I’ve always felt that no matter how capable technology is on delivering an amazing customer experience, there is no substitute for the in-person experience. That could be changing, faster than most of us think.
I walked into Total Hockey, a store that sells hockey equipment. The conversation started out like this:
“Hello, Shep. Welcome back. Hope you are enjoying that new stick you bought last month and scoring lots of goals. The last time you were here you were looking at some new skates. Are you still interested? We have them in your size. Either way, you might also be interested in these new skates we just got in.”
This is my regular salesperson. He always remembers what I bought, knows what I’m interested in, and always gives me a great customer service experience.
I just logged into Amazon.com. The message read, “Hello Shep. Welcome back.” The website had a picture of the book I looked at the last time I visited the website. And, it recommended similar books to those that I’ve purchased in the past.
Practically the same experience – kind of. In both cases, it was a completely customized, personalized and unique (to me) experience. The next time I go back into the Total Hockey store, my salesperson will show me the new items that I might like. The same thing will happen when I go back to Amazon.com.
By the way, there are many other websites and online retailers who deliver a similar experience. I use Amazon.com as an example simply because they may be the most recognized online retailer, and probably the best at what they do.
My point is that the customized experience, be it in person or digital, is your opportunity to connect with the customer as an individual. Companies are able to track a customer’s information through prior purchases, buying patterns and even products and services the customer has simply shown interest in. The digital experience is starting to mirror the in-person experience.
Keep in mind that people do business with people. And a website is designed by people for people. In the digital world of the recent past, the only thing that got in the way of a personal customer experience was the website. Not anymore.
Yet still, the in-person experience offers more opportunities to connect and deliver better customer service with the customer. There are personalized thank you notes, phone calls, and conversations about interests other than business. The opportunity to create a better customer service experience may still be in-person, but it’s hard not to notice how fast the digital experience is catching up.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXIII, Shep Hyken)