Archive for April, 2012

Customers have been turning to social media to complain about companies on Twitter for a long time. Many businesses monitor Twitter for mentions and respond to irate customers. A new focus on Twitter is customers to complain about how long they have been waiting on ‘hold’ to access customer service. They use the hashtag #onholdwith. And a website, OnHoldWith.com tracks these tweets and reports them.

Customer Effort Score is a customer service measurement created by a the Corporate Executive Board, a firm offering research and advisory services to executives in large and midsized corporations, government, and financial services organizations worldwide. They have written a Harvard Business Review article which you can obtain for free describing this measurement and the study they used to derive it. They contend that this score is a better predictor of customer loyalty than any other customer satisfaction or customer service score.

Most customer satisfaction surveys are made up of more than one question. Using data analysis, it is possible to determine what areas an organization should focus on; what to fix and what to continue doing well. Find the key drivers for customer satisfaction and make them part of your management focus.

Does the name Dave Carroll ring a bell with you? How about the song ‘United Breaks Guitars’? If you have been watching the development of social media, you are, no doubt aware of the situation Dave Carroll, a musician found himself in, with a broken guitar, damaged by United Airlines and a very stubborn airline that refused to budge on compensation. Dave Carroll, wrote a very catchy tune, posted it on Youtube and the song went viral, attracting the attention of CNN. When CNN phoned United Airlines, they had a different response than Dave Carroll was able to obtain on his own. Dave has decided to become a consumer advocate and with partners has created a new site called Gripevine for consumer complaints.

Would you alienate 1% of your customers on purpose? It appears Best Buy and some other retainers have done that with a service that checks ‘frequent returners’. If you happen to be a person who buys and returns purchases, even with a receipt, you can get a black mark on your name that will limit your ability to return or exchange products at retailers for 90 days.

The Consumerist, an online resource for consumers to learn and report about their issues, recently exposed a situation at a Ford Dealership where a customer was advised that if he didn’t rate the service he received as satisfied, the personnel at the dealership would be financially impacted. In addition, there was an implied threat that the customer would no longer be able to get good service for his car at that dealership in the future, if a bad score was given as they would know about his complaint.

7 Techniques to Understand Your Customers

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

A prior blog post called Customer Satisfaction Tip: Understand Your Customer reviewed why it was important to understand your customer and what it really meant to understand. Three company examples were included, IBM, Cisco and Apple. This post covers seven techniques and best practices to understand your customers, theirs needs, wants, wishes, complaints, concerns, and the terminology they use.

Customers buy your product or service with the expectation that it will solve a problem they have. If you don’t understand your customer, you may miss the problem they are really trying to solve. If you cannot understand why your customer has acquired your product or service, you may talk to them in an unfamiliar language. You may not understand their problem. And you may make policy decisions that are inappropriate for the market you serve. You may service your product incorrectly. You may sell to the wrong audience with expectations you don’t satisfy. The effect of these misunderstandings or poor policies or service will be customer dissatisfaction, negative word of mouth and loss of brand image, resulting in lower sales.

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