In this fast-passed world of digital communications, “omni-channel” conversations and faceless customer service, I see first hand the destruction of good old fashion customer interactions.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
The world as we know it is changing, and the way we talk to our customers is changing with it.
As the millennial generation matures and moves into more senior roles within organizations, the need for service providers to cater for their desired communication channels has become more prevalent.
This can sometimes come at the expense of other key stakeholders who may be fond of more dated communication mediums.
With my experience, the general interactions between customer and service provider are mostly handled via email. In saying this there must be a point to consider the type of service or product that is being supplied in every use case.
Here at Sentia we deal with b2b so I don’t find myself dealing with general consumers.
Detail orientated correspondence is often benefited from written communications as details can become very complex, very quickly.
Unfortunately, when you find yourself writing war and peace over something technical that the customer has a relevance to, it can be misunderstood, or an emphasis may not be taken in the context it should be. This is a major reason why I pick up the phone.
Aside from verbally iterating an email (followed up or not), you establish a more personable relationship with your customers.
It is much easier to translate the notion that your investing in your customers’ success with your voice than in any other medium.
Mitigation of any misunderstandings is also an opportunistic activity as you will quickly ascertain if the customer is on the same page as you.
If you are in a damage control situation and you need to reduce the impact of a negative scenario, a call in my opinion is the best course of action, a pre-emptive strike so to speak. Your customers perception will be encouraged to see that you are actively seeking a resolution or providing a solution to their needs and wants. This drastically improves customer sentiment!
Remember, always be sure to follow up a detailed phone call with an email to iterate the key points of the conversation and the action you will be taking from that point on. I treat email as a written insurance policy, just in case you need to refer to it later in the future or heaven forbid, you need recourse.
In summary, here are my top 6 reasons why I believe a phone call should not be overlooked…
- You resolve issues quicker.
- Clarity is easier to obtain.
- You build your relationship with your customer stronger.
- Calls are better when you anticipate the customer will have questions to ask on the fly.
- The subject matter is sensitive or personal and is better spoken over the phone than emailed.
- Your tone can be misunderstood via written communications.
This is why I favour the very interpersonal phone call!