At our client conference in March I spoke about Trust. It’s arguably the most important test of the relationship between an organisation and its customers.
I suggested that there are fundamentally two types of trust: the trust we have in tools, and the trust we have in people. From tools we expect appropriate design and reliable performance. From people we expect, on top of those things, initiative and a personal connection.
Effective customer service means being clear about which type of trust the customer is looking for. Are you offering them a tool, or a human?
We asked customers on our panel to name an organisation they trusted. The NHS came out on top with 13%. I think that’s down to their human skills and empathy. The role of empathy within healthcare is paramount, as this Cleveland Clinic video brilliantly illustrates:
Amazon was the second most often named, with 3%. That, I suspect, is because Amazon is seen as an excellent tool.
Both can be effective strategies, but it’s important to be clear which you are trying to be. If customers expect a human and you ask your people to behave like tools then that’s a quick road to dissatisfaction and distrust.