People — your customers — have questions about your services and they’re not getting any answers.
Because they’re too busy filling out contact forms, trouble tickets, and other “I need help” forms. Wanna know what’s worse?
No one from your company is answering.
Employees are way too busy with “busy work” to pay attention to the one fundamental, basic human need: Engagement.
What’s the deal?
It seems companies have fallen into a very easy trap of “build it, make a form for customer questions or complaints, and answer when we’re ready”. Many tech businesses were moving in that direction pre-pandemic and the process seems to have accelerated rapidly.
Example: Instagram. Lately, my company has taken several requests for help from people whose Instagram accounts have been hacked. We think this is a scam similar to email scams that tell you to “click this link” to track a package, check an account, etc. and have been advising NOT TO CLICK/TAP URLs with follow links. Instagram only allows you to fill out a form if you’ve been hacked — there’s no one to talk with about it for next steps, and no real expectation of when you may get your account back.
Granted the software is free to use unless you’re buying ads, but there should be a team of people standing by to talk about an issue like this. At the very least, they should expect a call or email back from Instagram. So far, it’s been radio silence.
There are likely more companies out there practicing this same approach in various parts of the tech industry. At least, that’s our expectation now that one has basically set the goalposts.
What’s the lesson?
It’s simple, basic, fundamental.
Those who CANNOT TALK to or with people CANNOT RETAIN people.
That doesn’t just apply to customers, by the way — employees, too. For employees, it’s not about leaders listening to and acting upon every grievance; it’s about actively listening to your employees — sincerely listening — so they know they’ve been heard, even if no action is taken.
For customers, granted that not every “issue” is an issue, even though your customers may disagree. However, there are some issues that need the old-fashioned personal touch that only comes from people and not forms.
Think about it. Don’t you get tired of filling out a form online for every question you have for your web hosting company, social media company, “forever hold” with electric or cable/satellite companies?
How do you think YOUR CUSTOMERS feel about it?
Why aren’t companies adopting engagement?
Largely this depends on how each company defines “engagement”. If a customer fills out one of your forms, the employee could simply say, “Engagement confirmed.”
It could also be a matter of economics. Right now in 2023, the economy is getting harder to work with. Belts are tightening. People are looking for “better deals”, “better prices”, based on how they define those terms. By using forms, companies use less people, less hours, and less payroll as they “streamline” their service options to their customers.
How well is it working for your customers so far?
Think about this:
- If your first-level or second-level customer service needs are met by automation, set up a team to actually talk to your customers. Define what makes that issue rise to this level of service, and offer it.
- Blind surveys may still be a form per se, but these are still a great way of measuring customer sentiment and satisfaction. This also depends on the questions asked.
- On your website and EULAs (End-User License Agreements) exactly customers and future customers can expect for their plan.
Bottom line: Giving customers a memorable experience can go both ways, like a doorway. Doors open from both sides. When your customer or prospect opens your door, what do you want him/her to see, react to, expect? What should their next step be?
What’s your next step now?
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.
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