Over the last decade, we’ve all experienced the increased automation of customer service, from telephone/online banking, to technical support, to checking in or out of hotels. The list is endless. We’ve also seen an increased emphasis on automation tools used in marketing and sales efforts; and the commoditization of products and services, to the point where many companies struggle to differentiate. To the customer, the only difference in Company A and Company B is the brand, or at best a referral. In the short-term, the increased use of technology drives down cost and creates increased efficiencies. But are there longer-term impacts?

From companies that abuse their database to the point where customers stop paying attention to emails or worse still unsubscribe (think “retailers in November”), to companies that try to push so much customer interaction online, that they fail to recognize the emotional needs of their customers, the long-term impacts can be painful and very real.

We often hear of how certain aspects of life come full circle, and at Ideba we’re experiencing that today with multiple clients looking to bring the “human aspect” back to delivering great customer service and more personal interactions with their customers – differentiators in an age of commoditization.

The “art” of great customer service itself is not a commodity. It requires real, meaningful, sustained investment over time; and a commitment from the top. After all, a company’s biggest assets are almost always its people, and that hasn’t fundamentally changed… just been overlooked, perhaps.

If you’re interested in learning more about some of the trends we’re seeing in this regard, please drop me a line at davids@idebamarketing.com  I’d love to hear about your goals and aspirations, and/or any steps taken to use highly personalized customer service as a means of differentiation in an increasingly busy, noisy, commoditized world.

-David Sly, President