Oh, Behave…

Can you change my feelings and sway me? Seth Godin says: “The only purpose of ‘customer service’…is to change feelings.” I believe him, well almost. I think it should be a part of customer service. We each have a right to be treated as humans, connect with individuals, and enjoy our customer experience. Yet, so often, our experience has little to no human contact, no personal connection, and feels robotic. Where did I find this quote from Godin? I came across this blog post from back in October while thinking about the idea of “service.” The full quote says:

“The only purpose of ‘customer service’…is to change feelings. Not the facts, but the way your customer feels. The facts might be the price, or a return, or how long someone had to wait for service. Sometimes changing the facts is a shortcut to changing feelings, but not always, and changing the facts alone is not always sufficient anyway.”

Imagine if every individual that worked in some type of service environment made it their mission to impact, change the mind of, or shift the thought of at least one customer a day. In the grand scheme of things that would not be that hard, and maybe that is already happening in every company in the world. But, what if those interactions were shared, and we saw the ripple effect? What if we did know of the impact we had each day, or that we changed how an individual felt? Would we do more to ensure that our behavior happened more often? If we had positive reinforcement of our behavior would that start a domino effect?

There are businesses out there that are changing the nature of customer service. Their impact could mean we eventually have a better customer experience, but I shudder as I think about the impact of technology on service. On the one side you might have a more efficient, yet robotic process, allowing the customer to track down their own answer. In many cases, this works. When a customer does not find their own answer, then it is often a dead-end. When the situation needs a personal touch, a ruffled edge smoothed, or when the issue needs live problem solving that only a human can answer, where is that service? Many companies would say it is too costly to provide that kind of service, yet what does that say about the true value of their customer?

What would it truly take to bring back the human interaction and accountability of service? Is customer service heading in the direction of Wall-E?

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