Do I call the 1-800 number or go to the web? If I call, how do I avoid the menu system and get straight to a representative? If I choose the web, do I opt for self-service or engage someone on chat? And, if I send an email, how quickly will they respond?
Which of these options will provide the fastest solution to my problem?
The end goal
Today, we have multiple options for communicating with businesses that serve and sell us products. For many, having so many choices can be a source of confusion. For others, the difficulty of using them is frustrating.
The immediate challenge that businesses, and we as contact service providers, face is to make it quick and easy for consumers to get what they need. To seamlessly interact through their channels of choice. And to find the best path given the situation at hand.
A matter of changing context
For example, say 50 people are over for a Super Bowl party and the cable TV goes dark 15 minutes before kickoff. I really don’t want to use an automated app that only gives me the option of scheduling a technician for the following week. I now have urgency and the need to speak to a human right now. Fixing my problem has become paramount.
On the other hand, if I’m planning some time away and need bed-and-breakfast accommodations, I can book a reservation on the web some weeks in advance. But when I arrive there at 11 o’clock at night and I’m locked out with no one to let me in, using the web, again, isn’t going to cut it. I have a sense of urgency that forces me to use another communication channel.
The reality is, technology has evolved to facilitate these different situations and choices.
Blending technology with human expertise
When I do need a human, it would be good if all my attempts to resolve the problem were tracked before I’m actually connected.
Take the cable TV example again. If I’ve already gone on the web to research my problem and pinged my cable box with no success, then I want my cable company to know my status up to that moment. I want them to have a contextual awareness of my journey, to know the channels I’ve used and what I’ve attempted to do.
Rising service expectations
Consumers have grown to expect certain standards of service. And they will measure the service your business offers against the best they’ve received from others.
When I do business with a company, I expect it to know who I am, personally acknowledge me and demonstrate it values me.
All other things being equal, companies that leverage technology and human talent to personalize the customer experience will leapfrog those that don’t in terms of loyalty and growth.
Making service simple
A key goal at Humach is to reduce the tradeoff between feature-rich technology and ease of use. Feature-rich technology doesn’t have to be complex—and shouldn’t be from the consumer point of view.
Simplicity is one of the pillars of our technology strategy, with a focus on developing user interfaces that are quick and easy to use.
As in business, so with consumers. Service shouldn’t be thwarted by the rigidness of technology or lack of human ingenuity and care. Rather, service should adapt itself to the needs of the customer.