Old School Customer Service will Always Prevail!
This is an excerpt and adaptation from an article authored by Joseph A. Michelli, but many things rang true to me and the insight is valuable and worth sharing.
As the technology industry continues its exponential growth, millennials continue to grow their careers and reach increasingly influential positions companies have innovated to gain competitive advantages to keep up with ever increasing customer expectations.
This innovation has brought about many streamlined vertical organizations. This is what customers wanted, but the vertical and virtual organizations bring a sense of impersonal service and coldness to many 21st century transactions. This does not mean that certain GenXer’s like myself can’t cope; We realize speed and efficiency matters, but what customers really and truly crave is the feeling of a company that takes the times to really get to know them, engage them and nurture them. It does not matter how high tech your service becomes, you are still serving human beings. Humans don’t really want to feel like a URL, twitter handle or a number, we want to feel like we are important and that our business matters. As people we will naturally gravitate to companies that give us that feeling because at the end of the day all our decisions to buy are emotional ones.
Consider these 4 points:
1. Customer’s crave a connection to simpler times:
Life gets busy and complicated and sometimes overly frenetic, thanks in large part to technology. People don’t want to be rid of technology as it lets us get goods and services quickly and efficiently, but when we need or want to speak with a real live person or when we are dealing with a real human being we want to speak with someone who has our interests at heart.
There is sometimes a sense of angst that exists in this age of incredible technology and our desire for a connected heartwarming sense of customer services that we subconsciously crave. There is still and always will be a special bond of when you can look a customer in the eye and share a smile in our increasingly digitally cluttered world. People very much enjoy a slight pause to take time to enjoy the moment and interact with our customers.
2. Customers find comfort in the familiar:
Just about every customer everywhere enjoys a sense of predictability; which sometimes it explains why getting them to switch their business over to us is they have never done business with us before is so darn difficult. Even if the supplier is less than stellar, they like the predictability more than the unknown. That being said when people’s time and personal sense of being valued is emphasized it goes a super long way to ensuring you retain them as a client. Take the time to let your clients know how you value their business, or how long you have been dealing with them and that you value their business well into the future. Make notes about important dates and conversations, and make sure you follow up. These go along way to recognizing their patronage and building loyalty.
3. Old School Service fits the burgeoning artisanal movement:
More and more customers are buying more personalized products and services that are unique to the recipient than ever before. We want to make our customers more visible, and we want them to be more unique. We need to leverage our craftsmanship and individual ideas to help them find those unique ideas for their business. Couple that with some old school caring and customer service and you are well on your way to creating a sustainable competitive advantage. It can be as simple as an email and a picture “Hey Larry I found this great item xx, and I thought it would look fantastic with your logo on it….It would be perfect for your customers in this market” In short, bring the value to them!
4. Your service style helps you stand out from the pack:
You can copy products, systems, websites, but you can’t copy people. People buy from people and they are the lifeblood of your business. The one thing the completion can’t copy in your business is the people. They make or break the business depending on how they represent your values and company philosphy.
At the end of the day, I don’t believe there will ever be a day where people will say “I don’t care how you treat me, or if my business is important to you, or if I am appreciated….I just want to buy your stuff” There is a timeless truth to humanity that we anchor ourselves that we want to be appreciated, respected and that we all work hard every day.
We need to ensure that our fast paced economic realities are aligned with the contemporary needs to deal with people on a humane level. Successful companies make sure their customer’s know they matter, they are appreciated, and they maintain a personal level of service that sets them apart.