Traditional Roots Hold Futuristic Results
With the rise in online buying, mail ordering, and voice automated phone services, it seems as if businesses have became "faceless." No longer is it becoming common practice to place an order from someone you actually know—whether that order is placed by an online shopping cart, a phone transaction, or even in person at the actual brick and mortar store. No longer do you call and ask for your favorite employee to help you in placing your order, or even call to see how the owners of a store are getting along. Generally these days, when placing orders you are dealing with a machine in some sort, in hopes that that machine will later connect your information with an actual living and breathing employee. But who exactly is in charge of the company that you are dealing with? Of course this question can be easily distracted by the artistic layouts of the company logo, or even by the company’s mission statement; but I want to know who the actual owner and top employees are who represent that company. What do these people look like? What do they value? What do they have to offer to you as a customer? And most importantly for this topic, why are they hiding behind their own technology?
In relation to this rising trend in "faceless" business practices, David H. Freeman wrote, “According to a recent survey by the technology consultancy Gartner, two-thirds of customers who try to get service online give up and use the phone instead. Those voice menus, alas, don't do much better. A study taken earlier this year [in 2005] by Forrester Research concluded that 14 out of 15 automated voice-response systems deserved a flunking grade. Indeed, only 16% of callers felt 'completely satisfied’ after calling with a problem; 73% felt "customer rage,’ according to a survey by Customer Care Alliance." This sounds as if customer service via company technology is actually doing “faceless” businesses a disservice instead of excelling service.
With all of this in mind, I end with this...
We here at Southgate Coins are real people. Our brick and mortar store is open six days of every week to serve the public. Our website is opened 24/7 for our customers who enjoy unlimited viewing access to our merchandise. We personally answer all of the incoming phone calls and emails, as well as personally greet and try to get to know all of our customers who walk into the store each day. In no way do we shy away from offering excellent customer service by merely hiding behind our emails and online store. We encourage you to stop by and see us, to give us your "wish lists" of wanted coins, to share your stories of coin collecting, and any other thing that interests you. Our interaction with our customers is one of the most important aspects of our business. What a shame it would be if we ended up taking out that human aspect like so many other companies are deciding to do these days. So, if you are tired of dealing with automated emails and voice recordings, we will be here waiting for you. And we look forward to sharing that human connection with you as well. See you soon!
(Special thanks again to David Freeman. He can be found online at davidfreemanconsulting.com.)