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Switching Channels

Lesson 10 from: Effective Communication in the Remote Era

Ari Meisel

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Lesson Info

10. Switching Channels

How you may be ruining your customer experience by asking your customers to bounce around between different channels.

Lesson Info

Switching Channels

So, transitioning from sort of customer journey back to asynchronous communication, which is really where this all stems from. With asynchronous communication, a lot of it is really meeting people where they're at, and in that way, getting more effective communication. One of the things that we often see in poor customer service experiences is the idea of switching channels as it were, right? Switching mediums. So, this just happened to me yesterday. I was working on something and I needed to contact customer service for this big box company. And I went to the website and there were two buttons on the customer service that said, call us or text us. And I was like, "Text us? Amazing. That's great. I don't have to wait on hold or anything like that." So, I hit the text us button and it starts the conversation in my SMS app on the iPhone. And the person or the machine asked me what I need. I said, "I needed help with this thing." And it said, "Okay, we're getting an agent online. It shoul...

d be about three minutes." I was like, "Great." Put my phone down, I went back to doing something else. I didn't stare at my phone. A little while later I came back to my phone and the message was, "Hey, thanks for contacting us. Please call this phone number and speak to our commercial department." Totally ruined it. I was so excited to be able to text and communicate asynchronously. And now, they're asking me to do the thing that nobody wants to do, which is to call and wait on hold. It wouldn't have been as bad if I had just called them from the beginning. It still might have been annoying. I don't wanna wait on hold, but I'm already sort of invested in that idea. But now they said, "Here, you can text." And then they're asking me to switch back to phone. It's the same thing if you email customer service and they ask you to call. Or nowadays, a lot of times what we see is if you call customer service and it says, "Due to the pandemic and staffing shortages and high volume, you're better off going to our website and filling out this form." What if I'm out walking my dog and I'm ready to make that phone call and be on hold? I don't wanna now have to go to the website and make a change. So, that switching of channels? Not only is the switching itself very frustrating, but again, what you're doing is you're not meeting people where they're at. You're not receiving the communication in the way that they're delivering it. Can you imagine if somebody came into your retail location to return something and you said, "I'm sorry, please go home, package it up and send it by UPS to return it." Wouldn't work. It's the same idea. And what this leads me to is asynchronous for everything, right? So, we wanna make everything as asynchronous as possible. In that example of the big box store, texting would've been asynchronous. They would've been allowing me to not wait on hold, to not be on their terms, to get things done on my terms. We need to see more of that. If you take nothing else away from these lessons, please make as much of your communication as asynchronous as possible. And again, this is how I operate as a coach. Something that when I initially suggested the concept, people thought I was nuts. Because who had ever heard of a coaching session where you weren't sitting face to face with somebody or on Zoom and going back and forth, and talking it out? Now, I initially switched over to using Voxer as a way of being more convenient for me, because I didn't wanna be on a schedule that wasn't my own. But what I quickly found was it actually became the most effective form of coaching and thereby communication I'd ever experienced. Because again, in the coaching example, the old model was every week, Wednesday at one o'clock we have our meeting for an hour to go over whatever we need to go over. Now, let's say it's Friday. And this person gets in an argument with their partner. They yell at an employee because of it, and they don't get any of their work done because they're so frustrated. Does it make more sense for them to go through the weekend, hold onto that rage or maybe let it dissipate, and get to Wednesday for the hour carved out of both of our days to get the three-minute answer that they need? Or is it better for them to walk outta that first argument, unload on a Voxer message to me, have me get back to them maybe two hours, maybe four hours later where I have the chance to digest, think about it, and give them that 92nd answer that they actually need so they can continue about their day, not ruin the weekend and still remain effective. So, now they're no longer catching up. They're just getting back on track. That is the power of asynchronous communication. And people will resist because it's different. It's new and they're not used to it. But please push. Really see if you can make as much of your communication as asynchronous as possible because the benefits are immeasurable.

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Ahmed Mostafa

I gained a clear understanding of the distinctions between synchronous and asynchronous communication techniques, as well as the best tools to use for each.

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