The Increasing Value of Human Communication in an Automated World
When I go to the grocery store, I always opt for the automatic checkout... unless I have an item that's a little more complicated and requires more personal interaction. When I call customer service, I'm happy to speak to an automated answering service... unless I have a question that doesn't easily fit in categories 1, 2, or 3.
I appreciate automation. I really do. There are some days that I just don't feel like making small talk with store clerks or trying to understand people on the phone. Yes, I am anti-social sometimes. I'm an Introvert with a capital "I".
Still, I'm not always avoiding human contact. And sometimes I just need help with my purchasing decisions. As many times as I try to weigh my produce on the automatic checkout, it will sometimes mess up. I need someone (anyone) who knows more than me about this particular problem to help solve the problem.
Danger of Losing Communication Skills
Just this week I had a conversation with someone about the way that technology disrupts our lives with all our notifications, and the concern came up that we would lose our ability to communicate with one another clearly. With innovations like Google Glass, the various smart watches that are coming out, and all of the cool stuff we don't know about yet, perhaps it is possible that we'll forget the ability.
We'll certainly have a tougher time of it.
Yet the people who can communicate clearly, who can fight through all the noise, will be all the more successful.
Zappos has carved out their space in online sales for shoes, clothes, and accessories by providing exceptional customer service. There aren't any limits on the time a customer service rep is supposed to spend on the phone with the customer. These company representatives have the authority to fix the problem that the customer called about.
That's clear communication, and people are willing to pay for it.
New Orleans Takes Food Seriously
In southern Louisiana, food is a very serious matter. We have some fantastic restaurants down here, and families protect the secret of their spices like they were national security records.
When you go to a fast food restaurant here - like anywhere else, you get the minimal. You get the food. Your order may or may not be correct. Your food may or may not taste adequate.
Those mid-range restaurants are a gamble. They may be good. They may have good service. They may be worth recommending.
And then you have those restaurants in the French Quarter that have been there for decades. These restaurants get it right. Nobody's perfect, but these restaurants do everything they can to excel at what they do. The food is amazing. The service is attentive, and you will be talking about the quality of the experience (not just the food, the experience) when you're finished. It's not cheap, but it's very enjoyable.
Communication and Food
This is where we're headed with communication skills. You can be the fast food joints of the world. They're fast (usually) and convenient, and they'll do when you need them to. Although, they're not particularly good for you, and you wouldn't want to go there all the time to take care of your needs.
Or, you can be one of those classy joints. You can be the one that over-delivers. The one that delights people.
People will give more worth to the over-deliverers (is that a word? Maybe not the best time to try new words in a post about clear communication, but I think you get my point.)
What About You?
Who stands out to you as an amazing communicator?