Blog

hello
Are Your Customers Tweeting About You?

While doing a little test on what customers are saying live on Twitter regarding customer service, I noticed that while a multitude of complaints were “Tweeted”, they were very few responses from the company in question. Some of these companies are household names! It was as if all of the negative comments were visible for all to see, yet no one within the organizations were even aware of the remarks. Imagine the damage being done to the brands of these organizations by not responding live to start a conversation to address the concern.

It’s important to know and respond to what your customer is “Tweeting” about your organization. I would think it’s important for prospective customers to see that someone within your organization is on top of the complaints and is seeking to engage with the complainant. Imagine the points “scored” by your organization in the eyes of current and prospective customers when they see that you’re on top of the situation. Ready and responsive! Those are two key words regarding customer complaints. Be ready and available for customer complaints and then respond quickly when one is received. Just as the complainant has placed an issue with your organization in front of Twitter nation, respond in front of Twitter nation by inviting the complainant to contact your organization directly (provide the appropriate contact info) for a resolution. I have seen complainants “Tweet” about how happy they were that their issue was addressed and resolved.

Some organizations may feel that it’s not necessary to monitor Twitter for customer service related issues. I say think again! If the average person utilizing Twitter has let’s say 400 followers and perhaps 20% of those followers actually see the posted complaint, that’s 80 people. Now if these 80 people retweet the complaint to their 400 followers and again 20% see the retweet, that’s 80 more people who are now aware of a customer complaint against your organization. This can quickly get out of hand. By responding live to the issue, these same people may be made aware of your organization’s attempt to resolve the issue.

Believe it or not, customers still love to talk about their experiences. Social media provides an additional avenue for them to utilize to express both their satisfaction and dissatisfaction with your product or service. Just as you would respond to a customer’s face to face or over the phone complaint, develop a strategy for monitoring and responding to Twitter complaints. Your brand is at stake!

0

read more
hello
I Just Wanted To Renew My Vehicle Registration!

Recently I visited a large well-known grocery store near my home to renew my vehicle registration. A simple transaction – or so I thought. After receiving the customary “Next in line please.” summons, I advised the young lady of my reason for being there. Before she even asked, I gave her the information required to complete the transaction. She looked over my information and asked a question that I had trouble understanding because she was looking down at the paperwork instead of looking at me.  I said “Excuse me, I didn’t understand what you just said.” She repeated what she said still without making eye contact to which I responded – “I’m up here, I’m having trouble understanding what you’re saying because you’re talking to the paperwork.” She then raised her head and repeated her question – this time with an offensive tone – “Cash, credit or debit card?”  I advised her that this would be a debit transaction – no response from her. She stepped away, retrieved the registration sticker and stated “Go ahead and make your payment.” After doing so, she slapped the registration sticker and my verification documents on the counter. She then turned to walk away. I said “Excuse me, you’re welcome.” I repeated my statement as she continued to walk away. You can guess what happened next – I asked the other clerk if she could get the manager.

It’s important to maintain eye contact during face to face transactions. This is a basic human interaction principle as it’s  important to make sure the other party feels valued as a person. In this case, making eye contact with your customer also makes it easier to be understood. Make sure that the customer receives a pleasant experience, especially during face to face contact, by self monitoring your actions.  Making eye contact, using the correct voice tone and maintaining the proper body language can go a long in scoring points with your customer. By the way, on my way out of the store, the clerk and I crossed paths. She gave me this sullen look and I gave her my Secret Service stare.

0

read more
hello
“We Only Update The Website Once A Month!”

I received this customer service story from a member of a local organization here in Houston, Tx . This member volunteers as a liaison between new members and the organization. She received a phone call from a new member regarding the location for an organizational committee meeting. It appears that the new member was at the wrong location. The liaison member conferenced the new member to the organization’s phone number in an attempt to get the correct meeting location. When the new member advised the organization’s receptionist of her dilemma, the receptionist asked “Where did you get that information?”. The new member advised the receptionist that the information was retrieved from the organization’s website. The receptionist then asked “When did you get the information?” to which the new member responded “A few days ago.” The receptionist responded “Well that’s the wrong information.” The new member already knew this! The receptionist then stated ‘We only update the information on the website once a month!” The liaison member was still on the line and interjected at this point with the question “Wait a minute. Are you saying you knew the information was wrong on the website, but you didn’t update it?” The receptionist again stated “We only update the website once a month.” She then proceeded to provide the correct meeting address in such a rapid manner that the new member had to ask for the address to be repeated. The call ended without an apology to the new member for the error and the inconvenience.

It’s important to correct errors on your website quickly as your customers can view the site twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Your customer is depending upon you for the correct information. On another note, the most important step to take when a customer is inconvenienced through no fault of their own is to apologize. The receptionist acted as though the new member was responsible for being at the wrong place. To go a step further, the organization should send a card entitled Oooops! Add a few lines offering an apology for the error and perhaps include an inexpensive gift certificate for good measure. Remember, the customer acts upon provided information. Make sure the information on your website is current. Oh yeah, make sure your customer contact personnel have some basic customer service skills!

0

read more
hello
“You Have To Be More Considerate Sir!”

A good friend of mine here in Houston recently underwent hip replacement surgery. He’s recovering at home now where he receives both physical and occupational therapy. For a while both therapies took place on the same day of the week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. My friend is comfortable with this schedule as it allows for a day of recovery between therapy sessions. He also has doctor appointments during the week as well. A few days ago, the occupational therapist advised my friend that they would have to perform therapy on Tuesday and Thursday. After communicating his reservations with this schedule to the occupational therapy provider, my friend was told – “You have to be more considerate sir!”

This scenario brings a couple of questions to mind – Who’s the patient here? Where’s the empathy for the patient’s situation? I understand that my friend’s request for a day of rest between therapies may create internal issues for the therapy provider, but patient comfort and satisfaction should be the primary focus. If the therapy provider placed himself in my friend’s shoes, perhaps more consideration would be shown for my friend’s situation. It’s important to remember that all situations are different. Is it possible to customize your products or services to meet the needs of your customer? Perhaps the “team” mentality could assist with this issue whereas the doctor and therapy providers could meet with the patient to develop a therapy schedule that addresses the patient’s recovery requirements and patient concerns – in this case a day of rest between therapy sessions. Take a look at your customers’ requests to identify possible customization opportunities. Customization leads to happy and more often than not loyal customers. Remember, you the service provider should be vigilant about meeting the needs of your customer.

0

read more