The Running Commentary

Technology should never dominate your customer contact point

I had a very interesting discussion last night around the topic of social media and technology.  The overwhelming sense from those involved in the debate was that many companies are falling into the trap of de-personalising their contact.

There appears to be a growing concern that companies are hiding behind automated answering systems, email and the like instead of dealing with their clients.  My view was somewhat disparate, although I did struggle when it came to some of the examples that were sighted.  Quite correctly the examples were all personal ones and therefore there is little one can do to counter the argument.

While I concede that there are a number of firms that are getting it wrong, I would equally argue that there are many that are getting it right. When I look at this in more detail, my view relates to those businesses that appear to have a good mix of convenience (the way I view electronic communication) and the personal touch.

Therein lies the truth of this observation. The companies that are “getting it right” have not forgotten about having good, friendly and accessible call centre staff, the kind of people who are willing to take on your challenge and solve it.

The companies getting it wrong are sending pre-recorded messages to their prospective clients, sms complaint resolution without contact points. They are the companies that do not have competent staff dealing with queries and by competent we are not talking about a nice sounding voice.

As an aside I have listed two of the brands that got pounded last night:

DSTV was a prime candidate, with their voice system that doesn’t seem to work well and there dire need to have people who can provide more than an “unplug and re-boot” answer to a fault. The concern expressed here related to the fact that people actually do care what the problem is!

FNB also got some negative press with call centre operator’s intent on completing their script as opposed to actually engaging with the prospective client.

I had to agree with the DSTV comment, given that I have had several interactions with the call centre and they have always ended with, unplug the decoder, take out the smart card and then re-boot, with no explanation for the error.  PS. Anybody else getting the box office message when you sms to say “We are having technical errors, please try again later” I have received this three times now, with not even a hint of a telephone call.

brandscustomer serviceDirect MarketingDSTVfnbMarketingMarketing Strategysocial mediaSouth Africa

Mike • July 4, 2012

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