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| 2 mins

The Art Of Breaking Through Customer Communication Barriers

customer communication

Taking a look at "le detail qui tue."


30 November 2018, Danielle de La Bastide

Conversations through technology have come a long way, the space contains both personal and professional interactions. When it comes to customer relationships, our approach to communication seems to lack much-needed personalisation. A border can form between customers and agents made of misunderstandings and incorrect data. There are ways through this.

Our CEO Anne de Kerckhove was recently featured in an article by French journalist David Abiker, in it, he comments on Anne’s speaking appearance at a conference they both attended. Her topic of choice focused on breaking down borders, both in business and life.

During the presentation, David and the audience noticed that her zipper hadn’t been done up – what the French and David call “the detail that kills” or “le detail qui tue.” Instead of shying away from the issue, Anne chose to face her faux pas and make it a funny interlude. She addressed the crowd, “Yes I know, I have the zip opened, I broke it in the bathroom, that’s how it is…” Immediately the air in the room changed from awkward silence to joyous relief.

One little zipper distracted the crowd of listeners from a vital discussion but it also proved her point. We can dissolve barriers by acknowledging their presence, it’s an age-old tenet – address the problem before you search for a solution.

Abiker also touched on this messaging in his piece and we can’t help but find a correlation with what we do – breaking borders between customers and brands.

Breaking borders in communication

In customer communication, there are now multiple channels leading to a brand. Often there are too many, causing more chaos than is necessary. We forget that human beings exist behind all the data and that’s a major problem.

“Customers do not care about the extent of your “omni-ness.” They care about the quality of your service,” says Harvard Business Review. 

Improving the quality of service is achieved by listening to customers. It’s easy for service reps to have a disconnected relationship with their clients. Especially when it’s through chat and response time is slow or when agents are located in another country. By humanising the process and using technology to understand customers on a personal level, it’s easier to build a bridge over the gap and get the conversation going.

Much like how Anne bit through awkwardness with transparency, the same process can be applied to customer communication. Wade through the scripted conversations, chatbots and IVR. Walk right up to the elephant in the chat room.

Via: Harvard Business Review, David Abiker.

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