have it —the math behind the magic of connection. If the numbers tell us anything, it’s that flexibility, empathy, and a dash of rule-bending can spice up the customer service experience big time! 

Who’s game for mixing things up a little?

How to Achieve Human Connection in Your Customer Experience

Consultant fist bumping a customer

Creating meaningful human connections in customer service is an art. But the good news? It’s an art that can be learned. 

Below, we dive into some actionable steps your company can take toward mastering this crucial business skill.

Training and Empowering Customer Service Representatives

Customer service reps are the backbone of your business, serving as the bridge that links your organization with its customers. Training and empowering them is pivotal to upholding the essential human element in customer service.

Implementing Empathetic Training Programs

To foster a culture of empathy and connection, integrate these core values into your training programs. Training shouldn’t merely focus on the technical aspects but also on nurturing the emotional intelligence of your CSRs.

  • Empathy: Allocate dedicated sessions for your reps to learn about showing understanding and compassion to customers. Facilitate role-plays and put them into customers’ shoes.
  • Adaptability: Encourage a flexible approach. Since no two customer queries are the same, reps should know how to adapt on the fly rather than sticking to a scripted response.
  • Connection: Teach the importance of rapport-building. By setting a friendly tone right from the get-go, reps can quickly forge connections and leave lasting positive impressions.

Empowering Representatives to Bend Rules

Now, that might sound controversial, but remember those Savanta survey results? Customers favor businesses that bend the rules to ensure their satisfaction. 

Thus, empower your reps with the autonomy to occasionally flex guidelines for the customers’ best interest. Remember, the endgame here is customer happiness.

Equipping Reps with Necessary Tools

Finally, provide your CSRs with the tools they need to offer personalized service. This could be anything from comprehensive databases that record individual customer interactions to artificial intelligence-backed software that can suggest tailored solutions. 

By combining human empathy with advanced tools, you’re surely heading towards an unbeatable customer service experience.

Fostering connection throughout your customer journey isn’t about disregarding technology entirely. Instead, it’s about blending the warmth of a human approach with the precision of modern tools to create something truly remarkable regarding customer success.

After all, at the end of the day, it’s about making your customers feel valued, heard, and unique. And that, dear friends, is what makes for good service.

12 Actionable Tips to Boost Human Connection within Your Business

Happy customer on the phone at her laptop

Ready to take your customer service to the next level? Excellent! Here are twelve actionable tips to help you connect more deeply with your customers.

#1 – Stay Positive

There’s magic in kind words sprinkled with empathy!

And by magic, we mean the power to turn a run-of-the-mill chat into a memorable interaction for your customers. It’s all about the voice you use, the empathy you exude—it’s the lullaby that calms them and the understanding that draws them in.

  • Reflect Positivity in Your Language: Use phrases like “I understand how frustrating that must be” or “Let’s find a solution together.” This not only shows your willingness to help but also empathizes with the customer’s predicament.
  • Say ‘Thank You’ and ‘Please’: Small, polite phrases go a long way—they are simple but potent tools to forge strong, empathetic human connections.
  • Practice Active Listening: Show your customers their voice matters. Provide responses that reflect an understanding of their issues.

#2 – Personalizing Conversations

Everyone loves a ‘remember when…’, especially in a customer service conversation. So why not use what you know about your consumers to personalize your interactions?

  • Utilize CRM: Comprehensive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools can offer a wealth of information about a customer’s past interactions or purchases.
  • Address by Name: Starting a conversation by addressing the customer by their name can make interactions intimate and unique.
  • Recognize and Reference Past Interactions: A quick mention of their past purchases or queries shows you pay attention to and value their history with your business.

#3 – Staying a Step Ahead

The best customer service is the one that already knows what you need, right? By anticipating individual needs, you’re merely elevating your customer service hike.

  • Identify Common Issues: By recognizing patterns or routinely encountered issues, you can offer solutions before the customer even highlights a problem.
  • Provide Proactive Customer Support: Inform consumers about a known issue before they get a chance to complain—and, of course, let them know you’re on it!
  • Use Tools that Predict Customer Behavior: Technological tools can help you discern patterns and predict customer behavior, helping you offer preemptive solutions.

Above all, remember that human connection is all about making customers feel that there’s an understanding friend at the other end, not a scripted rep. 

By being proactive, you’re not just solving problems but also building trust—and trust my friends, is the cornerstone of any lasting relationship!

#4 – Keep in Touch

Ever heard of the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”? Well, that’s precisely why you need to keep that helpful presence in your customer’s eye-line, particularly post-issue resolution.

  • Follow Up Regularly: Check back with your customers after resolving an issue. See if they’re happy with the solution provided and if there’s anything else bothering them.
  • Automate Reminders: Use automations for follow-up reminders. As much as we wish we could remember everything, a little digital nudge never hurts.
  • Ask for Feedback: Let your customers know their opinion matters. Ask if there’s anything you could do to enhance their customer experience.

#5 – Show You Understand

Step into your customer’s shoes and let them know you’re right there with them. Creating a platform where their voices are genuinely heard can do wonders for your brand’s reputation.

  • Mirror Your Customer’s Sentiment: Echo back the customer’s issue to ensure you’ve understood the problem accurately.
  • Communicate Proactively: Update your customers about the steps you’re taking to solve their issues. Keeping them in the loop makes them feel valued.
  • Demonstrate Genuine Empathy: Use phrases like, “I’m really sorry to hear that this has happened…” Making the customer feel understood is the first step towards effective problem-solving.

