Business Never Really Changes....The Tools Do

I frequently think about how fast technology is moving and how the world seems to be changing at an increasing rate. I also think about the not so distant past in the small town where I grew up, a place where the local shops and markets all took pride in the service they offered, and where it was common for customer’s to be greeted on a first name basis.

Then I fast forward to the present day where service seems less personal to say the least. I have to wade through automated messages on the phone to get service, or working with vendors I often find myself talking to a different rep each time I contact them. With the advancements in technology much of the time I don’t even talk to companies I deal with instead I fill out an online form (this is great for convenience but it loses a little personal touch).

For those of you who don’t know me my role here at Premier is “Ecommerce Manager” yes that means running the website where you fill in a form and get your order instead of talking to a real person. You might ask why I am bringing this up when it seems like I should be pointing out all the great things about technology.

Well… here it goes I recently read a blog post by Tom Martin called “Hello. Customer Service Calling.” In which he described an excellent customer service experience he had with his phone company (Vonage) I’d recommend reading his post for the full story but here are the highlights:

    • He was having issues with his phone service, so he looked up Vonage on Twitter and asked them for help.

    • The issue needed more assistance then could be provided on Twitter so they asked him when would be appropriate for their customer service rep to call him.

    • They call at the scheduled time, he had forgotten about an appointment and asked to reschedule, and they said no problem.

    • They called the morning of the next appointment to confirm that it was still a good time. He said it was.

    • Then they called when scheduled and solved his problem.

    • They followed up with an assigned rep and a direct extension to reach them so there would be no listening to automated messages and guessing which option he needed if the problem arose again.

I find this story amazing because the fact of the matter is business hasn’t changed people still care about personal service. What has changed is that we now have to figure out how to use technology to provide that good old-fashioned service.

The nice thing about this is that for a small company a similar program could be instituted with a free Twitter account and a scheduling program such as Google calendar (also free).

I say kudos to Vonage for using technology to provide great service. I’d also like to hear how your small business is embracing technology in ways that better serve your customers. Leave a comment and let us know.

Photo Credit: Ava Lowery