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.

How to handle a negative online review

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Here’s an interesting video produced by Reachcast on how to handle customers who have posted a negative review online at sites like Yelp, Google maps, and other review sites.
Three major topics are discussed: 1. The Preparation before your respond, 2. The response itself, 3. Monitor and Follow up after the Response. A fourth step missing from the video is suggested.

Customer testimonials and references are key indicators of customer satisfaction. They have the extra benefit of driving word of mouth advertising. A trend has evolved over the past few years where companies don’t gather the references and distribute them, the customers do. Organizations like Yelp helped strangers share reviews with each other. A more recent trend using sites like Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla allow friends to share where they are visiting, creating a dynamic reference system.

Mobile applications are starting to grow exponentially and allowing users to view complaints or compliments of businesses or products in new ways. Sitckybits allows users to scan a barcode or QR code and attach digital content (like complimentary reviews or complaints) to the code that can be viewed by others who scan the same code. Learn more about Stickybits.

Customers who are unhappy and call for customer service may get inferior service if they don’t use social media. That’s the conclusion of an article in the UK Telegraph. See some real statistics about customer satisfaction and social media.

Have you checked out Google Maps? It is a very convenient service to help you find directions to where ever you are going, including in many locations, a street view of the place you are planning to visit. But there are more features on Google Maps than just finding your way. Did you know customers can leave reviews of sites they visit on Google Maps?

Pownum is a complaint aggregator located in Northhampton, England. They have some interesting twists in their value proposition, that differentiates them from other complaint sites and encourage consumers to enter complaints and reviews on their site as opposed to other complaint aggregators..

Get Satisfaction is a Complaint Aggregator, one of many showing up on the web. Some companies use them as their ‘complaint site’, or monitor the comments, questions and customer service. But other organizations do not know about them nor use them as their official site. 37Signals, a Software organization, recently took Get Satisfaction to task for the lack of transparency. The Get Satisfaction site does not make it ‘evident’ to the user that they may not be on the organization’s official web site.

There seems to be an ever growing list of Complaint Aggregators that capture complaints about your products or services on their sites. Trying to keep up with these ever widening set of sites is a challenge for many organizations and needs to be part of any customer satisfaction and complaint management strategies. Check 11 aggregator sites in this blog post.

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.

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