When I was a kid, I spent many hot and muggy Georgia summer days working at my family’s print shop. “Working” might be a slight exaggeration, since my Dad gave me just enough busywork to try and keep me out of trouble (a lofty goal). I ended up learning a lot though, and not just about the mesmerizing Heidelberg printing presses and Adobe Illustrator. When I wasn’t collating, laminating or pestering the pressmen, I was watching my Dad interact with his customers. In an era where Desktop Publishing was quickly becoming cheaper and easier, I marveled at how he always had a steady stream of customers coming in the door. Over time, I saw how his insistence on strict quality control, person-to-person service and involving the customer during planning and design, led not just to a beautiful finished product but also to a uniquely gratifying experience for the customer. An important distinction here is that he didn’t just offer his expertise and advice during a consultation, rather he took the time to listen to the customer’s voice; what the project’s purpose was and how it was supposed to resonate with the target audience. Not surprisingly, most of my father’s new business came via satisfied referrals.
As luck would have it, my time at the print shop helped prepare me for a career in customer service. Early on, one of my mentors at FocusVision made it clear that “The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts”. I took this to mean that FocusVision isn’t in the business of simply selling a product but is in fact in the business of providing a meaningful experience. While FocusVision is known as a technological pioneer in our industry, an innovative product alone simply isn’t enough to merit customer loyalty. As consumers, we’re all keenly aware of the importance of this truth. Case in point – would you go back to a restaurant that serves great food if the service stinks? Why bother having a talented chef prepare tasty dishes if the wait staff can’t serve them up while they’re hot? Every part is crucial to the whole experience.
Fundamentally, market research is all about experience; the collective thoughts, feelings, and actions of people. That’s why my mission at FocusVision is all about empowering supportive, empathetic and knowledgeable people to offer custom-tailored solutions that match our customers’ needs. One truth I’ve learned during my time in market research is that every project is unique, and a cookie-cutter approach will lead to compromised results and flawed data. Is it a challenge to provide a bespoke and personal service experience? Absolutely. At the end of the day, however, it’s infinitely more rewarding knowing that your actions made the difference between a transaction and an experience. Just ask any member of our team or any number of our clients. We don’t always get it right but we strive for this every day.
There’s a growing trend in the business world today that is overleveraging tech such as AI Chatbots and ‘intelligent’ phone IVR routing, supposedly to provide lower-cost and more efficient service. While these tools have value when leveraged correctly in certain use cases, there is a growing backlash in both B2C and B2B, with frustrated users asking: “where’s the humanity?!”. In my next entry, I’ll be discussing how you can incorporate these technologies alongside your human beings to realize efficiency gains while avoiding a hit to your service reputation.