#6 – Share Stories

Who can resist the allure of a good story? Sharing relatable incidents humanizes your brand and forms a connective thread with your customers.

  • Share Relevant Stories: Whether it’s an incident about how you overcame a similar problem or a success story, make it engaging and relevant.
  • Connect on a Human Level: Stories make for a more personal connection. It tells the customer that you’re more than a brand; you’re a companion.
  • Sprinkle in Some Humor: Of course, where appropriate, a lighter tone or a funny anecdote can ease tension and put customers at ease.

#7 – Express Gratitude

When was the last time you said, “Thank You”? A simple yet genuine show of gratitude can create a great customer experience.

  • Thank Customers for Their Feedback: It shows them that you value their opinion and you’re committed to improving their experience.
  • Acknowledge Their Loyalty: Recognize and appreciate customers who’ve stuck by you. Appreciation directly communicates respect for the customers.
  • Send Out Thank You Notes: Notes or small tokens of appreciation can go a long way in making the customer feel special.

#8 – Sharing the Power

Great customer connections begin with empowerment. By providing customers with self-help options, they’ll feel like they have the power to solve their own problems.

  • Knowledge Base & FAQs: Offer comprehensive, easy-to-understand guides in your FAQ section or Knowledge Base to help customers troubleshoot common issues first.
  • Video Tutorials: Sometimes, videos speak louder than words. Share tutorials that break down tricky processes into digestible steps.
  • Chatbots: Deploy AI-powered chatbot technology programmed to provide quick, basic customer support for simpler queries.

#9 – Promoting Deep, Authentic Relations

Ready to let your friendly flag fly? Cultivate authenticity in your interactions and watch as customers naturally gravitate towards your brand.

  • Tone Matters: Adopt a conversational style in all customer interactions, from email to chat.
  • Be Real: Delight your customers by being open-minded, approachable, and fun while still remaining professional.
  • Let Your Personality Shine: Encourage reps to add a personal touch when addressing customer concerns.

#10 – Team Work Makes the Dream Work

Join forces for the greater customer good! Creating synergy among reps ensures that customer issues are resolved promptly, making them feel cared for.

  • Group Training: Host workshops or training sessions to cultivate team spirit among your human agents.
  • Cross-Team Collaboration: Encourage input from various departments to solve customer issues efficiently.
  • Discuss Success Stories: Sharing testimonials and customer interactions helps reps learn from one another and reinforces collective goals.

#11 – Go Beyond Rewards — Cultivate a Tribe

Customization is key. Make your loyal customers feel part of a super-exclusive “brand tribe” by personalizing their interactions.

  • Tailor-Made Offers: Customized promotions and deals build a deeper relationship between customers and your brand.
  • Exclusive Access: Offer priority access to new products or events to express gratitude to your loyal fans.
  • Personal Touch: Continuously make your customers feel seen and heard by regularly engaging with them through personalized messages or feedback requests.

#12 – Sharpen Your Tools

Hone your business skills by tuning in to customer feedback. Regularly collect insights and identify areas of improvement.

  • Surveys and Polls: Gather actionable feedback through customer surveys or polls.
  • Social Media Listening: Monitor social media chatter to gain valuable insights into customer sentiment.
  • Iteration and Improvement: Take feedback to heart and make changes accordingly. Showing customers that their input matters will only strengthen their connection to your brand.

And there you have it – a comprehensive roadmap to fostering human connections in customer service. By prioritizing customer empowerment, authenticity, teamwork, personalization, and constant improvement, you can deliver unforgettable experiences that make your brand stand out from the rest. 

Cheers to making those genuine, exciting human connections that every customer dreams of!

Related Reading: The Complete Guide to Customer Service Training

Bringing It All Together

From revealing stats to actionable tips, we’ve explored the power of coupling customer service with empathy, adaptability, and a genuine interest. Because, let’s face it, feeling heard and valued never goes out of style.

Think of human connection as the secret sauce that adds extra zing to your customer service recipe. 

Training your support team to prioritize personal, empathetic interactions, giving them room to adapt and, at times, bend the rules, can essentially turn the digital interactions from good to unforgettable awesome!

Remember, every interaction is an opportunity to make a connection. And every connection is an opportunity to earn a customer for life.

Here’s to making every customer interaction count. Here’s to remembering that although we live in an increasingly automated world, it’s the human touch that still makes an echoing difference. So let’s roll up our sleeves, folks, and make sure that our customer service is not just efficient but also warm, personal, and beautifully human.

Elevate Your Customer Service with CMS

In a world where human connection is invaluable, ensuring your customers receive the best possible service is crucial. At CMS, we specialize in providing that personal touch that makes all the difference.

Why Partner with CMS?

  • Expert Agents: Our team is trained to offer empathetic, effective customer service.
  • Custom Solutions: We tailor our services to meet your unique business needs.
  • 24/7 Support: We’re here for your customers around the clock, ensuring no call goes unanswered.

Outsource with Confidence

By choosing CMS, you’re not just outsourcing your customer service; you’re enhancing it with a team that understands the power of human connection.

Ready to take your customer service to the next level? Contact us today.

Join forces with CMS and experience the difference that expert, human-centered customer service can make for your business.

By Last Updated: February 27, 2024Categories: Blog15.5 min read