Technology allows us to automate a lot of our business functions these days, but it also contributes to what customers might perceive as indifference or neglect.  Recent flaps over an automated customer service response on a company’s social media site has brought new attention to this problem. This article states that customer service interactions need to be personal from the very beginning.  An automated phone message that says, “We’ll direct your call to…” signals to the customer that she is about to get the runaround, for example.

If yours is a smaller business, getting personal can be an excellent business strategy.  It’s what can set you apart from the bigger companies where automation is a necessity just by sheer volume. To the extent possible, most companies should remove automated responses to any question posed by a customer, whether online, on the phone or in person.  As always, proper training of personnel would be required to make sure the personal touch happens across all departments and in all situations.  Once you’ve established your non-automated protocol, a service such as that provided by Customer Perspectives can help you set benchmarks and then develop a program to measure your effectiveness.