Beyond the Phone Call

One of the most important aspects of a successful business operation is effective communication with your customers. By communicating, I don’t mean replying someone’s question or comments with something clever or purposeful. By communicating, I mean listening. And not just sit there quietly and nodding your head, but really, really pay close attention to what the others are trying to tell you. In Will Smith’s hit comedy movie “Hitch”, the “date doctor” Alex Hitch (Will Smith), pointed out to the audiences that “90% of what you are saying ain’t coming out of your mouth”. In the case of the movie, Hitch was telling his clients that the confidence one exude is not by the mere words he is speaking, but through multitude of micro-expressions such as body language, facial expression, and tone of voice. In the grand scheme of business, that translates to “the little things that customers are telling you are not so little”. If a customer decides to call your support hotline to get assistance, he has most likely experienced multitude of failures, failures that you, as the company failed to foresee or neglected to address.

Let me elaborate on that.
Imagine that you are a tech savvy consumer. You have just spent couple of hundred dollars on a piece of electronic gadget that is supposed to make your life easier than ever. After a solid 30 minutes of tinkering around with the device trying to get it to work the way it was advertised to, you admit defeat and opened up that dreadful 300-page user manual the manufacturer somehow crammed into the size of pack of gum. You read through all the installation process with the help of a 10x magnifier. After hours of trial and error on a product promised to setup in minutes, you are still unable to make it work. You then turn to the company’s website for answers. The FAQ page doesn’t address your problem. Though the answer maybe available in the colossal online troubleshooting database the company has put up, you have no idea how to begin the search. A quick Google search provided some leads but still not enough to resolve the issue at hand. After a few more futile attempts, you finally wave the white flag and pick up the phone to dial that toll free support hotline number.

As we can see, for a technologically in-tuned consumer to call that support phone number listed on the back of the product box, the company has failed him on multiple occasions:

  1. The company’s product performance did not live up to its claim. The product that is supposed to work in minutes took hours and still failed to perform.
  2. The consumers nowadays do not have the time to read through the setup manual to get a product to work. Knowing this and still making the users to read through pages after pages of user manual shows that the company either failed to understand the users’ need or neglected to attend to users’ need.
  3. The company’s website does not provide the users with easy navigation to find troubleshooting information. Most likely, the website does not provide a well programmed “search” function.
  4. For the Google search engine to be unable to locate resolution for the users, the company’s website might be SEO friendly.

As we can see, the simple act of calling customer support might not be so simple after all. Understand how consumers think and behave on a micro level will help you to set up better business practice to better serve your customers and in return, help grow your business.