Posted: 29/04/2015 4:48:11 PM by
This post was originally published by The West Australian newspaper on 20th April 2015 and posted on www.thewest.com.au the same day. See the original article here.
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At the most valuable company in the world, your customer experience is a human one. Their employees are free to show their personality and deliver the business brand in their own way. They can guide customers through issues and offer solutions. They’re empowered to interact with customers person-to-person. Their shops are always busy. Really busy.
Genuine customer service is a treat. It is so much more than a polite and friendly greeting. It is someone caring for you as an individual, putting your needs ahead of their business process, and taking as long as needed to ensure you achieve your outcome.
Then there is the Customer Call Centre. It’s the home of scripted customer interactions, protection of the ‘system’, and making every interaction as clinical and efficient as possible. It’s way more pleasing to the accounting department than it is to the customers.
Scripted conversations may be fine when we are buying a burger, but they are annoying and rude when the product or service requires a commitment from us, and is related to our life-style, or is a matter of privacy. Too often, companies make following their process more important than a genuine person-to-person engagement with their customers.
In the retail shop of a telephone company recently, I was politely informed that I would need to contact their “customer service centre”. After my minor protest, the friendly employee dialed the number, and then handed me the phone.
I pressed 1 for existing account enquiries, then 2 for billing enquires. I entered my account number, and then my call was placed in the queue. It was very important to them and it may have been recorded for quality purposes. All while I was standing right in front of their own employees, and looking at their company logo on the wall.
Bizarrely, none of the employees thought this was strange. It was the company culture: Around here “we just sell, and customer issues are not our responsibility”.
Why don’t more businesses follow the lead of the most valuable company in the world? Is it really more cost effective to design, implement and manage a scripted customer interaction, and channel every customer issue through a disengaging process?
We doubt it is, because as a system for retaining customers, an engaging customer service culture is hard to beat. It’s how they created the most valuable company in the world.