Customer service delivery has gone through a lot of changes over the years. It began with face-to-face, personal service in every type of business. It expanded over time with telephone help lines and customer service call centers. Enter the personal computer and the Internet, and customer service went online, with websites and online chat. Customer service became so automated and self-service that it was a shock to make a phone call and get a real live human being on the other end of the phone.
Amazon.com has introduced a new type of customer service delivery, described as “game changing” by Inc.com. This new type of customer service goes a step further than live chat. Instead of texting messages online with a service representative, Mayday, as the new service is called, delivers a live person on the screen that will help solve your problem. The image is one way, so you can see the service rep but they can’t see you.
As the Inc.com article states, Amazon.com’s latest service innovation is just another example of customer convenience. Customers don’t want to wait in line, so Avis promises no lines at their service counters. Drive thru windows at fast food restaurants, banks, cleaners and hundreds more make service quick and convenient. No parking the car, running in and out of a store in the heat, cold or rain. You can do your shopping and banking from the convenience of your car. You don’t even have to turn off the engine.
How can you make customer service faster, better or more convenient than ever? That’s what companies need to find out, and customer service reps have to deliver. All things being equal, the only thing that can delight the customer is the level of customer service. Hotels have beds. Restaurants have food and there are lots of hamburger outlets, fine dining and even Asian-fusion restaurants to try. Clothing stores, dry cleaners, drug stores, coffee bars. There are levels of quality in the products, but friendly, fast and professional customer service will bring them back over and over.
To succeed in a customer service position, you have to think like the customer. What are they looking for in a service experience? A friendly face? A real person? Or do they want a digital solution at a kiosk without any personal interaction at all? There are only 24 hours in a day. You can’t offer a customer more time. Customer service should save time to allow a customer to get what they need and be on their way.
Mayday is a new type of customer service and a traditional call for help. Lost at sea with the ship going down in a storm? The captain cries out “Mayday” on the ship’s radio to get help. In a way, Mayday has brought customer service full circle from the real live body helping a customer across a counter to the live person assisting you on a computer screen in real time. Mayday combines the fast access of the Internet with the personal service of a real human being. It may be the answer to a call for help perfect for today’s customers.
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