Technology is not the solution for your customer experience problems

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It appears too many companies, particularly startups, rely too much on the technology tools in attempts of scaling their business.  In markets, where most customers have at least 3-5 companies that promise to deliver similar solutions for their problems at similar prices, customer experience is the only true differentiator. The company that provides the simplest path from on boarding to desired customer outcome, will most likely own their market segment. Yet, most companies give much more thought to their marketing efforts to attract potential buyers than to prevent their paying customers from living.

For almost a year I was a customer of SocialOomph. In spite of their convoluted interface, I was able to schedule my content for publishing, until someone decided to change their billing process and the name they used to debit my credit card.  An unfamiliar name on my credit card statement prompted me to notify my bank and that caused SocialOomph to cancel my account. When I realized what happened I send them an email asking how my payments and service could be restored. I’ve never heard back from their customer support. The phone number is available on their website along with the message that discouraging its use. When I called, the voice message directed me back to the customer support’s email address.

Given the well publicized reputation of Canadians for their politeness, it is very unsettling to experience the “Soup Nazi” treatment from the company based in Canada – “No SocialOomph for you!”.

There are 4-5 companies that offer seemingly similar services at similar prices. Their websites are not particularly descriptive as to how they differentiate from each other and “free” test drive offers require credit card information. I could not find any customer reviews from those who have done business with any of them and was not in the mood for risky experiments.

All of these companies sell technology based service to social customers, but none of them seem to have a grasp of a social customer’s perspective.

That brings me to the point of this article – commerce, whether it is conducted online or at brick-and-mortar, is inherently a human activity and no technology can replace empathy and understanding of your customers’ journey. The transactional website analytics, that tracks clicks and time visitors spent on specific pages, does not help to gain that human perspective. Technologists often think that unique attributes of their offerings are more critical to success than fuzzy customer experience. They are wrong. No technology is good enough to make your customers forgive you for not caring for them. Many of them will abandon your business as soon as they find a provider replicating your service’s functions and offering a better experience. “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”.

An outside-in view of your business is by far more critical to your growth than any technology you can deploy to promote or automate it.

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