Wistia is a pretty cool paid video hosting service that I discovered awhile back. I decided to do a free trial with them tonight, and got this message about 30 minutes after signing up:
No automated “Welcome to Wistia!” emails for me to instantly delete. Just a quick message from a real person. And the kind gesture of giving out his cell phone number in case I have any problems seals the deal. I’m not going to call that number (why would I?), but the fact that he gave it to me establishes a greater sense of trust in the service itself. And yes, I know he copies and pastes that to everyone who signs up. I don’t care. It still works because it’s unique.
Of course, this is a very mild example of injecting the human element into customer service. Video hosting is not exactly something where people need constant reassurance that support is readily available. But there are great opportunities for other industries where this concept, taken to a higher level, would be much more effective.
For instance, let’s say you’re uninsured and need open heart surgery. You can’t afford the procedure in the U.S., so you’re thinking about getting treatment overseas. This is extremely scary for you and feels incredibly risky, even after you do extensive research on the best doctors and hospitals in various countries. But then one of your potential overseas doctors emails you, proposing a video conference call (instead of a phone call) to discuss the procedure and go over any questions you might have. You decide to do the video call, and get to talk with your doctor face-to-face. You hear his voice, see his smile, and you grow to trust him. He’s no longer a set of credentials on a website — he’s a real person who’s going to take good care of you. Done deal.
Any customer that feels a large degree of uncertainty wants to be convinced that, if things go wrong, they’ll be in good hands. They want to know that real people care about them, not just some hired worker who’s being paid $7/hour to read a script. So erase their doubts and show them your face.