Customer Service and that Fast-Food Feeling


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Plain speed is a critical factor in customer service delivery. But why is it that responsiveness is so often at a cost to accuracy or engagement? I hate to say it, but when you consider the support offered by large telephone, finance and utility providers, the parallels between their customer service and the fast-food experience are undeniable. For example:

– Consumer expectations of customer service are low across all industries
– Training often focuses around conformity to a formula rather than to customer satisfaction
– Processes, automation and repetition are emphasized in the drive for cost efficiencies
– Self-service if possible – but where’s the help when you need it?
– If the customer service agent recognizes you, it’s probably not a good thing
– If the question isn’t stock standard, the agent doesn’t know how to deal with it. ‘Just order off the menu, it makes life easier for everyone.’

The result: just like ordering fast-food, the customer service experience leaves you feeling slightly unsatisfied (despite having fed the hunger) and quite determined to avoid repeating this experience any time soon.

According to a Genesys survey about the cost of poor customer service, nearly 7 out of 10 respondents said they had walked away from a company because the service they’d experienced was too poor for words. They felt trapped in automated self-service, they hated repeating themselves, they found that representatives were not equipped to answer their questions.

What did these respondents want? “Better integration between self-service and assisted service, including voice self-service and eServices.” The most requested improvements in all 16 countries: to be able to start in voice self-service or the Web and get live assistance from an agent, and to start in e-mail and have better integration with agent-assisted service. As in: “Don’t ask me twice.” Second, consumers said that the ability to communicate across multiple channels is critical to loyalty. As in: “Treat my interactions as a conversation.”

Which is exactly what Casengo assists companies to do. With Casengo’s intuitive customer support portal, any consumer can self-serve on the Web and still connect, in a single click, with an agent over live chat if unable to find the answer himself. It’s one application for email, chat, social media and – coming up soon – call management. Plus, Casengo’s blended email and chat technology means any email can instantly turn into a live chat session (and back) for those times when immediacy and clarification are paramount.

Technology has evolved to improve efficiencies where human interaction would take much longer, but it’s the implementation of such technology that is lacking. Whilst many of us have no problem with the first teleprompt, it’s getting stuck in the loop that lets us down. So whatever technology you decide to use: find the right one, and then create the processes for a winning formula. Instead of comparing you to a fast-food chain, your customers will be likening you to their favourite top-notch restaurant.

Denise Parker
Denise Parker is marketing guru of Casengo. This social customer support software in the cloud helps companies to respond to their customers with greater ease and a human touch. Casengo, developed in Amsterdam, will be released to the public this Fall. You can register as a beta tester by leaving your email address on


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