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?

I recently experienced a frustrating interaction with a Customer Service department that was rendered ineffective because it depended on feedback from staff it could not control. My luggage was lost somewhere during a 2 connection flight on 2 different airlines. The worldwide tracking tool was supposed to provide me and the customer service department regular updates on the status of my delayed bag. While the bag did finally show up (damaged) the tracking tool was not updated as it should have been leading to severe anxiety on my part (the customer) and multiple calls to a customer service organization (unproductive use of the call center). There are important lessons to be learned from this failed process.

As businesses evolve, some get stronger and some weaker. It is not usual to see the stronger buy out or merge with the weaker organizations. Often the focus is on the financial aspects of the merger, and keeping customers from both organizations loyal. But all parts of an organization need to work on integration. Customer service is no exception.

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.

When Customers Rate their Vendors

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Customer Satisfaction methods often focus on individual consumers and businesses. Normally the business is bigger, more powerful and employ the language and thinking of slave-owners when dealing with customers. The consumer feels small and may be intimidated. There are cases, however, where there is a more even match between customer and vendor, or where the customer has more power than the vendors. Read how one organization rated their vendors.

Conversocial has released two studies this year, one for the UK and another for the US, showing how well retailers are responding to customers on Social Media: Facebook in particular. According to the US study, Retailers did not respond to 65 percent of complaints and questions on their Facebook pages during a five-day period in September 2011.

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