Yes, customers value speed, efficiency and consistency however digital innovation in some businesses may seem like they are making your customer service stronger but it also comes with its risks.
Seriously……… can we look beyond the task, transaction that is; serving a customer, AND get more spiritual about this topic?
Ok, rant over.
Customer Service is a Social Experience. It is an opportunity to connect, engage, light people up, bring meaning, be understood, listen, be seen, be heard, express, create……and so much more.
How will your business view service in ten years from now?
Will you see it as productivity or intimacy?
Will you see it as transactional or transformative?
Will you see it as a commodity or communion?
Let’s look at self – service for example:

  • We no longer have to speak to people when going to the checkout in a supermarket.
  • We no longer have to go into a shop and be helped by an assistant when buying clothes.
  • We no longer have to walk into a bank and speak with someone to get a home loan.
  • We no longer have rapport with the family-owned takeaway store, as we now see a different Uber Eats delivery driver every Friday night.
  • We no longer have well-groomed, happy faces greeting us at the check-in counter when checking in for a flight.

Over the last decade, the way we as customers interact with self-service technologies has been studied and we are now starting to understand consumer behaviours and the impact this style of service is having on the overall happiness level of the customer.
The research paper,The effect of self-checkout quality on customer satisfaction and repatronage in a retail context’, explains that there are five attributes that a customer uses to evaluate self-service technology:

  1. Speed of service delivery.
  2. Perceived control.
  3. Reliability.
  4. Ease of use.
  5. Enjoyment.

In general, happy adopters of self-service transactions are generally young and well-educated, with limited need for personal contact. They are people who consider technology as a source of fun and a novelty. But what if you don’t fall into this bracket? Think of the vast number of customers for which this is alienating. (Myself included. I don’t go to a supermarket to do more work after a long day.)
According to the same research paper, ‘many consumers still view customer service as a social experience. They value interpersonal interactions and still prefer to deal with people.’

Recent studies have shown that our customers’ need for human interaction is one of the main reasons they don’t like to adopt self-service transactions.

Leverage the social aspect of your service…..the human touch points are where the opportunities lie.
Jaquie Scammell
‘Love Being in Service’

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