Why technology is indirectly stressing our customer service experience
The other day, while waiting for my prescription to be filled, I was subjected to one side of a heated phone conversation. A clearly frustrated lady was yelling at some poor person over the phone because her credit card had been denied; after several minutes, it transpired there was in fact nothing wrong with the card. As consumers, our expectations these days are high and our patience is low, and the same situation is also evident in the workplace. How many times in the last week have you heard someone complain about their job or their coworkers? Happy workers seem to be the exception rather than the norm.
That got my brain ticking. Why is this, and what does it all mean?
I believe that technology is the root cause. Let me elaborate.
The prevalence of technology in our lives means that we are always ”on,” and this drives the expectation of instant results with minimum effort. Heck, you can even order a pizza with an emoji these days—pepperoni is only one click away. The speed of life in the developing world is beyond warp.
At the same time, we have become increasingly preoccupied with ourselves. Much has been written about the “me” culture and the incredible sense of entitlement that prevails. Social media has fueled this, providing an outlet for our narcissism and validation that the world does indeed feel we are worthy. This has to have an impact on our levels of tolerance and patience.
So there you have it—empowered consumers who expect instant, high-quality products and services; if they don’t receive them, they will let everyone know, and then take their business elsewhere.
Now let’s look at the business side. Thanks to technology, the pace and level of competition are now at record levels in many markets, and to stay afloat, businesses often have to become lean and mean. This inevitably means employees have fewer resources, greater workloads, and pressure to deliver.
What’s the impact? You have to believe this affects levels of customer service. And do you see where this is going? Disgruntled employees meet demanding customers—it’s a powder keg.
So what can we do? I believe there are small things we can do. As a consumer, a little empathy can go a long way. If you encounter a frazzled employee, instead of sharing your mind, share a few kind words, maybe wish them a pleasant day. If nothing else, it might just blow the person’s mind. As an employer, remember that your employees are human too. Small, genuine acts to show your appreciation can do a lot to build trust and loyalty. For example, a monthly pizza lunch can do wonders for team morale. And don’t forget, that pizza is only an emoji away.
What do you think? Share your comments.