The Curse of Email in Customer Communication
I believe that technology companies tend to rely too much on email for communicating with their customers. This tendency may be driven by several factors:
- Perception of efficiency: customer service is tracked on speed and activities. Phone calls take too long and are hard to schedule.What is not measured is the cost of under-communicating with customers. What is also not measured well is the inefficiency of the back and forth via email and support tickets to get to the core of the problem.
- Shyness: Technologists do not tend to be extroverts. This is especially true in customer support where the communication may be uncomfortable or caustic.
- Culture: the new generation of employees who have grown up (or gone through college) with email/IM/SMS and now Twitter, et al., is very used to communicating electronically. A phone call can seem very passe.
But electronic communication will never capture the essence and nuances of what goes on in the customers mind and heart. There’s still no replacement for picking up the phone and speaking with someone directly.
Here’s a blog you should read about what’s gained through phone or face communication with customers: “Why I Love When Customers Complain.”
Vanessa did a great job capturing the depth and breadth of what can be learned in speaking with customers. Better than a phone call, how about regular face-to-face meetings with customers? Too expensive? Doesn’t have to be. Employees travel all the time to visit prospects or to attend conferences/events. How about allocating 25% of any travel time to visiting existing customers in the area?
B2B brand and product positioning will only continue to become more important with the rise of the End User Era.