Apple’s personal assistron, Siri, is certainly a bit of a novelty act. She is, however, good at finding the question within your question. Here’s a real-life example from my so-called real life.
“Siri, I’ve got a headache.”
“Micah, I found four drugstores* not too far from you.”
*(One time, Siri told me instead: “I found eight emergency rooms not too far from you..” “Siri,” I retorted, with some dismay, “Isn’t that a bit alarmist? I don’t think it’s that bad a headache.”
Siri, in other words, is one of the most visible (make that “audible”) manifestations of a phenomenon that’s transforming customer service: the customer expectation that information will be electronically curated for them in a personalized manner, and delivered to them instantly.
Here are some examples, ranging from the mundane to the literally lifesaving:
Amazon.com’s mix of crowdsourcing and algorithmic magic that allows it to know the item you want to buy (even if it’s not the one you thought you wanted)
• Route Happy — sorts air travel options for you based on a “Happiness Score,” which in their words reveals “shorter flights with better planes, seats, amenities, and flyer ratings.”
• PECO Energy, a local utility in Pennsylvania, has automated messaging that lets customers know—based on the phone number they call in from–if a problem has already been reported or if it needs the customer to provide more details. It then lets you know how long until the problem will be resolved, so you can adapt accordingly.
• The National Weather Service’s targeted “stay inside” text messaging can be pinpointed as closely as the nearest cell tower to ensure you don’t get extraneous messages or miss the one that will save your life.
What’s the moral of this story? Bring information together for your customers. Don’t expect them to go out surfing for it. They may just surf right on to the next business, bypassing yours.
Micah Solomon is the business keynote speaker, author, and customer service consultant termed by the Financial Post ”a new guru of customer service excellence.” Solomon offers keynote speaking and consulting on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture — and how they fit into today’s marketing and technology landscape. See Micah in action — including video and free resources — at http://www.micahsolomon.com. Or, click here for your own free chapter of Micah’s latest bestseller, High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service (AMACOM Books).———————————————————–
© 2013 Micah Solomon. Portions of this post may also have appeared in Micah’s previously published work.