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Why Is Customer Experience Broken at Most Organizations?

Broken Customer Experience

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Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

I used ChatGPT to write this poem on “Poor customer service and how technology can rectify it.”

Poor customer service, a burden we bear

Frustrating and endless, beyond repair

But wait, what’s this?

A glimmer of hope Technology comes to the rescue, with a scope

Gone are the days of endless waiting on hold

With chatbots and AI, our problems are solved

Quick responses and efficient service, at our fingertips

No more frustration, no more lips

But let’s not forget the human touch

Technology can’t replace the kindness and much

That a real person brings, a smile and a nod

To show we care, and that their problems are solved

So let’s embrace technology, but never forget

The value of human interaction, and the debt

We owe to good customer service, a cornerstone

Of any business, and something to be outpoured

To all our customers, with care and respect

For without them, our business would be neglect.

Source: ChatGPT

This is insane. The ability to replicate speech by AI will significantly impact service roles. However, when you read between the lines of this computer-generated poem, care and attention are missing, just as it misses with customer service experiences.

Let me give you an example. I was trying to book a table at a restaurant for 12 people aged 19 to 75.

Their website and the mobile app had two slots – 7 to 9 pm and 9.30 to 11.30 pm.

We felt that seven was too early and 9.30 was too late.

So, I wanted to check if I can get a table at 8 pm.

So, I called up their reservation number. I was repeatedly given the same response: I will have to choose between these two slots, and we cannot be accommodated by 8 pm.

I explained that this information was available on their website and the mobile app, but I want a different time slot, so I called the reservations number to speak to a human being to sort it out.

The request was refused.

I decided to look for an alternate option. But, people in the group wanted to go to this restaurant specifically.

So, we went there by 8 pm without a reservation. They happily accommodated us at 8 pm.

I don’t understand this at all.

When I pay a premium and have food at your restaurant, how can you decide what time I should eat? Should I not be allowed to eat whenever it pleases me?

This is what I call a broken customer experience.

Why Is the Customer Experience Broken?

It is the process that comes in the way of customer experience. As organizations scale, they put in a process to provide customer experience.

Once you put in the process, you automate them. Once you automate them, it can be done by a computer or a robot.

You lose reality and, in turn, the human touch to the experience.

The restaurant wouldn’t do badly if they lost 10 of us as customers. But, if they lose ten like us every day, then it is a problem. If these ten people share this information with 10 other people each, it is a bigger problem.

Then the broken customer experience will result in a loss of business and eroding brand value. They would be left with little option to fix it. 

Is There a Fix to This?

When you put processes above customer service – it means you are losing your way, mainly if you are in the business of serving customers.

A few tips that you can look at:

  1. Look at organizations like Amazon, Zappos, and Netflix, and you will understand how they use automation to aid their customer experience.
  2. Keep conversing with your customers. Ask them tough questions like, “What did you not like about us?” It would serve you well to know the answer here
  3. Follow through on metrics like how many people abandoned your site on the reservations page. Match it with the kind of requests that your agents at reservations get. Figure out how you can improve. Here again, have conversations with customers who have abandoned to find out more

As organizations grow, it is natural for them to prioritize efficiency over customer experience. While it helps in the short run, it invariably erodes all the goodwill and the brand value you have built in the long run.

Let us get back to providing exceptional customer experiences.

About the Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan


Uthaman believes in the power of creation - it gives him a high to grow something from scratch and make it sustainable. Uthaman is the Executive Vice President and helps set the strategic direction and roadmap for ClearTouch, a pioneering provider of a cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and financial services companies in India.