Customer experience technology is worthless without common sense

customer experience
Image credit: wavebreakmedia /

Worldwide spending on customer experience technology will be over half a trillion dollars this year, according to IDC. This will increase to $641 billion in 2022.

Although this should be good news – and it certainly will be for the suppliers of said customer experience technology – fundamental problems remain.

You can spend all you like on technology but if you leave out common sense and gold old fashioned manners, the investment will most likely be wasted.

As an example, brands need to understand that customers do not read terms and conditions. Online, we know that the biggest lie is ‘I have read and agree’ – teams of lawyers have tried and failed. We know that if we do not agree we cannot have the service. If we agree to a heap of unknown terms and conditions, we can continue.

A real estate agent who dealt in lettings inserted this into page two of the standard contract (bearing in mind this is about having a roof over your head) ‘if you read this, please call this number and we will send you a bottle of Scotch whisky’.

12 years on, no-one had called.

A recent example of this – someone calling a satellite TV company to see why they were paying too money and discovering they were paying for children’s channels when they didn’t have any:

“So my monthly subscription goes down to $52”?

“That is right but you will have a charge of $83 for next month”.

“Why? I just altered my subscription”.

“Yes, but we have to have a month’s notice period. So, we will charge you the extra month”.

“I see – and I bet that you turn the service off immediately, yes?”

“Yes, it should be turned off in the next few hours”.

“But that is illegal. There is a notice period of a month. You should supply services for that month, even though I don’t want to watch children’s TV”.

“That is company policy”.

“Well, your company policy is illegal”.

“I am afraid I cannot change company policy”.

“Let me ask you this. If you were renting an apartment and gave 30 days’ notice, and you got home tonight to find the locks had been changed you would be quite angry, yes?”

“I am afraid it is company policy. If you wish to make a formal complaint…”

“Actually I have better things to do with my time. By the way, I found a number for your company, which turned out it was for ‘sales and new customers’. It was answered on the second ring. I was transferred to another number, which took 10 minutes to be answered”.

“I am sorry, I cannot…..”

“I am sorry but this call is no longer important to me”.

Technology can make things faster and cheaper but it cannot make them better by itself. If companies are serious about customer experience and judging by the press releases and the billions of investment they are, then they have to align it with customer expectations – not their own.

1 Comment

  1. @alex, you must be kidding!
    Customer Experience Management is not about providing a better Customer Experience, it’s simply a set of methods to increase wallet share (retention, up-sell & cross-sell). This became obvious to me when the @TMF first started focusing on it! It really hit home when a Certain Professor suggested that “CEM is the careful alignment of expectations and service, where giving more than what is required (more than the competition) is wasteful”! Consider this, My Mobile Operator charges me a fee to pay my bill if I need to speak to an agent to do it.
    It seems to me, Telcos are moving in the direction of Airlines who have learnt they make more money charging customers to decrease their discomfort than providing a decent experience!

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