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What Is Your Company’s Customer Service Persona?

This year Amazon topped the 24/7 Wall St. Customer Service Hall of Fame for the sixth year in a row, while Comcast came in last for the second year straight. Why do some companies have better customer service reputations than others?

In today’s Internet-oriented marketplace, how companies handle technology has a major impact on their customer service effectiveness. Customer service software provider Aspect, which supplies Aspect Zipwire cloud call center solutions for businesses, has analyzed how enterprises handle technology and has identified five personas that characterize corresponding customer service patterns. Knowing which persona characterizes your company can help you optimize your customer service and better satisfy your customers.

Traditionalist

Imagine a local restaurant owner who’s been in business for decades. He knows his customers by name, but his business doesn’t have a website with a menu or a mobile app for ordering takeout.

This illustrates the traditionalist customer service persona. The traditionalist’s customer service policy focuses on personal attention, but tends to lag behind on adopting new technology. Only five percent of traditionalist companies adopt new technology, such as web chat or mobile apps, before the public starts demanding it, and only 46 percent provide technological self-service channels. If you’re a traditionalist, getting up to speed on the customer service technology that your competitors are using can help you better serve your customers.

Selfie

You go to your cable company’s website to look up their customer service phone number. You find not only a phone number but live chat, email and self-service FAQ options. When you call, you are greeted by a recorded message in both English and Spanish with a menu of options you can activate by voice or touch. But when you choose the option to talk to a customer service representative, it takes a half hour to get through to a real person.

Selfies tend to be ahead of the curve on technology, but lag behind on human service. Ninety-five percent of selfies think they’re doing better at customer service than their customers would rate them. If you’re a selfie, surveying what your customers want and what their biggest complaints are can be a step toward improvement.

Honcho

Imagine a McDonald’s where the manager is looking over the cashier’s shoulder. Honcho organizations are leadership-driven. The leadership lays out detailed customer service policies, provides strong training support and supervises performance to make sure policies get carried out.

Honchos tend to be strong on the human side of customer service but weak on technology. They are the least likely of all five personas to develop a social media presence or offer omnichannel support. If you’re a honcho, reviewing whether technology is fully integrated into your customer service can help identify areas for improvement.

Casualist

You walk into a local auto shop and the whole staff appears to be on break. You wait a while for a couple employees to finish a conversation before getting service. When you pay, the outdated equipment has trouble accepting your credit card, so you have to write a check.

This illustrates a casualist approach to customer service. The casualist company has little leadership, follows no clear procedures and takes no initiative to adopt new technology. If you’re a casualist, a formal review of your customer service procedures and use of technology is in order.

Stickler

You make a doctor’s appointment over the phone, and are told to arrive 30 minutes early to fill out a form. When a nurse comes to begin your appointment, she runs you through some routine check-up procedures and asks you questions about what you filled out on your form. Your doctor has already reviewed what you filled out before she arrives. After your appointment, a secretary calls you to schedule a follow-up appointment, and you receive an email asking you to fill out an online form rating your service.

This is the stickler persona. Sticklers follow protocol to the letter. Their formal approach to customer service makes them highly likely to adopt technology. Sticklers tend to deliver superior customer service, but their formal approach can become depersonalized. If you’re a stickler, make sure your technological efficiency doesn’t come at the cost of training your staff in people skills.

And finally… which persona are you? The best part is, you can always become a different one if you don’t like who you currently are.

Photo Details: Provided by Social Monsters with permission to use. 

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