When I started my first customer service job in 1994 it was easy. If a customer had a complaint they called or dropped by. Occasionally they wrote a letter. Sure the grumpy ones told their friends over the garden fence, but that was just the neighbor.
That was 1994. Now it’s 2014.
Brian Solis recently said that an unhappy customer tells 20 people. A happy customer will tell only one. I recall hearing similar numbers back in 1994.
But in 1994 telling 20 people about a poor customer service experience wasn’t a crisis. Social media has given a new customer service tool. It has also given customers a new, public voice.
Let’s look back at the 20 people who hear about the poor experience. Imagine if one of those tellings was a facebook post. The average facebook user has 338 friends, which instantly turns that 20 into 357. Add in a Twitter account and it’s 576. That’s a lot different than a gossip session over the fence.
What can you do about it?
If you’re already listening to your customers (including on social media) and offering great customer service to minimize any poor experiences, give yourself a pat on the back. Well done.
If you’re not there yet, it’s not too late. Look at your policies and your team. Is that how you’d want to be treated? Yes, it will mean some changes and probably cost you some money, but can you afford to lose 20 customers for each poor experience? To quote Brian Solis (again), “Customers have to be asked and rewarded. It’s something new. It’s proactive customer service.” This is from a social customer service video series that he’s doing with Hootsuite. There’s also his book, [What’s the Future] of Business?
And you can always email or Tweet me.