In some ways, technology has brought us a new era in customer service. The problem is that, like all new eras, it isn’t perfect. For example, the ability to automate much of customer service has cost business in ways that aren’t easily discernible. These ways are often invisible to the business owner or executive, but are quite visible to customers. So what happened to good, old fashioned customer service?
The frustration of automation
Most of us have wasted time trying to call a customer service desk only to be forced to run a gauntlet of automated questions, “If you would like to know the status of your account, press one. If you would like to know the amount of your last invoice, press two.” On and on it goes, and the option of speaking to an actual person may not even be available. Often you get directed to an offshore help desk who couldn’t care less about your problems. And how many of us have been frustrated by a response that doesn’t actually address our problem? Simply because our problem doesn’t fit what customer service, whether automated or human, has been programmed to handle.
While automating customer service or cutting down on the training or the number of service desk personnel may save money in the short run, it can be disastrous in the long run.
People want to be treated as people. They want to know that their thoughts and needs will be addressed, not simply regarded as items to be handled. And here lies the core power of customer service and why customer service should be “old fashioned.”
What was so good about old fashioned customer service?
In the less hectic past, it was common for service people to take the time to genuinely understand the customer’s needs and problems, even when those needs and problems fell outside the day to day routine. This is something that no automated system can achieve. It takes people relating to people.
People relating to people may seem old fashioned in an age of electronic communication, but that’s the point. The irony is that while people happily embrace the next technological development, we are all still human beings and we are at our best when relating to each other.
Customers want an old fashioned relationship with the people they do business with. They want to be considered valuable and respected as individuals. While this may seem hard to accomplish in the daily rush of business, it’s actually easier than it seems.
Customer service personnel can build quality customer relationships by doing simple things, like showing up on time, by not making unrealistic promises, and keeping those promises that are made. They can keep the customer informed of changes when something unexpected comes up. And by letting the customer know of possible changes ahead of time, if possible. They can also listen honestly, so that they address the customer’s concerns and deliver what the customer actually wants, rather than what they think the customer wants. This builds credibility on your part and encourages customer loyalty.
It’s a matter of adding a human touch. The better customer service can relate to customers as people, the easier it will be to understand problems and offer solutions, or at least give a realistic timeframe for solving the problem. The human touch is old fashioned customer service. It is standing in your customer’s shoes and see the world as they see it.
It’s also important to build an understanding of those areas that a specific customer regards as important, so that customer service targets can be set. If you understand the customer’s goals, then you can deliver on those goals.
The Cable Blu difference
This is why Cable Blu personalises customer service by assigning a Customer Engagement Specialist to every customer. Our specialists are customer service professionals trained in building quality business relationships and dedicated solely to ensuring your satisfaction. He or she does not engage in cross selling, up selling or any selling whatsoever. Instead, your Specialist works toward making sure that you achieve print management goals in a cost effective manner.