Okay, so I’m fresh off a bad experience. It seems that there is a proliferation of advertisements, editorials and training programs devoted to the value of relationship marketing and staying close to your customers. If it is so universally agreed that outstanding customer service is directly correlated to customer retention, why have so many organizations adopted automated answering systems? It leaves me to assume that businesses who adopt such strategies:
1. Are too busy to talk to their customers;
2. Don’t want to talk to their customers; or
3. See customer service as an area of “cost containment.”
There’s nothing like talking out of both sides of your mouth! Instead of treating customers with the TLC they so openly promote, they make it as hard as possible for the customer to contact them directly. Who among you enjoys spending your valuable time in the middle of the workday listening to a recorded voice read you a menu of endless choices that leads you to another menu of endless choices?
You know what I like? I like having the telephone answered by a real person – either the party I intended to call or a friendly receptionist who might even recognize my voice and call me by name and then efficiently and tactfully connect me to my intended party. You may call me old fashioned, but there are some things that technology was never meant to replace.
I think customers are “precious gems.” What’s the better way to care for them? Are we going to polish them and allow them to shine? Or will we let them sit in a corner exposed to the elements – and to our competitors?