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Authentic or robotic - you decide

Jun 12, 2014 | Posted by: Karl

We are all customers and we are all becoming increasingly choosy customers. When I started working in the customer experience field we looked to the United States as the gold standard for service. Iced water was automatically served in restaurants, shop staff wished you a nice day and people who answered the phone told you their names! Funny to think that not so long ago we thought this was the essence of great service and wished the same could happen in Great Britain. Well on the whole it now does happen but do we have better experiences as a result?

As sophisticated customers we don’t want to be pounced upon as we walk into a shop to browse or told by a robotic voice that our call is important when we have been waiting for a simple answer on a premium rate phone number. Without sounding like Victor Mildrew surely what we want as customers is exactly what your customers want. Authentic service means delivering the basics consistently well and adding ‘magic touches’ to make me come back for more but I also want an honest and common sense response when things go wrong.

I find it fascinating how organisations find it so difficult to use the ‘s’ word when things go wrong. Maybe this is fear of our increasingly litigious society but ‘I am so sorry we are going to be late’ is so much better than ‘we would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience caused'. Authentic service demands front line staff that have the confidence to speak to customers as fellow human beings. I once heard that a famous global airline recruited their crew for their personality the spent 6 weeks training that personality out of them!

We all respond so much better to a human touch, a genuine voice, a cheeky comment. How many organisations are brave enough to recruit people for their personalities then ask them to bring that personality with them to work with them? These are the organisations that have turned their backs on the robots.

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