I recently had to actually drive to my bank to deposit a check. Aside from 2 receptionists there wasn’t a single customer service person to be found (you may be familiar with the archaic term, ‘teller’ – – or the archaic term ‘check’). At any rate, no tellers in this bank.
There was, however, a Las Vegas-style array of video tellers, and my instant reaction was ‘great, this is the bank version of phone customer service hell’.
My actual experience was terrific.
in this case, technology enabled a customer service interaction that was polite, competent, quick and personable. What everyone wants, but without an actual face-to-face encounter. Sounds almost blasphemous.
Of course, this approach started as a way to cut costs, by pooling resources centrally and deploying dynamically based on demand, rather than having to staff a large number of branches.
How can what is essentially cost-saving technology surpass the traditional gold standard of a smiling face in front of you?
- Instant gratification. Because there are a lot of them in one location, a customer service rep was immediately available. No wait = good.
- Great video quality – – clear enough so that facial expressions were easily visible, in either direction. So a good percentage of the personal interaction was preserved.
- It happened to be my birthday (yes, and visiting a bank made it even more special) – – and to my surprise my CSR wished me a Happy Birthday. My account info apparently flagged this on her end, and gave her the opportunity to delight the customer – – which she did, in a very cheerful way. Sometimes it’s the little things that count, and this one gave my CSR the opportunity to make a personal connection – – which she did.
Compare this with the traditional experience of potentially waiting for a clerk, who then might mechanically take care of your business because he or she does this a thousand times a day.
Maybe, just maybe, as technology and data use continue to mature, there may actually be hope that we won’t totally have to discard our humanity just to get a little service.
Now let’s see if we can do something about humanizing customer service experience just about everywhere else.