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Can Silicon Valley re-invent customer service?

22/04/2013 16:50

Think about all the online customer service innovations of the past few years, and the first example that probably comes to mind is the dedicated customer service Twitter account manned by a real, live person. Almost without exception, companies have attempted to replace expensive customer service representatives with cheap bots, or even worse — to require the consumer to do the job that customer service workers once did. In many cases, companies no longer even advertise a 1-800 number to contact them — once you’ve signed up as a user, they really don’t want to talk to you ever again. It’s become increasingly clear that if there’s a sweet spot out there for Silicon Valley innovators, it’s using technology to restore “service” to “customer service.”
As Harold Myerson pointed out in an opinion piece in The Washington Post on April 16, it’s an inescapable fact that companies are downsizing and getting leaner, and one of the first things to go is customer service. This leads to a head-scratching economic paradox — the more the “service economy” grows, the more “service” is removed from the economy. It’s just an economic reality that machines are cheaper than humans, no matter how little you pay them or how few of them you employ. As a result, at many companies, customer service has become a premium offering rather than a core offering — something that you use to nudge users to the next tier of the “freemium” pricing model or something that you tout in your advertisements as a special perk for your premium customers.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/post/can-silicon-valley-re-invent-customer-service/2013/04/19/51b32cce-a823-11e2-9e1c-bb0fb0c2edd9_blog.html

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