One Thing That Will Never Go Away
I had done all of the previous research. I knew exactly what model I wanted and I knew that the store I was driving to had it in stock. As I walked into the store I was greeted with a, “Hi. Can I help you find anything?” I politely declined as I motored towards the electronic department. Again, I was greeted and asked if I needed help. I found the product that I wanted and unsuccessfully tried dodging employees on the way back to the front of the store. I began thinking that the employees who were offering so much help were hindering my shopping experience. I made it a game to avoid the employees as they became obstacles that I tried to avoid at all costs. I was able to finally reach the check out counter and was blindsided by the cashier with a, “Did you find everything alright?”
I made it home only to have a problem with software installation and gave the customer service number a call. After being put on hold and listening to static filled elevator music, I was prompted by a computer to answer some questions, “2…Yes…No…No…Yes…”. The monotone voice on the other end did its best to service my issue but I became frustrated with the endless prompts and time invested into a potential solution. The personal touch that I had just avoided at the retail store would have been welcomed with open arms as I tried to get my problem resolved.
While technological advancements directed me to the store that carried the exact product I wanted, the call center system would not be what I considered a technological marvel. As consumers we have become so accustomed to the ease of ordering, price/product comparison and the mobility of these services that we don’t recognize the lack of personal touch until we run into an issue. No matter how advanced technologies become, customer service from a real, living person can never be replaced.
Many industries can thrive with this “less-involved” approach while other industries need a more customer intimate relationship. I would place the packaging industry in the latter. As we have discussed before, there are many aspects that go into a particular print job that can affect the quality and costs. When the technical details from color, opening tolerances, board stock quality/certifications, size, adhesive properties, packing specs and shipping conditions matter to you and your business, you need someone that you can trust to answer your questions. In the detail orientated world of packaging adjustments simplifying these specs into an online ordering form is something that cannot be done without paying for it in other ways.
Whether you try to avoid customer service or embrace it, in the packaging world I’d like to see technology try and replace it.