High-tech, High-Touch Customer Service

Most customer service books focus on either online or offline experiences. Finally there is a book that is relevant to both. I have read hundreds of customer experience books and Micah Solomon’s first book, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit, is by far the best. We bought over 200 copies to send to our clients and prospects and it is required reading at Prime Performance. High-tech, high-touch customer service builds on the fundamentals from his first book and shows how the use of the right technology, people and company culture create long-term customer loyalty.

 

Lessons from high-tech, high-touch customer service:

  • Perfection is rarely enough. The softer science – care and comfort – is what lets you reach and retain a customer.
  • “Today, what’s been experienced once is now expected.” Customer expectations increase once they see something is possible, especially when it comes to technology. An email confirmation has become so standard that if you don’t get one, you think something is wrong. Companies need to keep up with these increasing expectations.
  • Technology is not a substitute for a customer focused culture. The ongoing technological revolution amplifies the problems of not having a strong culture. The wrong tweet from an employee not steeped in the company culture can spread like wildfire. A poor customer experience with a single employee or online can be all over the internet in minutes. It takes years to build a solid reputation, but it can quickly be tarnished without a strong customer service culture. Solomon talks about the fiasco formula: Small Error + Slow Response Time = Colossal PR Disaster
  • Principles of successful service. The book outlines simple rules for customer service which every company should adopt.
  1. Customers need a choice of channels.
  2. Self-service needs to have escape hatches.
  3. Don’t make your customers think about your organizational chart.
  4. Usability is a science that needs to be respected.
  5. Customers need to be able to shift lanes.
  6. Self-service can’t be set and then forgotten. It’s an endless work in progress.
  7. Your staff needs to have used – recently – your self-service channels.
  8. Ugly upsells through self-service are a brand killer.

 

High-tech, high-touch customer service is a must read for any company trying to create the right mix of people, culture and technology to drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.