Those calling an 800-service line frequently and repeatedly hear, “Your call is very important, please hold for the next available representative”. Often calls are disconnected, not answered, or redirected with the caller’s questions unanswered and frustrations mounting.
Balancing of advancements in technology with client needs and expectations should be examined. Mastering this requires a clear and consistent mission for evaluating and implementing technology. This balance is like a teeter totter between advancement in technology on one side and client needs and expectations on the other side. For many, the client side is sitting on top with their feet dangling, yelling “We are up here, let us down!” By rebalancing the approach, clients are not left hanging. Often, service providers hide behind technological changes and innovations in lieu of delivering client focused service. There is an old phrase; “I could get my job done, if it weren’t for these customers”. New technology may allow the work to be done but at the price of client frustration.
Supporting a healthy relationship with clients begins and ends with meeting their needs. Following a department or organizations mission or core competencies provides a consistent guide for how to interact both with the client in person and via technology. In the absence of such guidance, the basis on which decisions are made may be subject to outside influences such as, “it is the newest technology” or “it is what our competition is doing”. These influences derail the focus, detracting from what is best for the client.
Within our team, we are guided by three principles for assisting our clients: being Reliable, Responsive and Respectful. Continuous team training and technology monitoring are essential tools for delivering a reliable service. Setting standards and benchmarks and the measuring performance enable consistently responsive service. However, respect is demonstrated by involving the client in the development process. Collecting client input and integrating that into the final product provides for a smoother adoption and implementation of changes. The clients feel more confident that the new technology will meet their immediate and future requests or concerns.
Technology advancements will continue to impact our professional lives. How effectively they will be implemented and accepted by clients is dependent upon our ability to follow the principles of customer engagement.