aNewDomain.net — Putting customer service on the back burner is an excellent way to sink your business. Customers today want to be informed and connected with the product and brand they use. They want an updated website, prevalent social presence and knowledgeable staff.
Customer service is the final frontier of creating and keeping clients. Algorithms can’t come close to a knowledgeable, efficient human representative. Big data makes informed recommendations based on your purchases, which usually feel superficial and lack insight. Humans relate to one another while computers merely mirror interaction.
This story, found in Big Data Now, illustrates the issue perfectly. Mark Johnson, CEO of Zite, visited the Strand bookstore in New York and asked for a book recommendation after reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved. The clerk suggested “a brilliant but far-fetched” novel: William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!
The human element took the style, mood and themes of Beloved into consideration, in the end suggesting a similar but lesser-known masterpiece. Amazon’s search for similar titles revealed a list of other Morrison books, which the customer likely knew and had possibly read.
The algorithmic services offered the obvious, while the human exchange yielded a connected relationship between customer and company. Not to mention a sale.
Zappos — purchased by Amazon in 2009 — is widely noted for excellent customer service. Famous tales are told of the company’s support services — things like personal phone support lasting for hours for a single sale. Amazon purchased Zappos, said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, partly because they had such a reputation for customer service. He wanted to learn from the masters.
A strong, lasting relationship with customers requires one thing: excellent service.
Based in New York, Dino Londis is a senior commentator at aNewDomain.net. He’s also an IT Pro alum at National Lampoon and teamBYTE. Email him at Dino@aNewDomain.net.