I have always been interested in the psychology of group behaviour. Why do groups of people behave differently to individuals? This is something that’s very important in our business – working to represent brands to to public by managing their customer service centres.
And it is becoming more important today because behaviour that used to be individual – calling to complain or ask a question – is becoming more open and transparent. Any complaint made on a social network has the potential to be copied and broadcast by large groups of people instantaneously.
This has led to an increase in snap decisions about service quality. If a group of friends see that you have provided fantastic service then they will very quickly tell a lot of people. Conversely they will also very quickly tell a large group about your poor service – often before the person who originally complained has had a chance to deal with the brand directly.
I can see how the advertising world has started adjusting to this world of the instant decision. The 30-second TV advert now feels extraordinarily long to the generation watching YouTube for fun. YouTube ads are on screen for 5 seconds before the viewer can click to bypass the ad, which is leading many advertisers to throw everything they have into the first five seconds of a commercial – just so the viewer will keep watching.
Customers are really changing fast. They want immediate information about products, they want immediate service when they have questions, and they can tell their network immediately about your poor (or good) service. This is all a far cry from the days when customer service meant a small team of people answering the phone – this is now managing crowds in real-time.
Photo by Anirudh Koul licensed under Creative Commons