Is Customer “Service” Dead?

With the majority of businesses knee-deep in automation, the Internet, and technology, it is no wonder why customer service comes into question. Take the supermarkets for instance, it appears that nearly half of the lines are self-check out. The others are split between cashier and “express”. Sure, self checkout may be more convenient and somewhat faster. But how many times have you almost punched the machine because you scanned an item and placed it in the bag, only to be asked to remove your item and scan it again? Or your coupon didn’t work? Or you scan an item twice by accident? And the list goes on and on…. The point is that the technology is ideally more convenient, efficient, and cost-saving, but there is still need for human interaction and assistance.

Automation, Kiosks, Online, Outsourcing are all great ways of streamlining processes and better serving the customer. The transition seems to blurred the focus on the customer. The push to constantly become “faster”, “better”, “stronger” has removed us far from the personal touch customer service once had.

There is still hope! Business has transformed, therefore the approach to customer service management (CSM) must follow.  Enter the era of customer experience management (CEM). The customer experience engages a unique combination of the five senses and technology creating a lasting memory for the customer, leading them to return again and again. Invite customers to see, touch, taste, smell, and hear your business. An experience is more memorable and sensory than “service” (it’s a deeper connection).  According to Forbes contributor, Stephen Diorio (2016), successful customer experience strategies are inclusive of physiological, physical, or environmental tools.

Chick Fil-A, Disney, Starbucks, and Marriott are regularly praised for their attention to detail and creation of exceptional customer experience.

Here is the difference between good customer service and lasting customer experiences:

CUSTOMER SERVICE  

 

VS

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
“Hello, I’m Susan. How can I help you today?” “Hello, I’m Susan. May I call you Mrs. Jones or is there another name you prefer to be called?” “Ok. Mrs. Jones, I see you were having trouble with X on our website, is that why you are calling us today?”
Customer stands and waits for meal to be ready. “Order 154”. Order placed on counter for customer pick up. As customer awaits order, he/she is offered a seat and complementary beverage or small appetizer as they wait. “Joan, your order is ready. See you next time. Have a great week.”

 

The above examples are simple things that can make a big difference. Are you creating a customer experience or simply providing customer service? Start with a thorough review of where in the process your business can not only add value, but increase the customer experience. Then, create a corporate culture of exceptional client/customer experience and tolerate nothing less. You won’t end up out of business but, you will end up with talent who want to be there (for more than just a check) and those who are there to serve your customers.

In answer to the leading question, “Is Customer Service “dead”…The short answer is no. Customer service is not dead. Customer service is the caterpillar that has transformed into the customer experience butterfly!

Thinking about your business or industry, what can you do to keep that personal touch and ramp up your customer experience?

 

Looking to create an experience that will make your customers tell all of their friends and keep them coming back? Contact Diamond Strategic Management Design here.

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