The importance of human interaction

‘I believe that the abominable deterioration of ethical standards stems primarily from the mechanisation and depersonalisation of our lives – a disastrous by-product of science and technology. Nostra culpa! Albert Einstein 1946

An interesting quotation particularly with the increasing availability and capability of technology over the years and our significant dependence on it today. From both a corporate business and social perspective, the world is certainly different from 30 years ago when JCT600 Vehicle Leasing Solutions started.

People are to some extent ‘always switched on’ and omnipresent technology enables a constant environment of change where it is easy to lose sight of both personal and business direction. For many, the barriers between home and work are close to being totally eliminated.

According to research by Echo Managed Services, the three most valued attributes of good customer service advisers are:
• a prompt response
• an ability to answer questions (and make sure the answers are understood)
• being polite and respectful

Further survey findings highlight that despite the wide variety of channels open to customers, direct human contact is still the most favoured with 53% of people preferring to deal with service providers either face to face or over the phone.

To ensure a business can thrive in today’s technological world, a culture must be established which demonstrates that the heart and soul of the business is its people. A balance must be sought between the investment and use of technology to improve services and grow a business, versus the ethical and empathetic investment required to provide a positive, engaging and rewarding environment for its people to thrive.

According to the Institute of Customer Service; organisations that are leading the way for customer experience will offer the most compelling blend of automation and human interaction.

Employers need to consider when a functional experience might evolve into one that requires empathy and advice, to what extent these qualities can be projected through technology, and when human intervention needs to be activated. For employees, the opportunity is to demonstrate higher value skills of empathy, emotional intelligence, proactive advice and genuine understanding of customer needs.

Lindsay Francis, Customer Service Director at JCT600 VLS, said: “Put simply – empathy matters. It runs deep within our culture and flows naturally out to our customers. We think about our words and actions during interaction with customers which automatically and subconsciously ensures they know we truly care.”

Customers and colleagues alike crave ‘real’ experiences and by delivering a personal human interaction it shows respect, builds and fosters relationships and removes the typically faceless unemotional ‘loneliness’ which consistent interaction with technology and automation can bring.

Lindsay continues, “Having a dedicated, knowledgeable Account Management Team with no voicemail, call queuing or being passed from pillar to post enables us to deliver on the three attributes outlined in the research by Echo Managed Services. Regular contact, be that over the phone or in person, is key to how we forge and maintain our relationships.”