By Mike Green, Customer Impact President
Think about this. If I were to make a trip across the country for a long weekend, it would be very possible for me to do so without speaking or interacting with a single employee. I can book my flight online – no agent needed. I can check myself in online for the flight, so I can skip the counter staff, assuming I have no bags. I can scan my boarding pass at the gate without speaking to anyone or any employee speaking to me.
When I arrive at the airport, I can zoom over to the rental car pick-up area, where my car awaits, without stopping at the desk and speaking to anyone, since I am a club member. My car is there, with the keys already in it. Some hotels now have apps that allow you to check into your hotel in advance, using your phone as the key card, so you can skip the front desk and hotel staff completely. You can now travel across this great country without interacting with a single human being. Is that great customer service? NO!
I do not want to travel 3,000 miles without another human speaking with me. I want to interact with people. I want to see the face of the company. I want to be addressed by name. I want to be thanked and invited back. I want to be appreciated for the money I spend with your company and the loyalty and dedication I have shown to your company. Companies are doing more and more to eliminate employee interactions through automation. Employees are costly, troublesome, and unpredictable, but they are the key to success in many instances.
What seems odd is an automated call or email I receive after my trip, asking me to rate the customer service I received. What service? Since I did everything without the help of an employee, do I rate the customer service I provided to myself? Answers: Yes, I was very friendly to myself. Yes, I provided myself prompt service. Yes, I was neatly groomed.
I understand that I could avoid using all the apps and skip advance check-ins for the flight and car so I could speak to people, but the companies have cut staffing levels back so far that you are literally punished with long lines and fees for choosing to speak with a live person. Try calling an airline and booking a flight with an agent instead of doing it yourself online. It is now a $25 fee. Companies are making sure customers do most transactions themselves, and that is exactly their goal in the name of improved “customer service.”
Bring back employees and bring back real customer service! Do you agree?
Featured Image by Pixabay