Customer Service – Marketing or Reality?
Be honest – when was the last time that you experienced good customer service? Perhaps when you called Cox or the Social Security Administration? Be it in Germany or America, customers are more familiar with the music on hold of certain companies than with the names of their representatives. In my personal experience, customer service is simply painful – or can you think of one exceptional company at the top of your head?
Let´s call out the culprit right away – it is the customer. You heard me. They wanted everything at the cheapest price possible. This started the whole downward spiral. The companies eventually responded by reducing costs. Apparently, this was not the perfect answer since this has led us into a dead end.
Now, customers miss an interpersonal relationship when dealing with companies. They would like to talk to someone, an actual person who can understand their specific requests or concerns. Customers undermined the very basis for this relationship. This development will become even more pronounced because digitalization will significantly restructure large parts of every company, especially in retail, and so human beings as „resources“ will become increasingly obsolete. Interpersonal contact will become a precious commodity – a privilege that will be selectively assigned by machines.
We still have the chance to counteract this development by providing honest, substantial customer service. Companies need to meet their customers at eye-level, as equals. We need to take them seriously and treat them respectfully. Do not reduce your customers to useful data resources for marketing campaigns. You need to take this seriously. This is not about ignoring the merits digitalization, let alone to try to stop it. Contrariwise, the point is not to underestimate the role of human beings in the process. Be brave!
Julius Geis is a renowned expert in identity-based brand positioning for retailers and manufacturers. As CEO of ON ANY GIVEN MONDAY he consults globally successful brands in the sports, fashion and outdoor industry.