People want the human touch, it’s a key component in building the trust businesses need in order to create loyalty. We know from the work of psychologists that the first thing people look for in trusting others is whether intentions are good or evil, selfless or selfish. Only when our brains are satisfied with the intentions of the other person do we look at their ability to get things done or not.
Imagine it is late-summer and you are meeting one of your kid’s teachers for the new school year. Early on you begin to recognize that they are not very friendly and only speak about themselves and the goals they have for their career. Then, the more they go on, it becomes apparent that they have little experience and don’t sound very equipped for teaching the subject. Would you trust them – with your child? Would their self-absorption leave a bitter taste in your mouth? Would their seeming lack of experience and expertise leave you wanting? I think most of us would be headed down to the principal’s office to seek another teacher.
You see, we do this with people at almost every turn, in fact, we do it just about any time trust comes into question, including with organizations. And I find it ironic that so many businesses, perhaps unaware of this fundamental human practice, are actually doing things to minimize what may be the most important part of this sizing-up process. Just the simple fact that my first interaction with your organization might be a machine with some sort of interactive voice response software gives me a negative jolt. It gives me a subtle thought that your business is more interested in efficiency and saving money than it is in really helping me. If I have to push more than a couple of buttons before getting to a human, my level of trust and goodwill begins to diminish significantly.
Here’s the bottom line, humans need humans. So much of trust building is based on what we read by seeing and hearing people, actual living people. With machines, there is nothing to read except for some things that I would venture to say are not so good like, “they don’t care about their customers,” “this is a pain, I want a person,” or “I have questions and just want answers, can’t I just do that without all of this hassle?” Wouldn’t it be better and so much more welcoming and trust-building to have a human say, “Good morning, how can I help you?”
If your business relies on push-button receptionists that require a map and the patience of a monk, think again. Customers want kindness and help. They want to know that you are there for them not you. And then they want assurance that you can get the job done. Push a couple of buttons okay, but get me to a human who can assure me that you want the best for me and can understand the gray areas of being human that no machine can. This builds trust, this builds the potential for loyalty, and that loyalty is what builds long-term success.
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