Archive for May, 2011

Customer Service – automation hell

May 21, 2011

Customer Service – the art of helping out a customer while he is trying out your organization’s product (it can be buying an off-the-shelf product in your supermarket, flying out in your airline, staying in your hotel, anything literally). How do you improve your experience of your customer so that he is happy with your organization and returns back to increase your sales.

In the drive towards automation and decreasing costs, I noticed that the hotel I was staying this weekend in London has virtually removed the receptionist from the scene. When one does a late check-in (after 6PM), they can go to the kiosk at the reception which will throw out the room number and the access card. Wonderful concept but it felt a bit eerie for me (even though I consider myself to be a new-age traveler). Where is the wonderful, smiling face behind the till who will assure you that in case something goes wrong, I have a face to go back to. Not a kiosk that probably has been implemented by a project managed by someone like myself!!!

Earlier this week, I was staying in a hotel in the relatively remote areas of UK – Altrincham – where the old-style of receptionist being present for 24 hours is followed. How much I miss that hotel now! I would love to go back there anytime. Of course, one can argue about the costs of manning a desk for 24 hours but come on – have you done a customer survey and found out what your customers want?

What do you think about this? Do you think we should drive more automation just to decrease our costs? Is there no longer a need to have human interaction?


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