12 Sep Customer Service is A Sensory Experience – Are your customers feeling it?
It’s come to that point. It’s official. My phone is now an appendage. It’s with me everywhere. I have the kind of smartphone where just about anything I need to execute for business or personal needs can be done through that device. Oh the joy of it all — a time saving efficient experience!
Our digital world has set the stage for a whole new way of living, including how we communicate with just about everyone, everywhere! If we’re not inclined to walk downstairs to talk to someone in the house, we can just text…yes, I’ve done that.
And yet, you have to wonder, with all the efficiency digital tools offer, is it costing us something? Now there’s an illogical phrase, “efficiency costing us.”
One area I’ve observed in which it just might be doing so and therefore needs close monitoring is that of relationships and for the purpose of this post, relationships with customers. If we operate from the philosophy that business is about customer “relations” then how we’re relating and the results of those hows should be overseen with utmost care.
In particular, extra vigilance should be given to “digital relating.” Company’s are continually adopting digital tools that impact the entire life cycle of the customer experience. In my view, we’re still in the wild, wild west of that experience and the way and speed at which technology continues to evolve, I don’t see it getting tamed anytime soon.
Therefore, every company must continually ask this key question and carefully scrutinize the answers, “How is my customer’s digital experience going?” The scope of answers could range from what’s happening on Twitter to the ease of use with an e-commerce platform. Anytime customers interact with our brand, they are “relating”.
Part B of that question should be, “Is there anything we’re doing that is helping or hindering that experience?” For example, to contact some online businesses you have to go on a hunting expedition. For others you clearly see a big, bold neon display saying, “Call us! We really do want to talk to you!”. Some Customer Experience Management tools like Online Scheduling or Click to Call solutions, help businesses create meaningful conversations with their customers.
Which is best? It all depends, but one thing I do know — customers like choices. They also like feeling as if they matter and that someone genuinely cares. A digital experience must strongly, undeniably communicate that!
And therein lies the all important clue — feelings! When I’m on the phone with someone is who friendly, funny, authentic, caring and competent, I get a sensory experience — a feeling that makes a memorable impression. There is meaningful relating going on! Ever heard of that expression, “You may not remember what they said, but you definitely remember the way they made you feel?”
Here is where the digital experience may fall short — sensory connection. Here‘s also where using interactive digital tools and prompts can substantially overcome that. Online, there are ways of experiencing a tone of voice or facial expressions for example, inviting a customer to explore more, connect or interact with a live person suggesting that yes there are real human beings behind this website! Sensory stimuli can be activated in certain ways.
One bit of caution though in how we view these tools. Our customer’s interaction with them doesn’t automatically translate into a meaningful customer experience. It still comes down to how both humans use the tools and the experience once the human to human connection is made.
That’s why it’s crucial for businesses not to drink the whole gallon of digital kool-aid. In some cases old school is the best school. I know of one company, that periodically calls me just to see how I’m doing. One call actually saved me over $100.00 in my account review. Another company, sent me via email a photo of their team with a sign that read, “Welcome.” Now that’s meaningful relating! As we continue to sort out the landscape of the digital customer experience, some businesses will need to unwind themselves from the thinking that digital tools will make the experience. In the end, business is all about relating, connecting — creating a sensory, memorable experience.
The formula for each unique enterprise of how, why and in what ways will be the key to competently navigating this exciting digital age for financial success.
Guest Blogger’s Bio – JoAnn R. Corley | www.thehumansphere.com
JoAnn Corley is passionate about the human experience in business and expresses that through her role as Founder, CEO of The Human Sphere™, a holistic talent management consultancy. She is also a dynamic, inspiring speaker, author, technology enthusiast and creator of the professional development app – The 1% Edge Portable Coach, available on all smartphone platforms. Named to the top 100 Most Social HR Experts on Twitter, Huffington Post, you can also find her on radio shows and other media throughout the U.S. and internationally.