HIGH TECH, HIGH TOUCH CUSTOMER SERVICE by Micah Solomon takes the reader on a road map of customer service in the digital age. Just as technology is changing at lightning-fast speed, so too must successful businesses be quick to adopt new ways to interact and satisfy the digital customer. Gone are the days when the mantra was, “If you want to be successful in business today, you must have an internet presence.” While truer today than ever before, unfortunately many companies have no idea how to manage that internet presence.
Learning to treat individual customers as individuals, honoring individual preferences unique to that customer, is the key to business success. While this statement, found in Chapter 1 of the book, has always been accurate, learning to treat the virtual customer as an individual is more challenging. The challenge is compounded by the ‘activist’ mentality whereby customers now demand an alignment of company values with their own and they express this sentiment with their buying choices. These are the types of issues that are addressed here by the author.
Solomon examines both positive and negative examples of how companies have responded to customer issues in the new era. As an example, let’s take a close look at Chapter 4; The Art of Anticipation. To introduce the concept of ‘anticipatory’ service, Solomon utilizes Ritz-Carlton, whose credo includes, “The Ritz-Carlton … fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests”. To expand on the anticipatory experience, Solomon examines a typical trip into an Apple store and how Apple has mastered the art of anticipatory service. For effect, Solomon discloses the experience he had years ago when he ordered his first Macintosh and compares it to the experience he had recently when ordering his last Mac. The contrasts are start and clearly delineate the advances the company has made in anticipatory service. The chapter goes on to include other hit and miss examples of anticipatory service. Most, but not all, of the chapters conclude with a “your point is” section which recaps the crucial points to remember.
Along the journey, there is good information here about creating and maintaining corporate culture, hiring people with the right attitude, social media and how to position yourself correctly, principles of successful self-service, providing for disabled customers, and avoiding what is perhaps the common mistake in the digital age many companies make, using technology to complicate the customer experience into something more harmful than it is useful. Haven’t we all experience having to spend countless time jumping through hoops before we can ever get the opportunity to speak to an actual human, only to find out they speak very limited or broken English and really can’t answer our questions?
That last point is really what this book is all about. While technology has advanced business like nothing else, one aspect of business – customer service – is often made much more difficult by the very technology that assures business success in today’s world. If not used correctly, that technology brings with it many pitfalls that must be avoided. Solomon’s book will help you avoid those pitfalls and utilize the technology to the best of your ability.
I’ve read a couple of books by Micah Solomon and to be honest, I’m not overly impressed with his writing style, but I have to say there is a ton of good information contained here.
- Drew Hendricks: High Tech Ways to Stay in Touch With Customers (internetsuccess4you.wordpress.com)