A while back I was asked what would be the next big thing to impact on business over the next seven years.
Rather than focusing on some exciting new element of technology, I found myself drawn back to communication and my answer was as follows.
Just this morning I found myself enraged at the service provided by two companies I’d dealt with over the internet. One that had taken eight days to respond to a simple query posted on their website (one of only two ways I could ask them my question) and another that had taken over five weeks to perform a task they said they’d do online.
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You see, the thing about this evolution of communication, and the various ways that we now have to do so, is that our customers know the time frames in which it should take to respond to an email, to answer a question posted on a website, or respond to a tweet or Facebook comment. It’s exactly the same.
With great advances in our communication media there’s an even greater responsibility for the person behind the tools to maintain the service level. Using technology does not give you an excuse to hide behind it.
For my way of thinking, the challenge to businesses eagerly embracing this evolution will be to evolve the way they provide their service to clients through these different outlets that are becoming so much more mainstream.
I’m relieved to see more and more businesses taking heed of this message already.
Take Shoes of Prey as an example. Each pair of shoes they sell online goes out with an individualised handwritten note.
Imagine Cruises will happily tweet with you about your upcoming whale watching tour, injecting the same personality through twitter that they do onboard their cruises.
Zappos, another shoe retailer in the US (OK, so I may have a small shoe obsession) known for their service despite having no face-to-face contact with clients, have 24-hour customer service call lines to put a friendly voice behind the oft daunting process of buying something to wear online without being able to try it on. To top this off, they have free returns and shipping to further add a caring factor to the service they provide.
Showing heart in all communication, expressing care even without face-to-face contact and building lasting, strong relationships over new forms of communication will be the challenge to businesses that want to embrace new media yet still be spectacular in the experience they offer going forward.
From broke at 19 to retired at 27, Kirsty Dunphey is an entrepreneur, mother, author and lives by the motto Memento Vivere (remember to live).