In a world where people can pay for their lattes with the wave of a smartphone, read medical advice from the Mayo Clinic on their iPads (while waiting for their real doctor to arrive), and get detailed restaurant suggestions from people they've never met, doing business in a digitally-savvy fashion has become business as usual. Mobile devices, interactive voice response systems, concierge-style self-service kiosks and, of course, social media are now integral to serving customers. But it takes much more than technology to satisfy a customer's specific needs, solve a customer's frustrating problem, and make each customer feel special.
"Technology, properly directed, is the faithful friend of the customer-centered company," states Micah Solomon, bestselling author and acclaimed customer service expert. "But technology alone is almost never enough to bring a company out of the danger zone of being thought of as a commodity. Technology needs people." In his new book, High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service: Inspire Timeless Loyalty in the Demanding New World of Social Commerce Solomon walks business leaders and customer service managers steadily along the tightrope of maximizing state-of-the-art technology and traditional best practices to succeed in treating customers as individuals who matter.
While carefully avoiding geek-speak, Solomon brings readers up to speed on the technologies that have changed how customers expect companies to behave-faster and with more transparency, for starters-and how to stay at the forefront of this revolution while not throwing The baby out with the digital bathwater. Throughout, he focuses on how to leverage technology to connect with customers on an emotional level and leave a positive imprint. And throughout, he shares examples of companies-Apple, Four Seasons, Nordstrom, Zappos, LEGO, and many more-that exemplify how to masterfully balance technology with humanity.
Organised into three parts, High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service begins by reinforcing the basics of doing customer service right-in a caring, friendly, timely, responsible manner-and the fallout of doing it wrong. Building on this foundation, Solomon explores how to use technology to secure customer loyalty and ways to stay ahead of competitors in emerging digital areas. Among the surefire strategies for success that readers will discover:
The competitive advantage of knowing just what customers are looking for in advance-and how technology can make consistently delivering anticipatory customer service simple.
How to create an anticipatory customer service culture-and how to hire, inspire, and reinforce customer-facing employees in a way that encourages empathy and a focus on long-term relationships.
The power and payoffs of autonomy-for customer service providers as well as for customers-and how to safely back up this autonomy with quality standards and support systems.
How to do self-service right, offering customers a choice of channels and escape hatches, including the easy-to-access option of speaking to a real, live person.
Tips for ensuring that high-tech service innovations do not alienate customers by wasting their time, overwhelming them with data, or making them feel stupid.
How to effectively address customers' complaints and rants on Twitter, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other forums for user-generated content and much more.
Eye-opening, entertaining, and, above all, emphatically practical, High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service is a welcome guide for anyone in business who's striving (or struggling) to keep up with technology and to keep their customers.
Micah Solomon, hailed as a "new guru of service excellence" (Financial Post), is a popular keynote speaker and respected corporate adviser and strategist on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture. A successful entrepreneur, he is the founder of Oasis Disc Manufacturing, which he built from a one-room operation into a leader in entertainment and technology, as well as an early investor in MacSpeech, the groundbreaking Apple-related speech recognition startup. Solomon is the coauthor of the bestselling Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit (AMACOM; April 2010), and his expertise has been featured in FastCompany, Inc. Magazine, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes.com, Wall Street Journal Radio, The Washington Post, ABC and CBC television programming, and elsewhere.
High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service
Author: Micah Solomon