As we click and stumble through the looking glass of an increasingly digital world, customer support will increasingly become the company.
Even if the company has a retail presence and an advertising budget the size of China, as support touchpoints continue to multiply across phone, email, forums, live chat, social media and whatever technology is coming around the corner, so will the need to kindle human connections.
For many companies, support are the only employees a customer really knows. Conversely, those often belittled employees are often the only ones who truly know those customers. They directly influence a company’s success (or lack thereof). They turn customers into believers or non-believers. They are the ongoing customer experience.
Short-sighted thinking by most companies see customer support as a cost centre. So they’re happy to run it barebones in a third-world country with third-rate staff. Not even bothering to solve audio-redundancy issue on phone technology so the poor support person on the other end of the line sounds like they’re buried under rubble at the bottom of the sea. (Perhaps they are?)
Why not invest in the best technology? Why not treat customer support like a profit centre that customers are eager to engage with? Why not call it something employees may actually want to dedicated their lives to?
Apple didn’t call their tech support customer support. They called it the Genius Bar - two words, nine letters and title caps made all the difference. Never underestimate the underlying power of words to create meaning, expectation and value.
What if support became the place where the most value is created? Where stories are gathered and shared? Where knowledge is forged?