I have spent over 15 years in customer service. During that time, I worked in the customer service department of many different brand name companies; I feel blessed to have had those experiences because it taught me the importance of a valuing a customer’s experience with the companies that I represented…above all other things.
I’ve done it all in customer service. I once spent a year talking to people about their cold fries. Often, the cold fries were the problem, and sometimes there was an underlying problem.
Sometimes customers would call in about their cold fries and then it turned out that what they were upset about was the callousness of the employee.
When looking at this specific example, it might be easy to place the blame on the employee. After all, they should not have given more care to the temperature of the fries to begin with. However, in my experience, life is never quite that simple.
What if the employee was just having a bad day? What if it was very busy time of the day? Or worse than that, not busy at all and the manager was trying to minimize shrinkage? What if the employee was just day dreaming and lost track of what they were doing? As the customer service representative handling the call, I had no way of knowing any facts other than those that were presented to me by the customer. So many what ifs and none of them mattered; the someone in the organization that I represented provided a negative experience to the client. Thus, as a diligent CSR, I worked tirelessly to resolve the situation at hand.
In most cases, a sincere “I am sorry, I am sure it was an honest mistake” would be enough to mend the relationship. But what happens if the customer feels that a simple I am sorry is not enough. How does a customer service representative determine what is a proportional response from the company to try and mend the relationship with the client?
Companies spend a lot of time and money trying to come up with and implement the right procedures and responses so that employees know what are the right actions to take during which circumstances. The problem with this is that the cost of ensuring a uniform customer experience can be too high. To address this, companies have begun to develop more and more complex chat bots to ensure that customer service is handled with the highest level of professionalism.
As good as chat bots might be getting, chat bots are still an “after-the-fact” measure. Chat bots can, for the most part, say they are sorry and offer the customer the appropriate and measured response to the severity of the problem.
As Decision Support Systems begin to move away from data based decisions to knowledge based decisions, it is easy to see how this shift in technology will mean that chat bots will now be able to accompany the customer in real time as the customer begins to on-board, make purchases, etc…
A friend of mine loves to say “it’s not about the money!”
I think that he is right. Somethings are not about the money. As a company, we can try to overspend in our attempts to mend relationships with clients. In my personal life, I am of a similar mindset as my friend; somethings are not about the money.
The future will be challenging and interesting to experience. As companies, one of the primary questions that we must answer early on is what matters to us? Do we want a relationship with someone who only cares about the cost of our products? Or, do we want to build relationships with the kind of customers that will be there with us in the trenches navigating the future, building bridges, enhancing engagements and designing experiences with us?
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