Customer Service is a delicate balancing act, especially if the client is clearly unhappy. There are 3 types of generic problems customer service personnel face. Two important outcomes of a service call should be to resolve customer problems (if possible) and ensure the customer’s emotional well being is preserved.
Archive for May, 2011
Seth Godin recently wrote a blog post on What (People) Want, where people could be defined as customers, users, neighbors, friends, etc. He describes five simple ideas that motivate and drive most of us. This blog post looks at whether these 5 elements also define what customers want.
There are organizations, such as JD Power that rate customer satisfaction and service for various industries and there are crowd sourcing sites such as Epinions and Yelp where users provide the ratings. STELLAService is an independent company that rates customer service for eStores in the US and provides offers ‘web based badges’ or ‘seals of approval’ for quality customer service. They claim to have the most robust evaluation methodology assembled.
Word of mouth has always been known to be the most effective mode of promotion for your product or service (positive or negative). We know that web techniques have changed the equation of how fast word of mouth can travel, from friends and family to going viral on the internet. Here’s an interesting video from American Businessman, Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush It, Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion and The Thank You Economy, that talks about the changes in marketing, customer satisfaction and advertising.
Difficult customers, both internal and external, are a part of everyday business, and finesse must be used when managing their concerns without further damaging or losing the project. Although many outcomes will often depend on the scope and size of the problem, there are a few key tenets applicable to every situation that will help you and your client come to an amicable resolution.
Many organizations plan conversions or modifications that affect them internally and may make changes relevant to their customers. It should be obvious. When an organization makes a change that affects customers, the business should communicate with them about it. Be sure when creating a plan to modify some aspect of your organization, that you consider the customer’s perspective. Planning how the customer perceives the change will impact customer satisfaction with your products and services.
A recent survey by Unica, an IBM subsidiary called the State of Marketing 2011 – Unica’s Annual Survey of Marketers highlights the challenges marketers face in this rapidly changing business environment. Interactive Marketing is changing the methods of communicating with customers; it is ‘the meaningful alternative to imposing messages on customers that they no longer want to hear.’ Three types of media marketers need to be aware of include Earned Content, such as reviews, testimonials and references, all customer satisfaction elements. Customer satisfaction strategy needs to change to accommodate the new channels.
Foursquare is an interesting technology as it provides an organization a way to get users to promote your business to their friends and ultimately providing the benefits of testimonials and references AND it has a built in loyalty program. As a by product of its specials and its social media communication, Foursquare enhances word of mouth endorsement It is also a technique to entice prospects who are located nearby to come to your organization, through offering them specials on their mobile phones.
Sony and Apple have been hit with customer dissatisfaction recently: Apple for it location based data being stored on iPhones and iPads and Sony for its Playstation Network Data Breach. In each case, while the company responded to user concerns, they did so late, later than customers expected. During crisis situations, responsiveness is key to maintaining customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.