I spend a lot of time on social platforms. Sometimes it is the quickest way to resolve an issue, sometimes it is the most frustrating way to engage with suppliers who simply bat the problem back at you, to technically resolve yourself… while they sit giving you remote IM instructions.

All fine in today’s world? Well yes, but what about the regular fees we pay for customer service from, for example, our financial institutions, subscription services and others who prefer to engage online? I haven’t seen any reduction in monthly fees to consumers, despite more of us having to do all the hee-haw work ourselves. Banks for example still charge you horrendously high monthly fees, despite you managing your accounts online, receiving statements via email and occasionally picking up a new debit card (which they charge you for).

How does this work for those not ‘connected’ or too old to grasp what ‘please reboot’ means ? The vision of an 85 year old running around wondering in which cupboard she put her screen shot, panicking because she will miss her soapie if she doesn’t find it quickly, is a disturbing thought. You cannot expect this customer-base to suddenly embrace technology while sitting in Pofadder.

Transacting digitally requires specific and expensive software? Perhaps initially, but not long-term surely?

How do you keep those not able to embrace technology in the fold? Encouraging online registration at universities is a fact of life, but what about those in rural areas with intermittent connectivity or nothing at all? Self registration for hospital admittance is a great step forward – unless you are not well enough to complete the process – or you arrive and have to go through it all again because there was a glitch on their system and your details were not captured and you had no idea as you received a ‘all accepted’ notification.

 

The downside for me with social/online platforms is that I end up doing all the donkey work to sort out technical problems while still paying good old high customer fees, while those in the know tap out a few sentences and cheer you on with clapping hand signs and a thumbs up icon. Maybe they can design something like Teamviewer and enter your cyber space and do the job you are paying them to do?

The upside is that you can moan and winge on the provider’s social pages. It often gets their keyboard-a-going, some more so than others.

The power of positive online technology is massive, but you still need people to administer your customer relations accurately, properly and with a tad of humaneness.

Don’t leave the ‘unconnected’ out of your vision.