We won't deny it - our clients look better on the web. So - a key question: are we enabling them to have an unfair advantage?
Our answer is a resounding 'NO', and here we explain why...
Customer service (and its offspring CRM) is not new. Businesses have been seeking better ways to engage with customers since the beginning of time, for their own benefit and for the benefit of their customers.
It started with simple face-to-face interaction: "Can I help you with anything else?" which let to more formal 'customer surveys', in-store questionnaires, focus groups and so on...
Then came the web. And more specifically 'Web 2.0' (an overused term which simply meant that the web had evolved into a two-way discussion). For the first time customers had a mechanism to communicate, not just with a business and their immediate friends and acquaintances, but with anyone and everyone.
Hot on the heels of Web 2 came review sites. And these were a new animal for businesses: for the first time customers could post opinions to be seen by potential customers - all potential customers who had access to the web, with anonymity.
This led forward-thinking businesses to ask themselves how they could reclaim the conversation with their customers, which, until then, had been personal and (in relative terms) private.
Dialogue, as our clients know, is a big part of the answer. It enables businesses to have a private conversation with their customers, which includes managing issues that might otherwise have been posted on these review sites and lead to reputational harm. So - back to the central question we posed at the beginning of this post: 'unfair advantage?'
It's only 'unfair' if you take the view that businesses shouldn't be able to communicate with their customers in private. A HelpHound client using Dialogue will be able to resolve consumer issues in private where one of their competitors without Dialogue might have to manage the same (or similar) issue in public. It's the business's choice.
The fact that Dialogue enables businesses to resolve issues which might otherwise harm their reputations if aired in public helps the business and the consumer - both benefit; the business resolves the issue (and retains custom) and is alerted to potential flaws in service delivery, and the customer gets the issue resolved.
It might reasonably be claimed that a business that uses Dialogue is, by definition, a business that takes customer service more seriously, and therefore deserves to benefit - deserves a better reputation.
So - Dialogue doesn't give our clients an unfair advantage any more than any other sophisticated CRM tool would - it just happens to be very effective, and that's something we are proud of!