Culture Workplace

Being Human is Good Business

January 17, 2014
Elizabeth Drake


Being Human is Good Business

We’ve all had our share of bad customer service experiences.

In “Being Human is Just Good Business” Kristin Smaby lays out a vision for a new kind of customer service model. A model that is human centered.

“Customer service, by definition, is about serving people; it should be genuine, personalized, and compassionate—or, simply put, human. For most organizations, customer service is an afterthought. And since servicing customers is primarily viewed as a cost center, customers are often treated as a liability. Yet, customers are a valuable resource: their feedback is integral to shaping your product and building your brand… A human-centric customer service model revolves around people. Every component of the solution is humanized, acknowledging that customers and agents are real people with daily life struggles like the rest of us.”

In the old model, a customer is an issue to be resolved and not a person to be understood. This leads to inefficient and impersonal customer-agent interactions that are actually hurting businesses. Customer service agents know nothing about the customer calling in because there is no stored customer data—each interaction must be built from the ground up. Speed is placed over quality in these interactions, making customers feel unvalued and agents disengaged. Customers have stories to tell that, if collected, could lead to improved products, but none of these stories are made use of because each issue is collected out of context.

However, the future of customer service is bright if we shift our model to one that is human centric. In a human centric model, customers have profiles stored in the database that agents can draw on and add to when interacting with a customer, saving them the time of having to start from scratch each time a customer calls. Agents establish histories with customers that allow them to know what issues have come up in the past and how best to communicate with each one. Customers are not only retained, but also feel loyal to the brands that treat them like people. They become your marketers through word of mouth. Their stories can be collected and made use leading to improved products and services that meet your customers’ needs.