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Is Technology Killing Customer Service?

Just recently, I was shopping online late at night buying some clothes for my kids and a discount rate promoted on their website wasn’t being applied to my order for some reason. (or so I thought) a live chat timely popped up, so even though I ‘d never used live chat before, I decided to try it. I typed out my concern and waited, waited, and awaited a response. It appeared to take a great deal of back and forth to describe the issue and eventually, the live chat rep told me they weren’t able to answer my particular question and encouraged me to call consumer service. I couldn’t assist however believe–“This was a total waste of time. I’m back to square 1.”

The experience also made me assess a few other technology frustrations– IVR systems with bad voice acknowledgment causing me to repeat information several times, complicated phone trees that typically don’t get me to the right department, receiving canned e-mail actions to customer support questions that don’t address the question asked, being asked to input my account number (sometimes more than when) just to be asked to repeat said info when the representative gets the call, etc. Most will concur that innovation is great, but it’s not always a panacea and can often even make scenarios even worse.

I can’t assist but begin to believe that may hold true when it concerns client service. I make certain innovation brings numerous functional performances and cost savings that companies aspire to understand, but from the customer’s perspective, has it really assisted or injured the general customer care experience?

Particularly intrigued by the area of customer care both personally and as a business trainer, I decided to introduce my own casual– non market moneyed, non scientific, non company specific– study. Very simply my goal was to develop a basic uncomplicated survey targeted to real customers (not paid participants) to discover out What Clients Actually Want!!! (See the Survey for extra information.) The findings in numerous ways verified my hypothesis that in lots of ways the substantial, systemic implementation of technology in the customer support world has actually had an unhealthy influence on the overall client service experience:

  • The study results clearly revealed that the majority of consumers (49%) choose phone to other communication options (e.g. text/chat, e-mail, face to face). Text/IM was available in a far-off 2nd at only 19%. While it seems that many business are quickly moving towards technology alternatives to standard customer care by phone, clients appear to prefer discussing their customer care problems by phone to a live agent.

    This doesn’t mean that alternate communication choices are bad– just the opposite– preferably companies would offer multiple communication alternatives to match a vast array of customer choices and/or customer care situations. Removing or significantly decreasing phone options and replacing those with email/text/social media alternatives exclusively will likely only irritate clients and make the resolution process more tough and protracted in lots of cases.

  • When survey respondents were asked to share their client service frustrations, they complained vociferously about phone trees/phone automation systems. Simply put, THEY HATE THEM! The number of funny skits have been discussed those pull your hair out phone trees with the monotone voice stating “Please press 1 for service … I’m sorry I didn’t understand that, please repeat your address …” In order to get you to the best representative, I have to understand a bit more about your problem. Press 1 for billing …”?

    My sense is that a lot of clients comprehend that some automation (maybe 1 or 2 questions) may be a necessary evil for some business, but anything beyond that begins to feel shocking. Exactly what’s more infuriating is that so frequently after you invest a lot time answering the automatic concerns, the representative just asks you to supply the very same details once they take the call. Why doesn’t the “innovation” provide them that details on their screen once they’re appointed the call?Many business

  • have actually approached social media, e-mail and so on as the preferred option for customers to submit customer care issues, but customer support issues inherently are frequently fairly complex and need a fair bit of backward and forward to be fully comprehended and solved. While these more technically advanced choices might appear like a better alternative, they often do not provide a much better customer care experience and instead can make the communication a lot more challenging and drawn-out, not to point out sterilized and impersonal.

Undoubtedly, technology might increase effectiveness, but it does not necessarily enhance efficiency. While business search for ways to decrease expenses and get process performances, they should not do so at the expenditure of the general customer support experience and ultimate client complete satisfaction. Business need to realize that clients are people, with differing appetite/tolerance for technology.

To draw a parallel from the banking market– while ATMs were introduced years earlier, lots of customers still choose to stroll into their neighborhood bank teller to make deposits (and exchange pleasantries). And while ATMs are great for easy deals where there are no concerns involved, I cannot picture aiming to repair a banking problem via ATM. At the airport I am great utilizing the kiosk to print my boarding pass, however as soon as there is a problem or concern, I want to speak to a live representative!

Even clients like me who prefer e-mail or social media for other types of communication, may not gravitate to those kinds of communication to talk about complicated and often mentally charged client service problems. In numerous methods it seems the customer support neighborhood is significantly moving towards technology while consumers are plainly yelling for personalized interaction. My guess is that the most successful business will be the ones who listen.

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