Innovation unearthed: Dispatches, dialogues, and deviations from the front lines of innovation.

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Small businesses are close to customers and colleagues are close to each other. But big businesses with mega-sized call centres and thousand-strong service teams too often lose the human touch. They become connected by rules rather than relationships or a love of our product. With technology generating more self-service options (think supermarket self-checkouts) and customers seeking to self-serve (think WebMD) the slide towards dehumanisation in big business seems inevitable.
Yet as customers, we all yearn for brands that ‘get us’. So how do you reconcile scale and being human?

1) Don’t chase Wow!

Businesses who deliver ‘Wow!’ moments are generally held up as the icons of customer service. Stories of brands surprising and delighting customers are very seductive. And at face value it’s logical — over-deliver and you’ll have a customer for life.
But most customers are not as interested in us (as brand owners) as we are in them. They simply want us to do what we say we’ll do. John Lewis and Amazon get the basics right time and time again and don’t give customers a reason to reassess their loyalty. It’s a bit like a marriage — we don’t want to keep questioning our relationship unless our partner really gives us cause to reconsider!

2) Recognise The New Basics

The basic rule of minimising hand-offs has not changed, but the digital...

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