PEOPLE HELP PEOPLE
How can companies engage more people to help customers without increasing their head count?
Have you ever heard of “Run to Failure”? Run to failure maintenance is a maintenance strategy that is sometimes more appropriately called “Fit and Forget” because there is no maintenance plan beyond complete replacement upon failure.
Most of Consumer Electronics products are handled that way as it allows companies to save costs for onboarding or preventive action or education. It has worked in the past, but it came with a price tag customers are not willing to pay anymore. On the other hand, companies are not willing to increase head counts in order to provide better onboarding processes where humans are involved. Unfortunately (or fortunately), bots are not ready yet to explain and supervise complex onboarding processes. So, what could be the solution for this very dilemma?
“The Crowd” versus “The Community”?
In out talks with major leaders of the industry we learned that almost everybody stares at a yet neglected and unused potential called “The Crowd”, sometimes referred as “The Community”. Currently, the Compliance officers and “Brand protectors” have their saying, dumping such resources as too dangerous and uncontrollable for being utilized in proper processes.
One reason maybe lies in the merging of both terms, crowd and community, into one group of people. I strongly believe, that community is the right name and the targeted group of users that should be brought into the limelight. Communities, in contrast to mere crowds, possess a feeling of togetherness, a common understanding of what they have in common. As a result, communities can be turned into fans and consecutively into helping hands, purely based on their belief.
Therefore, in theory there is a group of persons, willing to help. But now the next problem occurs. How can fans help other users in our industry? Is it “posting in Social Media” or talking to others over their phones?
What makes Consumer electronics different to other sectors is the presence of physical products, sometimes connected to apps or supportive software. It the manual interaction that stands out. Just imagine your brand new Samsung fridge, your smart energy meter, your smartphone or your “Hell of a coffee machine.
Touch it, use it, handle it. Feel it
Let’s for once agree, that a proper community, using targeted products in practice, could be an enormous competitive advantage if properly engaged for good. My credo: Let them do more than just buying your products. Provide them with technology to connect with other customers to exchange experience, help each other and eventually create a new huge sales machine.
If you analyse current call center problem requests, you find out something interesting. Most of the problems connected to physical devices can be resolved in a DIY approach or at least can be explained easily.
The second major learning is, that phone conversations or chats can’t resolve most of the requests most effectively. Customers prefer the “show me” approach rather than the “Talk or chat to me” one. But there is a slight misperception on the retailers’ and manufacturers’ side, as “show me” doesn’t mean the already mentioned Youtube videos but rather a human being showing it to another, live, interactive, sometimes not following a straight procedure.
It’s that feeling of “me talking to my neighbour”, sometimes inserting some “social” stuff and then returning to the topic. Showing empathy for problems, expressing joy when problems are solved together. And that, let’s be honest, can only be best done in a visual environment.
Tomorrow we try to propose a solution that leads all involved parties into a connected future that, not surprisingly, creates the fun again we had when meeting in person to talk about tech gadgets and newly acquired home appliances at parties.