By Craig Regan
From the UK comes the revelation that 93 percent of businesses aren’t using online live chat to serve their customers. According to a media release, live chat is a tool to “help avoid call centre misunderstandings that arise from unintelligible accents”.
Putting aside (a.) news is what’s happening, not what isn’t and (b.) this nugget comes from a survey by a maker of – you guessed it – live chat software, it throws a light on the role of digital media in customer complaints.
I stumbled out of a peak-hour morning Sydney train late last week with a red paint smear on the back of my shirt after a close encounter with graffiti on a seat.
My first action was to vent on Facebook.
My next was to click a link sent by a responder to my rant.
This link takes you to the CityRail website. Is it surprising to find a dead page?
Google eventually found turned up a website complaint form and in surprisingly short time a classic “we care about you” holding response landed in the inbox, promising that someone would investigate.
Big bureaucracies operate in ponderous ways and I’m due a further reply on the Tuesday after Easter.
I do know the dry cleaning bill will be in the electronic mail that goes back.
There’s something satisfying about venting and the best service organisations know that most complaints can be defused by listening and showing empathy - even when there’s no concrete remedy in sight.
There are customer-facing organisations using digital media well and others using it appallingly.
Telstra is in the former category. Its use of Twitter to respond to customers is one of the more creative uses of the microblogging tool and it works because it’s direct and almost instantaneous. (Disclosure: Telstra is a Lighthouse client.)
Back to that UK survey and there was one useful kernel in a finding that 71 percent of people who’d emailed an organisation for service were waiting for a reply.
Talk about hanging on the telephone (apologies to Blondie – and the Nerves who were the other New York band that recorded it first.)
Why have an email address if it’s ignored? Answering the rhetorical question in the comments section is entirely voluntary but it seems like having a post office box that you never empty.