Is it just me or do people not value picking up the phone anymore?
Years ago we felt frustrated by our local businesses because their customer service was outsourced to the Philippines or India. We wanted to talk to people who were in the same locations as the business was. We felt undervalued.
Next minute. Talking to someone on the phone… has become a luxury.
As a customer when we have a query or need to fix something we have the following options;
- Call customer service. Where we are asked to press 67 buttons or maybe repeat our issue 5 times out loud; “I want to speak to a person”. All while trying not to draw attention to yourself, sitting on a train, spelling out your query to a computer as calmly and quietly as possible. Eventually, we may be lucky enough to get put through to someone and then… the phone line drops out.
- Create an online ‘chat’. Press the button that says ‘Yes I’d like to chat’ to someone. Wait 5 minutes for them to respond. Type in what you need in 4 different ways until they understand and then wait for them to get an answer, which may or may not resolve your issue.
- Email customer service. Receive an automated response; ‘Your query is important to us. We will get back to you within 24-48 hours’. Yeah really? How important? A day later they respond to you with an answer that doesn’t help and we are back to square one and need to start it all over again.
Zappos, a highly successful online retailer in the US and one of the best cultures I know, wouldn’t have a bar of any of the above experiences. I went to their ‘Culture Camp’ a couple of years ago to find out whether all the hype behind this ‘WOW’ culture was true… It was. So why? Zappos’ number 1 core value is to WOW each other – this includes their people, their suppliers and of course their customers. They put their money where their mouth is and they have an outstanding customer service experience. Every call is answered quickly, by a local person, and they will do whatever it takes to please. This includes ordering pizzas for their customers, sending them flowers when they hear of someone passing away and even dinner vouchers for wedding anniversaries. Whatever it takes to ‘wow’. Wow!
This sounds expensive right? Well they don’t market. They spend it on the customer instead. And they are a highly profitable business.
Talking to people and making the conversation the experience is profitable. Go figure!