HAVE WE REALLY ENTERED THE AGE OF RELATIONSHIP?

I've been following the CRMe10 event on Twitter and this Tweet popped into the feed:

"Be Human" Wow probably most compelling statement of the entire #CRMe10 event.

During another Twitter conversation (I don't remember which one sadly), there was a whole lot of discussions about the importance of listening to your customers, because apparently listening to your customers is a new idea these days.

Seriously, is this how far business has strayed from what it should be, that "being human" and "listening" are things that need to be taught to companies? Hey, maybe I should Tweet about the importance of breathing every day and become a breathing guru!

Two years ago I asked the simple question, Shouldn't Every Employee be a Brand Ambassador? But I also asked another key question, Do you hire to save money or to find the best people possible to represent your brand?

When companies are paying their frontline employees the minimum they can, are they really going to get people who can be great brand ambassadors?

How many companies do you know are really changing the way they're doing business to create a "social enterprise? How many are really just giving this whole SM thing lip service to look cool?

As companies continue to separate their SM from their customer service functions, aren't they just creating 2 classes of customer service? Thanks to the really great work of @comcastcares, I would never call Comcast 800 support unless really desperate. I guess that's OK when there's not millions of people using Twitter for customer support, but will these SM customer service projects scale? Or will we just starting seeing a decline in service as companies just hire more and more bodies to fill the seats?

I think that it's really great that Frank Eliason is taking a new job at Citi (and not to pick on him at all, the Comcast twitter folks always helped me a great deal!), but do I really think that that corporate position of Citi is suddenly going to change? Unlikely. Do I think that when I go into the typical bank branch they're suddenly going to help me now? Do I think that because they're beefing up their SM efforts that they're suddenly going to stop all of those crappy fees that they use to nickel & dime us to death?

And that's the really key question. Despite the boom of SM and this discussions that companies need to open a dialogue with and listen to their customers, how many companies are making changes to their core business processes to reflect a true believe that we've entered the age of relationships.

Most companies still put as many barriers as possible between doing what's right for their customers and doing what's right for the company. And companies that have always done it well are, not surprisingly, still doing it better today.

But when I hear a comment that "be human" is the most compelling statement coming out of an event about customer service, I can't help but think that too many companies just are not interested in building a relationship if it means making real changes to how they do business.

You can read all of my posts about the future of customer experiences at Polinchock's Ponderings: Customer Experience.

Image source: Torley

Original Post: http://blog.polinchock.com/2010/08/be-human-and-listen-this-is-the-best-advice-we-have.html

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