Communication is one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of a business leader (or any leader for that matter). It’s how we influence, it’s how we connect, its how we serve. As technology advances and as consumer preferences change we are also changing how we communicate.
Studies are beginning to demonstrate that consumers actually prefer automated communications (Phone calls, text messages and emails) over live agent interaction for things like schedules, test results, appointment and account balance reminders). As a result companies in their quest for efficiency and productivity have moved to automate many of their communication channels.
Some do this very well. Others end up destroying relationships with the very people they want to serve. This article on the Verizon phone tree is an excellent example. My work with clients has found that you can manage large volumes of consumer interactions without engaging an agent IF you design your communication logic in a friendly and simple manner.
At the same time it is important that you give your customer the opportunity to connect with a live agent. (If you are getting too many agent calls your phone tree is poorly designed). I personally have had excellent service with Verizon Wireless and their customer service. But as this article shows when you upset the wrong customer and they have a large audience it can have a big impact on your business.