business, Competitive advantage, corporate hypocrisy, customer experience, customer service, feedback, online surveys, Technology
Here’s an example of corporate hypocrisy I’m sure you’ve run across. You cancel a service and you receive an email that asks for your feedback in the form of a “brief online survey”. At the bottom of the generic “no-reply” email is a link to a survey along with the signature of some corporate executive with a real name, say Fred Doe, Executive Vice President, Customer Service. Here’s the hypocrisy. If all is wanted is a stencil multiple choice feedback, then why not a generic corporate signature in line with the generic computer generated message? On the other hand, if a real person is involved, then why is the person’s email missing and the “no-reply” option turned on?
The answer is that this type of approach aims to reconcile the human with the technological. Technology is used to interface with the consumer, but there is an embedded emotional trigger. Large companies are particularly susceptible to this type of approach since they have many more consumers than employees, and so it is believed that a personalized connection to the consumer is impossible. But in this case consumers can be treated as adults rather than presented with cheap emotional tricks. I propose that in the future large companies that will find ways to address this issue, that will be able to combine economies of scale with personalized service, will have a significant competitive advantage. This is the holy grail for customer service in a world where business is becoming bigger just as the consumer is becoming increasingly aware of his individuality.