Picture this. You're watching your favorite show with your family when all of a sudden the cable cuts out. You try solving the issue on your own but after a half hour of messing with the cable box, you know you're left with the one option you've been dreading: calling customer service.

Over-the-phone customer service can make or break a service business and right now it seems as if calling customer service is resulting in more angry individuals than resolved problems. Whether it's difficulty understanding the agent on the other end of the phone or talking to an agent who is clearly having a bad day, the reasons for why we dislike over-the-phone service are endless.

Unsurprisingly, there's a technology solution to resolve all your call-center nightmares. And it requires a bit of a human touch.

While some experts encourage call centers to throw away the script, there's an uncertainty that comes with letting your service agent say whatever he or she wants to say. Something as simple as cancelling your TV and internet service could turn into a terrible nightmare (like this recent Comcast incident) and could result in a lot of negative reviews for your business. Scripted answers are based off of questions that we anticipate customers will ask; for example, someone calling an Internet company likely has questions about their service and probably won't be talking about the upcoming election.

Even Facebook relies on scripted messaging, except they use scripts for their chatbots instead of actual human service representatives. Facebook recently announced the launch of their new chatbot, a tool that soon will replace 1-800 numbers and customer service center for business. Enterprises looking to cut costs and streamline customer service see plenty of advantages to having a chatbot integrated with their services. Well-designed chatbots are like virtual surrogates of a brand or personality and can help solve real UI/UX problems.

But for all their pro's, chatbots aren't perfect. You can personalize a chatbot to a certain extent but there's no limit to the number of conversations a person can have. What if a caller is having a terrible day and begins talking about the parking ticket they got or breaking up with their girlfriend the night before? Chatbots are reliable up to a point, but if you want compassion from a service representative you won't get that with an algorithm.

The ideal solution is a hybrid of scripted algorithms and a real life customer service representative. Perfect Pitch Technology, founded in 2008 by call center veterans, combines actual service agents with soundboard technology to create the best experience possible for calling customers. It's about crafting a delightful experience which, in turn, contributes to better business. Businesses are quick to write off the importance of phone calls, but the phone is in fact a major part of the overall customer experiences. "Contact centers have been targeted as the next phase of the chatbot roll-out revolution," says Jacob Munns, CEO of Perfect Pitch. "In addressing this question, customer care representatives shouldn't think about how to stop the chatbot, but rather how to harness it's power for good."

Perfect Pitch Technology allows companies to focus on a key touchpoint of the customer journey by creating a set of scripted audio nodes to provide a human agent with the tools he or she needs to thoroughly answer a customer's question. Additionally, these scripted messages are highly customizable to suit the needs and expectations of customers. Perfect Pitch Technology uses "voice talents", or professional voice recorders, to create consistent, clear messages that could cater to audiences based on demographic information and geographical location.

The biggest advantage of having real agents on the other end of the phone call is they can change the conversation based on the tone of the caller. Algorithms and chatbots are useful to an extent, but even robots have difficulty responding to and distinguishing between tones like sarcasm or annoyance. Companies like Perfect Pitch Technology help customer service agents create a more positive, compassionate experience for callers. "We recently had a large Fortune 50 company call interested in learning more about Perfect Pitch. They said they are looking for anything "new and shiny" in the customer service space to help provide better customer experiences," says Cameron Van Alphen, VP of Sales. Having a real person on the other end of the line can help personalize conversations to a level that is "new and shiny", while ensuring the agents stick to approved, scripted messages. Perfect Pitch uses predictive data to determine what answers need to be pre-recorded for specific types of conversations and provide agents with the ability to respond in full paragraph disclosures.

Those who are quick to write off customer service are missing opportunities to connect with their customers on a more personal level. It's the difference between calling a Disney cruise line to book your trip and having Mickey Mouse instead of a regular customer service representative answer your call. It's small touches of customization like this that can elevate the overall customer experience. With the right balance of technology and human agents, customer service calls can become an enjoyable, delightful experience that contributes to creating long-term loyal customers for your business.

Published on: May 17, 2016