Even in 2020, there are many businesses that still face challenges in delivering great service to their customers, especially if they operate internationally out of a single location. Imagine waking up to find an inbox flooded with emails from unhappy customers, or an answering machine clogged with messages regarding an issue that could easily be resolved. The world may be increasingly connected, but this connectivity has, in some respects, actually made it more difficult to get a hold of a real person.
Technology is supposed to create convenience, but does it?
From website chat tools to automated phone menus, there are an increasing number of options that people can use for their customer service needs, and while many of these options may be convenient, they are not optimal due to their passive nature. Out of sight really is out of mind, and the unfortunate truth is that business-customer relationships suffer due to the lack of urgency typified by such tools.
The overarching joke since their introduction is that no one uses smartphones as telephones, but a strong argument could be made that text communication removes the vital human element and as such commoditizes relationships. Seeing a picture of someone as a message pops up is nowhere near the same as having a physical conversation with a person; inflection, emotion, and non-verbal cues are the building blocks of human interaction.
A business may not be able to be in the same room as every customer, but they can better create and humanize their relationships by choosing to have their phones answered by a real person. Not only does this practice create the sense of urgency that is missing from delegated or delayed messages, it also makes the customer feel valued.
Get back to customers fast
To quote Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson's Rework, "getting back to people quickly is probably the most important thing you can do when it comes to customer service." It's amazing how much that can defuse a bad situation and turn it into a good one.
Using tools that emphasize convenience is a sign of the times, for consumers and for businesses. Marketing automation systems exist to allow businesses send personalized communications to a wide variety of people with a few clicks. Smartphones are almost unparalleled in their utility, and wearable technology is currently enjoying early praise. However, sometimes what is most convenient for the business is the least convenient for the customer.
This dichotomy may well be at the centre of communication breakdown between businesses and consumers - dedicated service staff can be expensive, but the customer can't be expected to respond well to the same canned your call is important to use message that they've likely been receiving for the majority of their lives.
Humanize Customer Service
It's time to take a step back, stop treating relationships as commodities, and return to humanizing the support process; there are over seven billion people on Earth, and a machine-generated one-size-fits-all approach only does a business a disservice.
After all, machines aren't capable of empathy, and they certainly can't make a customer feel looked after and cared about. Reach out to us if you want to go the extra mile with your customer service efforts.