What is high-touch customer service?

What is high-touch customer service?

High-touch customer service is a contact center interaction category that requires human interaction. This can be contrasted with low-touch customer service, which uses automated telephone systems and online self-service portals to answer customer questions and process business transactions. Some contact centers train specific agents to deal with customers with high value and complex problems.

What is high-touch vs. low-touch customer service?

In customer service, the idea of TOUCHING refers to the amount of human interaction and personal contact involved in supporting customers. High-touch customer service involves a lot of human contact with customers. It is more hands-on, personalized, and focused on a specific customer.

Low-touch service involves little, if any, human contact. Unlike high-touch service, the low-touch approach relies more on tools, automation, and pre-built content to support customers, answer questions, and resolve issues.

Consider a triage system for technical support software consumers. Simple requests can be handled through contactless communications, such as an online community, a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section or a customer self-service portal. Complex issues may require the high-touch, white-glove approach of a customer service agent who is well-trained in solving such problems.

An infographic that examines the evolution of customer service
This infographic explores the history of customer service, including the ins and outs of contact center technology.

Examples of high-touch service

A good example of high-touch customer service is a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) company that onboards a new customer with personalized onboarding. In that process, customers learn, through one-on-one interaction, how to use a product or service effectively.

There are many high-touch ways to onboard customers, including the following:

  • Email.
  • Face-to-face meetings or calls with a dedicated customer success manager.
  • Product demos or training (onsite or remote).
  • Special access to product content, such as demos, FAQs, videos, and forums.
  • One-on-one chat or phone-based support.
  • Personal strategy sessions.

Providing high-touch service, some companies also schedule regular check-ins with customers. This is especially true for high value or repeat customers. By regularly checking in with customers, organizations can deepen their customer relationships, which can lead to more repeat sales and higher profits.

Check-ins are also a great way to find gaps that may exist between customer expectations and company performance. By discovering these gaps, companies can implement appropriate measures to improve workflows and processes and align their goals with customer goals. Check-ins can also reveal opportunities for upsells and cross-sells.

Examples of low-touch service

Self-service counters or kiosks, automated teller machines, vending machines, and AI-enabled chatbots are common examples of low-touch service. Many companies that take this approach also provide video tutorials and access to knowledge bases that allow customers to find answers to common questions without involving a customer service agent. person – a method that many customers prefer. Some examples of low-touch service include the following:

  • Reservations or appointments through a website or app.
  • Automated product or service emails.
  • Automatic notifications (for example, for product upgrades).
  • Interactive voice response (IVR) systems.

High-touch versus low-touch

The main distinguishing feature of a high-touch engagement model is its emphasis on personal interactions and customer-centric service. Businesses that adopt this model are willing to engage with customers one-on-one to provide them with the high-quality service they expect.

These companies also view customers as valued entities with unique characteristics and needs. They focus on building strong customer relationships and make an extra effort to provide tailored solutions that align with the needs of particular customers. They offer one-on-one support, usually in the customer’s preferred channel (whether it’s phone, email, video, or something else).

A low-touch customer engagement model is one in which the company rarely interacts directly with customers. This does not mean that it does not support customers. It does, but less with people and more with automated support processes, digital engagement tools, and self-service resources like FAQs and video tutorials.

This table highlights the key differences between high-touch and low-touch engagement models.

High-touch engagement Low-touch engagement
Type of customer engagement Mainly person-to-person Low level of human interaction; increased engagement through self-service tools and resources
Personalization Very high low
Scalability Difficult to measure Easy to measure
PRIORITIES Customer delight and enhanced experiences Resolution speed
cost High cost More cost effective

Benefits, challenges of high-touch customer service

Because high-touch customer service involves offering personal, customized support, it often makes customers feel more valued. When customers feel more valued, they tend to be more loyal and willing to continue buying products or services. This increases the revenue for the business.

As such, the high-touch model is expensive and difficult to implement. Before implementing the model, organizations must first understand their customers and identify their needs. Appropriate resources should be put in place, including contact center agents, customer service managers, and onboarding systems. All of these add to the cost.

High-touch customer service is best implemented for high-value customers or in industries where offering personal support has a high potential return on investment. In some situations, chatbots, self-support kiosks, and other low-touch service methods are sufficient to interact with and support customers without the need to make significant investments in customer service methods. high-touch support.

Best practices in delivering high-touch customer service

Companies willing to provide high-touch customer service can do so with best practices:

  • Invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that provides a comprehensive view of customers and allows for customer segmentation.
  • Identify high-value customers and hire customer service managers to engage with them.
  • Create a customer onboarding process to increase customers’ comfort with the company’s products or services.
  • Constantly touch base with customers to get feedback and understand their current challenges and needs.
  • Provide customer-centric training to service agents and other customer-facing staff.
  • Send personalized content, resources, and emails to important, high-value, or repeat customers.
  • Identify areas of friction in service processes and implement controls to minimize them.
  • Regular review and action and complaints.

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