Archive for April, 2010

Bravo for the US Government Department of Transportation for imposing new passenger protection rules on Airlines with real teeth fines for failing to comply. New rules include the 3 hour Tarmac Rule (US Domestic Flights), provisions for international flights, fines for chronically late or canceled flights, and a requirement to publish the Airline’s complaint process prominently, a requirement to document the Airline’s customer service plan and report back to the DOT after self auditing. Passengers have a way to report non-compliance.

Toyota has issued a recall for its Sienna Minivans from 1998 to 2010. The Sienna’s spare tire is held in place by a cable that could rust and snap. This announcement comes on the heels of another recall of 34,000 SUVs and the payment of a $16.4 Million fine to the US Government. Toyota is a classic case of why customer service organizations cannot be held accountable for customer satisfaction.

Six topics dominated the feedback from a reader survey on the Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management blog. Tied for first place were “Customer Satisfaction Strategy and Implementation” and “Best Practices from Other Organizations’. Read the full list in this article.

How to Handle Complaints: The IBM Way

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

IBM’s Complaint Process begins with the company committed to a common definition of a complaint: any dissatisfaction with a product, or process. This article covers IBM’s complaint and critical situation process, roles and responsibilities and management system. IBM’s complaint and critical situation process continues to be a key factor in maintaining its high levels of customer satisfaction.

Lack of senior management attention and commitment is often the main reason for customer service problems in many organizations. Front line customer service personnel are not inherently lazy, or insensitive. Customer service personnel are put in a position where they are unable to respond to customers the way they would like to, due to policies set by upper management. Failure to resolve realistic customers issues given today’s Web technology is fool hardy. Over and over again customers have shown their ability to embarrass large organizations with on line complaints.

On Tuesday April 13, 2010, Toyota suspended the sales of the GX 460 Lexus after a report from Consumer’s reports called the SUV a safety risk. Another report shows that Toyota routinely engaged in questionable, evasive and deceptive legal tactics when it was sued. One has to wonder what else is being hidden. Toyota is spending millions on advertising and discounts trying to revive its reputation. But these latest new releases are a severe blow to that effort.

Sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out right. There are lessons to be learned, especially from failures. A transit union in Toronto met with the public to address rider dissatisfaction. The union organized the meeting but refused to allow the transit authorities to answer questions from the public. The transit authority was relegated to having their own meeting at some future time. So while the concept of a public forum was a good idea, the execution failed. All parties representing an organization need to work together to resolve customer satisfaction issues.

Yelp, a location sharing service has announced changes to its practices due to customer complaints! This is ironic because Yelp is supposed to gather complaints and compliments from users about local small businesses. Yelp sold advertising on its site to small business owners but some small businesses called the advertising offering extortion. Several class action suits have force Yelp to make some changes to it policies. The article covers the existing ‘user review’ filtering process and the changes in policies caused by local business outrage.

Toyota’s customer satisfaction woes continue to climb. On April 5, 2010, Toyota US may face a $16.4 Million fine for the delay in announcing the recall of Toyota vehicles over accelerator pedal flaws. The US government claims that Toyota was hiding the defect and was slow to report it. This action will also be a warning to other auto manufacturers and manufacturers in general about the seriousness of dealing with customer satisfaction and safety issues.

One of the techniques Toyota has used to try to minimize the customer satisfaction hit they took earlier this year is a new Social Media technique – Digg Dialoggs. Digg Dialoggs allows users of social bookmarking site Digg, to pick leaders they would like interviewed, then recommend questions they would like answered and have the top 10 questions (voted by users) asked of the leader by a Digg Correspondent. The top 10 questions asked of Jim Lentz, President and COO of Toyota US were a big surprise. Digg, Digg Dialoggs, the top 10 questions asked of Toyota US and the video of the interview itself are included in this article.

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