Get the Balance Right or Lose Money!
High Tech—High Touch facts and a balancing experience.
Have you ever become really frustrated with an automated telephone system that directs you forward with ‘To order press one; to leave a message press two; to send a fax press three etc’? Don’t worry, so have 87% of us.
High Tech Fact One
A study by an airline call center group found that it was up to 30% faster to use an automated system.
High Touch Fact One
Most of us prefer to wait longer just so we can talk to a human being.
Telecommuting is growing rapidly with increasing numbers of people working from a virtual office (mostly their homes).
High Tech Fact Two
A recent study by a University of Queensland Professor found that people who telecommute have higher levels of productivity than office-based workers.
High Touch Fact Two
What they don’t have is a high level of satisfaction.
The Underwhelming Experience
While doing some research for a recent national speaking tour I called my client’s competitors (The client made blinds and window fashions). When I phoned their competitors I was really underwhelmed, and in fact a little offended by the sales interaction on the phone. I called to make an inquiry about the products and to see what the appointment procedure was. I was taken through a screen driven menu. Usual questions, name, address etc. and then the question that put me offside: ‘How many windows do you have? (to cover)’
Would your immediate reaction have been similar to mine? I thought they were valuing/qualifying me to see if it was worth coming to see me. This could be isolated so I called the next competitor, only to get exactly the same questions culminating in ‘How many windows do you have?” I couldn’t let it pass. I needed to know why the question was asked. I explained that the question made me feel like they were checking my worth as a potential client; it was uncomfortable and didn’t enhance our potential relationship.
The answer gave me an insight into a real and growing challenge in sales today.
The telephone service person explained that lots of people balked at that particular question but it needed to be asked so time could be scheduled for the salesperson’s visit. Now it made sense—eight windows takes longer than two to measure and quote. I realized their motive was excellent; it was, in part, their technology that created the difficulty.
The customers were being asked to conform to the needs of