Every customer has an economic value. Customers provide repeat business and cash flow. They are your best prospects for additional product and services and they can provide you with positive references and referrals, which lowers the cost of acquiring new customers. So the loss of a customer is serious. Here are some techniques to get customers back.

Customer service representatives, complaint managers and senior executives are often confronted by irate customers. When the interaction is in person or over the phone, there are techniques to calm the customer and get to the heart of the matter. Here are 7 steps I used at IBM when I handled critical customer complaints.

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..

Seth Godin, author of many books on marketing, spoke at a conference a few years ago on the topic of ‘Why are So Many Things Broken” and the 20 minute video is worth watching to remind ourselves of why we must be vigilant as customer satisfaction advocates to the customer’s view. Always look at the products and processes from the customer’s perspective. In his video, Seth talks about the 7 kinds of ‘broken’ with many humorous examples.

Toyota is working hard to on reputation management, trying to appease customers and restore customer satisfaction and loyalty. Despite this effort multiple law suits and class action suits have been launched against Toyota. There is a perception that the current fix being implemented is not the real solution, that there are lingering problem with the acceleration system (computer, electronic and mechanical), and the lack of a brake-to-idle failsafe, which brings the engine to idle when both the throttle is in the open position and the break pedal is depressed. There is also concern that Toyota failed to exercise its duty of warn’ customers of a defect in a timely manner. Toyota is the middle of a major reputation management nightmare.

Coca- Cola is launching new Social Media Guidelines which include how to handle situations dealing with customer satisfaction issues. In addition to guidelines, they have create two types of associates: those who will represent Coca-Cola on Social Media (spokespeople) and those who will add their eyes and ears to ensure management are aware of the sentiment surrounding the Coke Brand.

Social Media Monitoring and Sentiment Analysis

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Customer Satisfaction and public relationships departments are increasingly becoming aware of the need to monitor Social Media surrounding their brands, products, services, company name and key personnel. Failure to react appropriately to public sentiment turned bad using these tools can be disastrous for a brand or a product. How to do that work in today’s world of Social Media, complaint sites, Sidewiki and blogs, is a challenge. Some trends and tools and services are starting to emerge.

Seth Godin’s 2007 post called Starting Over with Customer Service still rings true on the reasons for customer dissatisfaction with service but his proposal of how to start over is oversimplified.

David Carroll, a Canadian singer was flying from Halifax to Nebraska with a stop over in Chicago where he and other passengers watched in horror as United Airlines damaged his guitar. United was unresponsive after many attempts so he wrote a song, put it on Youtube. After 150,000 views, it was picked up by CNN and his song has been viewed by over 6 Million viewers on Youtube. United responded! In the meantime, United Airlines lost $120 Million of market capitalization.

On Nov 18, 2009, USA Today published an interesting article called Social Media like Twitter Change Customer Service. Customer Service is evolving due to increased expectations of customers. Customer service is being augmented using Twitter and other communication vehicles such as Youtube and Facebook. Over 50% of the Fortune 100 are using Twitter for customer service, recruiting and marketing.

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