When technology is applied to business processes, too often it requires a strict adherence to protocols of use to achieve the required/desired results. For example, when interacting with a supplier for processing an order, or applying for finance with a bank or online financier, or for a savings product, etc. In these situations the customer MUST supply specific information in a certain manner.
When there are any issues within this process, quickly finding appropriate support services can be a problem for the enquiring party. If this support is lacking, the enquirer or customer has to make the decision on whether to proceed or to move on to another supplier.
If there is a problem with entering the requested information in the above situations, it is as a result of the problems created when developing the technology interface. This problem is caused because the specific criteria required is established in consultation between the developer and the client when writing the program. Unfortunately, in these situations, various factors can be forgotten, including whether the enquirer or customer can actually enter the required information. The reason for the enquirer or customer’s problem could be for a variety of reasons not previously considered.
If a customer has problems entering required information the product or service supplier, the outcome is a frustrated existing or potential customer. In addition, if a new or potential customer wants to make an enquiry, the need of a speedy answer is also important when information is lacking on the website. The best way to lose a customer is explained in the following example. Recently I telephoned a major organisation for some basic information.
After three plus minutes of repeated information and advertising, I was finally added to the list of people waiting for service. After another five minutes with no response and more useless messages, I hung up. It is extremely unlikely that I will ever waste my time again with this organisation, which is a shame, because they have an extensive range of competitive products.
In either case, the above information highlights the first step in losing the enquirer or customer’s business. From this point, the lack of quality backup support facility with qualified people who can promptly resolve the customer’s problem, reveals how a customer is lost. Alternatively, if the experience had been a positive one, a new or existing customer may have bought more.
This lack of back-up facilities is the next most important part of the sales or payment process. It is by recognising this fact that your business is starting to understand the “the art of business”. As a result, your business has the opportunity to turn an enquiry into a sale or a payment, or perhaps reconnect a previous committed customer which has become disenfranchised to your business.
These factors also apply in accounts receivable/credit management and debt collection. The ability to make payments and interact with real people is essential. By all means, have communication technology interfaces with communication and payment channels. However, your customers need to also have a variety of payment options and people your customers can talk to and with, about other matters.
Technology interfaces and payment processes are cold-blooded and often only offer one-dimensional solution to payment, sales and customer service solutions enquiries. However, when a customer has access to prompt and professional “people solutions” this is where the “art of business” outcomes occur which add much more value to your business proposition.
Today we are in an era where most of your competitors are all rushing to the same technology solutions whilst minimising human interactions. It is having qualified people to promptly answer your enquirers’ or customers’ concerns which will be a major point of difference over your competitors. In turn, this difference as marketing professionals constantly remind us, is often the difference between survival and outstanding profitability.