The Temkin Group has released a free ebook called The 6 Laws of Customer Experience which is an excellent read.

When it comes down to it, the most effective tool any client service representative has in his or her arsenal is an apology. We live in a culture of finger pointing and excuses that make a simple “I am so sorry” a refreshing and genuine way to conduct business. But what happens when the problem is not our fault?

A new study called The State of Social Customer Service 2012 was recently released by NM Incite, a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey & Company. It highlights the importance of organizations providing social media users with prompt customer service through the social media the customers prefer to use, mostly Facebook and Twitter.

Front line staff know what customers want. If your front line staff are turning away customers by the hundreds or thousands because you don’t stock certain ‘in demand’ items at Christmas, you will not only lose sales but also good will and loyalty.

Customer satisfaction cannot be bottoms up driven. While excellent work can be done by customer facing personnel such as customer service call centers, or customer support personnel, sales teams and business partners, if the senior executive team do not have a commitment to customer satisfaction, the results will be sub optimal. And the front line employees will become increasingly frustrated with the lack of support for customer problems. Many employees are not included in senior executive meetings and strategy sessions so they cannot know for sure how their executives weigh in on customer satisfaction commitment but there are tell tale signs they can read that tell the story.

In a prior blog post titled How to Understand Your Customers Better using Focus Groups, I reviewed the reasons for an organization to want to run a focus group and what the elements were of customer satisfaction research using this technique. This article reviews the preparation steps to run a successful focus group.

Mistakes that Make you Look Dumb

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Customer Satisfaction is often measured between an organization and its direct customers. But sometimes the situations that are the most embarrassing are those that involve other organizations, yours and a customer. When there is a system or process that is supposed to work using outside firms and there is a failure, both organizations look dumb. Sometimes a third party needs to get involved to embarrass the organizations to work together. Two examples are covered.

Many organizations use satisfaction surveys to keep a pulse on their customers. The objective is to be able to create a numerical measurement with some statistical validation. Surveys have their place but there is another form of customer satisfaction data that is purely qualitative, that is, opened ended, dynamic and flexible. It provides for a greater depth of understanding of your customers, and provides the language the customers use when discussing your products or services. One technique to gather this data is called a focus group.

Live Chat is an optional offering for customer service organizations. According to a recent study in Business News Daily, Live Chat for Online Shoppers Comes of Age, one in five shoppers actually prefer live chat over other methods of communication. It is estimated that over 75% of on line shoppers will have participated in an online chat with a retailer by next year. This post covers 12 Best Practices when offering Chat customer service.

Every company, government agency and not for profit organization needs to consider how it will respond to social media and complaints. Some mentions will be positive and some will be negative. Policies or instructions needs to be documented for the front line staff that will be responding to these postings. While this used to be the responsibility of the public relations departments in the past, social media, blogs, and complaint sites have made this task grow exponentially and with it the need to engage a broader group of employees as responders.

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