Amazon is changing our expectations for customer service and communication. Each time you make an order, you expect three notifications.

  1. Confirmation your order was received.
  2. Shipping confirmation when your order leaves the warehouse.
  3. Delivery notification, sometimes accompanied by a photo of the package sitting on your porch.

Importantly, the entire notification system is automated.

Good communicators have the chance to secure a foothold of competitive advantage. This hit home to me last year when I took my car in for service at a new shop. I was impressed when I received automated messages via text updating me on my car’s progress through the shop. It got me thinking about how sometimes the simplest communications are immensely valuable to our customers. All of us should consider what types of basic communication could be automated to enhance customer experience.

One side benefit of implementing this type of automated customer service is that it cuts down dramatically on the number of labor hours spent on the phones answering customer inquiries. For example, a simple notification saying my car was now entering the shop relieved the temptation to call asking for updates on my car’s progress or inquiring on a time estimate for completing the work. Compare that to an earlier experience when my car sat in the shop a full day longer than the original estimate. I received no notification on the progress or of the delay. At the time, I didn’t necessarily consider it bad service. But now that I’ve experienced good communication there’s no way I’ll go back to the old shop.

-Eric Smith