Hit 1 for English!

posted: Friday, March 2, 2012

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We've talked about this before but I believe it is worth addressing again -- automated systems. We live in a world of technology and where machines can do a lot of the jobs that people used to do. I am not here to tell you that all of this automation is bad, but some of it needs to be refined. An automated system should never replace customer service.

The first thing that I want to address is the automated systems that are now in place when you call almost any business. There are certainly times where the automated system is good and all a customer needs. But getting to a live person has to be easier than some companies make it. When I call my bank, most of the time I use the automated system and leave completely satisfied. However, when I needed a live person the other day, I left completely frustrated.

When I called, I followed the instructions and hit all of the numbers I was supposed to hit. But when I hit the 0 for a representative, I was then bombarded with another series of questions about why I needed to speak with someone. Eventually, I was able to get my problem solved, but the time it took for the representative to answer my question was two minutes, compared to the 20 minutes it took me to get to them. That's not ok; that's never ok! If someone needs to talk to someone, it needs to be a simple process to get to a live person. It shouldn't take 20 minutes and enduring five levels of screening to get to a live person. What does this have to do with sales?

Simply, technology should never replace the face-to-face customer service. We all have ipads, Blackberries, computers and other communication devices. However, when a customer has taken the time to come to you, then they deserve your undivided attention and you had better give it to them. Technology can be used to make your job easier and enhance the experience for your customers, but technology will never be a replacement for high quality human to human customer service.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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