Tech Replacing Customer Service

posted: Friday, September 11, 2015

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As you all know by now, I travel all over the country and see a lot of different things. From airports to restaurants to hotels and more, I get a chance to see how different businesses handle customer service.

At its heart, customer service is defined as a person helping a customer with whatever they may want or need. The problem today is that too many people are relying on technology to replace customer service, and eventually that's going to cost you customers. There is room for technology, of course, but it cannot replace the personal touch.

Everyone has called a 1-800 number for whatever reason and in most cases, it takes you multiple steps and several minutes to get to an actual person. There are many times when we can get done what we need to without talking to a person but in the cases where we need to talk to someone directly, it can be extremely frustrating. There are many fast food restaurants that don't even have people manning the counters anymore, all of the orders are put in via computer. That includes paying for your food without ever talking to a single person. Some may prefer that and it's not all bad, but what happens when there's a problem?

I'm not here to knock technology, I use it as much as anyone but I am here to serve as a reminder. Technology only works and improves the customer experience if it is backed up by exceptional customer service.

If your company uses a 1-800 number, that's great but it should be a one step process to get to a customer service representative. If your company uses computers to take orders, for example, that's fine, but there needs to be a person ready to step in if needed.

As with closing techniques, non-business conversations and the ability to overcome objections, technology is another tool for salespeople. If used correctly, then it will only enhance what you are doing. However it cannot replace the personal interaction with the customer.

Remember this: most customers are not going to return or refer others because they were impressed with the technology. They are going to return and refer others based on the personal interaction with the salesperson. Make sure your service is more memorable than any form of technology your company may use.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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