Poor customer service has become the norm as brands adopt technology to increase efficiency and productivity. Choosing to replace people with software in favour of cheaper operating costs, dehumanizes once human interactions.
When FedEx started building relationships with the people who would become their customer base, they answered the phone on the first ring, every time. Now you’ll hear a machine before you hear a real person. Listening for more than two minutes—up from 2 seconds—before being connected to a human operator.
Apple, the most valuable company in the world, once sought to make traditionally inhuman interactions more human by encouraging their geniuses to take as much time as they need to help customers. Now you’re likely to spend several minutes to an hour troubleshooting with a machine before being helped by a genius.
The chase for technological efficiency has placed brands in favour of serving themselves instead of their customers. Treating customers as if they don’t have a choice without realizing they do.
It’s an approach that looks at short-term gains instead of long-term growth.
Growth that brands like Marriott refuse to miss out on. Bringing in $23 billion in yearly revenue with their human-centric approach. Choosing to see their customers and employees as people instead of inefficiencies to be ironed out.
Another company that took this approach spent two million dollars removing their voicemail system so calls could be answered by real people. Their plan paid for itself within 4 months. That’s an investment, not an expense. And for many, it’s an investment worth paying for.