Hats off to Coles! They gave it a fair crack over the Easter long weekend with their launch of the “I’m free” campaign. Sure, they probably took a hit to the bottom line from extra labour costs, however their marketing message was very clear; we value exceptional customer service, over low price points. It was an impressive breath of fresh air to experience in – store, when you saw all Coles checkouts opened, people getting served in manageable queues, all interacting with employees and not an automated self – check out.

Equally, the masters of customer service globally; Zappo’s have yet again pushed the boundaries for organisations who think they are delivering exceptional service.

Zappo’s invests in their call centre not as a cost, but the opportunity to market.

Their whole strategy is to create loyalty through “wow” moments and emotional connections.

They measure the employee’s ability to create emotional connections with far greater weight than the time it takes to resolve an issue. They have rejected the status quo of short average call times as ‘best practice’ and reward staff who achieve more meaningful connections regardless of how long it takes.

This radicalisation of customer service is amplifying human connections in service delivery that excites me beyond belief.

Some of us have removed the human connection from our business all together. I get it.

We are becoming less tolerant of human error.

Automated alternatives are very attractive. You get greater efficiencies, faster service, cost savings in human labour and more convenience.

In the same breath we see a rise in the desire for more human connection. Businesses are challenging the trusted performance indicators, such as value for money and convenience and putting service into the heart of their operating systems.

Are we now at a point in time where we are aspiring to deliver more emotional connections regardless of the cost?

Perhaps those organisations that dare to be bold, take a risk and undermine the old world performance indicators of customer service, will be the ones that lead us in a world of automation.

If you would like a copy of my recent white paper – The Power of the Frontline, drop me an email and we will get a copy sent to you.

Jaquie Scammell

“Why serve when you can Inspire”