CRM: Blending the Personal Touch with Technology

Customer Relationship Management can be problematic. 

Some business owners lean to one side of the extreme by saying that technology takes away that special human touch that customers crave. So using technology is a mistake for customer service and relationship management. 

Then there are others who think that technology is all you need because customers value convenience over personal touches (i.e. Wal-Mart versus farmers market). 

I guess it is just human nature to lean towards the extreme in an attempt to make a situation simpler.  However, we would all be wise to heed the saying, “Everything in moderation.”  There is a happy medium, even when combining personal touches and technology.

Technology is a great tool for speeding up the process of correcting problems.  It makes reporting issues far more convenient for customers because they can do it at any time, day or night.  Agents can pull up client information at a moment’s notice.  In order to add a personal touch, the agent in charge of dealing with a certain incident ticket should contact the customer who reported it and let him know that they are looking into the problem and update him on the progress. 

Communication is key when maintaining any kind of relationship.

PhaseWare’s Self-Service Center, Live Chat, and Event Engine software packages provide methods of personal touches through technology. 

With the Self-Service Center, customers can log in and see who is actually working on their incident ticket so they have a name in hand which lets them know that their complaint is not just floating somewhere out in the ether.  There is a connection to an actual person. 

With Live Chat, customers can actually chat online with agents about various issues and get a game plan as to how the problem will be solved.  It is a person to person conversation—a personal touch through technology. 

Event Engine also maintains that personal touch by keeping the customer in the loop.  It sends out periodic e-mails to keep the client updated on the resolution progress. 

As a customer myself, it is nice when a company touches base with me to let me know how things are proceeding if I have recently sent in a complaint.  Something else that is also welcomed is when someone touches base two or three weeks later to ask how whatever they fixed was holding up and if anything needed to be tweaked.  I actually had this happen recently and it was a good feeling, like the company cared about how they were doing and were making sure that their clientele were happy with the company’s products and service. 

By the way, that company contacted me via e-mail, not phone.  I didn’t need to hear a voice to know that the company was trying show that they cared.
Personal touches don’t have to be huge.  Personal touches are simply the little things that show that the company is taking the time to go the extra mile, and that makes all the difference in the world.

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