Some of the most iconic characters in movies and television haven’t even been human. For example, most people don’t realize the name of the robot on Lost in Space was actually G.U.N.T.H.E.R, short for “General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Robot.”
Far from contrived movie props (apologies to R2D2) robots are becoming more and more widespread in their use and practical in their application. For example:
– Target Corporation is testing a robot that traverses store aisles and evaluates inventory.
– Amazon’s Kiva robots are swarming around a warehouse in the UK helping to speed orders.
– I use a tool called Hemingway Editor to avoid the use of passive phrases for my blog posts. (You’re welcome.)
Robots have been historically defined by monotone voices, stilted responses, and pre-programmed, inflexible circuitry. However, some of the most prevalent “robots” actually have flesh and blood. Customer care agents in call centers are constrained by rigid scripting requirements, resulting in a lack of flexibility and naturalness during customer engagement. Often, these traits cause customers to disdain the “robotic service” they are receiving.
The antidote to “robo-service”? Companies are encouraging their customer care teams to have more natural conversations with customers in an attempt to drive higher emotional attachment. It’s pretty easy to spot this trend – and when it can go awry. Having a customer care agent comment about your “local” weather when you are actually calling from a business trip in another state is an example. Such attempted pleasantries can be off-putting when you’re contacting a business about a poor experience – which is often the case when a phone call is the last resort to address a problem
As you strive to create more-emotional attachments with your customers, keep Job #1 in mind: Solve the customer’s problem and (sometimes) skip the pleasantries.
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