From Juanita Richardson:
At the Customer Service Experience conference in late August in New York, I attended a session called “A Contrarian’s View: The Future Will Just Be More Annoying” with Ian Jacobs from Ovum, Esteban Kolsky from ThinkJar, Art Schoeller from Forrester Research and Dan Miller from Opus Research. They sounded the note of caution: service that is too intrusive, too omnipresent and ham-fisted could be a nightmare from the customer’s point of view. As one panelist pointed out: the customer is saying, “I don’t care who gives me the answer, just give me a (darn) answer!” The channel is irrelevant. “At a time when we should be simplifying … instead we’re making getting the answers more difficult for our clients to obtain by complicating the situation with all the options.” The panel pointed out that, in the dot.com era, companies abandoned customer service because they thought they would be able to deploy a self-service solution at a very low cost.
Unfortunately, we are still suffering from that divestiture. At a time when re-investing in customer service would seem to make sense, instead companies are obsessing about incremental improvements in effectiveness in their CRM solutions bent on that pervasive dream of the “perfect” customer service system that removes the people from the equation. “There has been zero innovation in customer service in the past 10 years. Effectively, companies are saying they don’t want to invest in the customer … they don’t really want to take care of the customer.” That’s not to say companies aren’t trying. They are. They just sometimes get the little details wrong: like the airline that called the customer at 3:00 AM when the client was sound asleep to have that automated voice tell him his 11:00 AM flight had been cancelled and to call 1-800-XXX-XXXX to re-book. Who needs to be woken up to be told this? And who has a pen and paper at 3:00 AM to jot down the phone number?! The future will just be more annoying until companies realize that people play a key role in the interaction with the client!