Customer Service In An Electronic World

As bricks and mortar increasingly give way to virtual organizations, more and more interactions with customers are taking place via the telephone and the Web. Some organizations apparently believe that while good customer service principles might apply to face-to-face interactions, they don’t apply to phone and internet interactions. Wrong. They do apply. Everyone has gotten lost in the phone directory maze of “press 1 for this, press 2 for that,” and when (or if) we finally get to a live person, that person comes across as indifferent or rushed (probably because they’re held accountable for call volume only). Most of us have also given up on trying to navigate some Websites, let alone trying to get a response via a Web inquiry.

I came across a good blog posting titled, “A Primer on Providing Professional Customer Service,” that addresses the basics of customer service in an electronic world. (Be patient when you go to the link; it takes a moment to download). The posting provides some practical ideas for making your electronic customer contact channels more user-friendly.

For me, the article highlighted a valuable customer service lesson. Leaders should regularly contact their own companies via the same electronic channels their customers use.

  • Call your 1 800 number and see how user-friendly it is – it probably isn’t.
  •  Log on to your company’s Website and see how easy it is to get the information you need – and be sure to ask a question via the interactive feature.

See what happens. If you don’t like what occurs, imagine how your customers feel. They get mighty frustrated and while they might tolerate the frustration for awhile, they sure don’t get a warm, fuzzy sense of care. Making your phone and Web systems easy for customers to use (even a delight to use!) is an important part of any customer service strategy that shouldn’t be neglected.

Do it now – call your company or make contact via the company Website. How’d it go?

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