Can 'too much' tech create negative customer experiences?
Technology is second nature in today's business environments. It's unusual in today's world to find a business that operates solely on old-fashioned cash registers and does not take credit cards. While there are a few out there, those establishments are far from the norm.
Technology provides many advantages to customer service and can improve the customer experience, but there are times it can also create a negative customer experience. It's helpful to recognize the potential pitfalls in order to minimize these drawbacks, focus on solutions to mitigate problems and create the optimal customer experience.
While today's automated computer voices are quite friendly and much more pleasing to listen to than the choppy robotic voices of several years ago, talking to computers is still a pretty impersonal experience. Yes, technology does save manpower and reduce the need for representatives to answer phones and get caught up in too many customer interactions with simple questions that can be answered by a computer, but it can often be frustrating on the customer end.
The ideal solution is to use technology, but only to enhance and expedite the customer experience. Using it to solely replace human interaction is not only impersonal, it has the tendency to create a very negative customer experience. Especially when customers get caught up in the endless loop of not getting to where they need to be. (For me, that is a major turnoff).
There's nothing wrong with having some automation, but it's important to provide balance and offer a way for customers to talk or interact with a real employee, not a robotic voice, or worse, getting bounced from menu to menu on automated phone systems.
Unfortunately, all too often people assume that computers cannot be wrong. While to some point, this is true because there is always a human behind any development or data entry; what's not true is computers are infallible. Programming glitches or wrong information keyed in can and does occur, probably more frequently than typically imagined. Since everything is primarily stored in databases, there is a possibility information is entered or programmed wrong which can impact negatively on a customer experience.
It can be frustrating for customers to have to argue with customer service reps, or perhaps even managers, and show how registers either rang up a wrong price or made another kind of customer data error that impacts the customer experience. It's time-consuming and annoying for customers to have to fight to get these types of difficulties resolved.
Systems can and do go offline. When this happens in the middle of a customer experience or transaction it can be testing for the customer's patience. Whether the customer has a question about an item, wants to make a purchase or return, or needs to find out the status of an order, when this information isn't readily available, it can reflect negatively on the customer experience.
Technology is a great way to increase efficiency and accuracy, however, there are those times it backfires and causes a negative customer experience. Being aware of the potential problems is important because it allows those who use automation to understand how to counterbalance the drawbacks and provide the best customer service possible. While in most cases technology is pretty reliable, there are those times when it is not and it is these times customers are more apt to remember than the good experiences. It's smart to have backup procedures in place in the event tech does go wrong. After all, nothing replaces good old-fashioned customer service.