Are you listening to your customers?

Smiling receptionist talking to a customer

We are in a world of technological conflict, and your customers may be on the wrong end of the battle.

On the one hand, people are becoming fearful of where technology is leading us. Amazon’s Alexa and Google are listening to our every word. If you search for a product online or talk about a product, you are immediately inundated with targeted ads for that product. Deep Fake Technology is making it possible for bad actors to convincingly alter the words that political and other high-profile people speak, to the point that they can bend the course of public opinion in any direction they choose.

On the other hand, businesses are adopting technology as money-saving tools to the detriment of their employees. Without going back too far in time, what once were good-paying jobs for persons without a secondary education, are slowly falling away to computers with artificial intelligence and automated robots that now require college-educated programmers to keep them running.

While much of the new business technologies have proven to be a boost to productivity and the company’s bottom line, some technology may turn out to be a liability when it comes to attracting and keeping customers.

Business 101 dictates that the best way to keep customers happy and attract new customers is through excellent customer service. Statistics and online business reviews show that the best customer service comes from knowledgeable and friendly human interaction.

One example of frustrating technology happened the other day when calling a business to ask a simple but critical question. The call was answered by an automated system which promptly started with one-minute-thirty-second advertisement about the company, followed by a fifteen-second listing of the business location and hours of operation before giving a menu of six options to select. Upon selecting the option most appropriate, there were two other option selections to make, and each of those options had their own recorded announcements ending with a request to leave a message.

Since the question was important and needed a quick response, a second call was placed. However, no amount of button pushing could push past the advertisement, location, and business hour announcement. It took three separate calls before, by chance, a button was pushed that resulted in an actual human being. The question was asked, and the hold button pushed, while the person on the other end attempted to find the answer. After nearly a minute on hold, the response was that the person with the answer was busy and would need to return the call. While the answer was important, it was also simple enough that it could have been relayed by the person answering the phone instead of making the customer wait for a call-back.

All in all, that little experience made for a very frustrating loss of nearly 20 minutes and no customer satisfaction.

While the above may be an extreme example, it is not out of the ordinary for a customer to call a business and forced to wade their way through a menu of options to speak to a representative. Moreover, many times, human interaction is not an option at all. Instead, businesses are directing customers to their website to search through a list of commonly asked questions or interact with a chatbot.

Humans generally speak at 125-175 words per minute and can listen at a rate of up to 450 words per minute. In contrast, the average typist does 38-40 words per minute — and that’s on a full-fledged keyboard, not on a mobile phone.

While gathering customer information through their online search is great for the marketing department and building SEO on the web, the internet is not efficient when it comes to customer satisfaction.

According to a study by Google, 61% of mobile users call a business when they’re in the purchase phase of the buying cycle. The majority of respondents would call instead of reaching out online because they’re looking to get a quick answer (59%) or talk to a real person (57%). The study also found that consumers are more likely to call a business when making a high-value purchase in verticals such as auto, finance, or travel.

Calls to businesses have significantly increased in response to the mass adoption of mobile phones. According to the advertising and marketing advisory firm BIA/Kelsey, calls to businesses are expected to exceed 169 billion per year by 2020. These calls are 10-15 times more likely to generate a successful sale or follow-up activity than digital form submissions, which means they are more efficient in generating revenue.

Technology is a very powerful tool and beneficial to the improved quality of life that we enjoy in this 21st century. However, even the most advanced computers and artificial intelligence programs are no substitute for the warmth, compassion, and assurance that can be conveyed with the human voice.

At Business Finance Corporation, we take pride in the fact that we are not a large faceless internet company. We meet without customers one-on-one, learn their business, and work with them on an individual basis to help with their finance needs. When you dial 702-947-3800 you will not be greeted by a recording, but instead, the friendly voice of Belinda Parker.

Photo of a woman smiling

Belinda will make sure that you are promptly transferred to one of our knowledgeable staff members to assist you with your needs.

Your Partner in Success,

David Cabral