The last two decades has seen tremendous growth in CRM systems, and processes that push customers to more self-serve options. Sometimes these initiatives are driven by companies genuinelytrying to improve or speed up customers’ experience. Sometimes they are driven by a company simply trying to reduce their own expenses by downloading the work back to the customer.
A recent study by Bain & Company suggests that there might be a hidden cost to removing customer service from the customer experience equation. It suggests that we actually like talking with people who are skilled and genuinely care enough to make sure we are satisfied. This is particularly true during critical moments when things aren’t going smoothly.
Huh. Go figure.
It will be a long time, I think, before the pendulum starts to swing back away from the overzealous movement to remove human contact from customer experience. But it will happen. At some point in time, organizations are going to start to actually pay less attention to the bean-counters and IT folks who just want to drive costs out of business, and more attention to the mountain of research that points to the importance of good, old-fashion customer service.
I have yet to ever hear anyone say, “Wow! I just LOVE dealing with that automated phone system.”