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Emotion, Skype and Customer Service

Sterling is an Acquisition Freak and writes a blog called AllThingsSterling.

I was reading a few articles on customer service this morning and something came to me.

When we’re removed from our customers say through email or Twitter, it’s easy to dismiss them. This is because emotion and urgency don’t always translate through writing. Emotions and urgency are powerful motivators. Without them, somethings just take longer. It’s the way we’re hardwired.

So let’s find a way to manipulate our hardwiring.

Sure, phone calls are a step in the right direction. Then it hit me: Skype and other video calling tools can make a big impact.

We’ve all heard most communication is through body language. That means most communication is missing without a visual aspect.

Does anyone use Skype in customer service at their agency or company?

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Hey Sterling – Love the capability of Skype and wonder why we don’t use it more for work-related functions. I’ve recommended using it for job interviews to mitigate the cost of travel and distance (and finally have an example of someone doing this.)

I’m also wondering if any organization (even beyond government) is using video-based chat for customer service…

Just shared a link to your post with the Citizen Engagement and Customer Service group, too.

Stephen Peteritas

Sterling, I think you are right on the money here. Seeing someone face to face creates the most empathy possible. I think people would get a lot better response to their complaints or concerns if the person on the other end knew they had to look them in the eye.

Wayne Moses Burke

I’d just like to say that while I agree this is a great idea for motivating customer service people, I think it’s an awful idea as a customer. Think about it – if you had a problem with AT&T or the DMV, do you really want to SEE the person on the other end?

I personally get a lot of work done while I’m hanging out waiting for them to figure out what’s going on – if they could see what I was doing, I would feel obligated to pay attention to them visually as well as through listening. They already try to keep the conversation going by asking about the weather and how my day is and what I’m doing for the weekend.

Now, I’m a pretty personable person generally but I’m not calling a customer service line to make a friend, and the likelihood is that I’ll never speak to that person again anyway. I’m happy to be polite, but I really just want my problem solved (as Steve just related on the Citizen Engagement and Customer Service group – July 23rd comment).

What do you think?