Customer support seems like something we all know about. Isn’t it just answering the phone and listening to complaints? Not at all. Most customer support interactions have nothing to do with complaints.
Learning how to be a supportive, attentive, and responsive customer support agent takes time and sometimes a few mistakes.
Enter Micah Solomon’s book High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service: Inspire Timeless Loyalty in the Demanding New World of Social Commerce (AMACOM, 2012), which delivers a practical and logical series of tips in a digestible format for anyone who interacts with clients or customers.
The book’s structure
Achieving that balance of high-tech and high-touch is what the book does best through structured, proven approaches to success coupled with stories to back up their effectiveness.
Solomon introduces takeaway points, then gives an anecdotal example, then summarizes the point again in a slightly different way. This simple format reinforces each concept at least three times, thereby making it easier to remember no matter how the reader’s brain works.
He delivers a method for old-fashioned customer service in the high-speed and high-tech era of immediacy. At the core of his mini lessons is that belief that customer support is about honoring and being aware of individual customer preferences.
Immediacy and timeliness
On the advice in the book, we admit we have some favorite points that really resonated with us at Teamwork.com. Particularly interesting is Solomon’s emphasis that today’s modern customers expect information and answers immediately.
Since it isn’t always possible to answer questions immediately, that’s where it is important to embrace FAQs, help docs, and resources so consumers are empowered to search for and satiate their inquiring minds.
Modern customers embrace their new empowerment and access to self-service options. So much so, they will react harshly to any attempt to take it away or neglect it. This is very true when it comes to timeliness as well.
With modern shipping and delivery options (and drones!), the previous standard of six to eight weeks is laughable to most now. Solomon also noted the customers care more about receiving their purchase efficiently.
The importance of backstory
But just as important as timeliness, is the story behind the product and company, because there could be a dozen companies selling one hundred glow-in-the-dark unicorn headbands, but most consumers would be more eager to buy from the company that shares the story of a childhood dream to be a unicorn, and the design and headband that made it possible, as opposed to a company selling a similar item without any backstory.
In the book, Solomon explains how conspicuous consumption is becoming more socially acceptable when sentiment or aligned values are attached to the purchasing decision. This would be the case for choosing to spend a little more on a treehouse that is made by a local company from renewable resources instead of a less expensive plastic creation off a website that ships from many many miles away.
In such a situation, today’s customers will also be evaluating the environmental impact of the item and its delivery method, so it is important to embrace these factors and work with it instead of trying to cover it up with a vague reference to quality.
These reflections are just a few of the elements that we enjoyed most in High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service, but admittedly it was difficult to choose just a few to share in this post.
The book is available in print and audio format, so if you want to grapple with this concept and improve your own company’s high-touch service in a high tech world, check out Micah Solomon’s book.