Posts Tagged Customer Service

Is Good Customer Service Good Enough?

Posted by on Sunday, 7 September, 2014

Good Customer ServiceIn the last week I’ve experienced two poor customer service experiences. Both were takeaway food purchases gone wrong, and both companies ticked all the boxes to turn it around. I’ll only go back to one.

The first was with a local Mexican restaurant near my new house. The yelp reviews were average to damning, but I really wanted it to be nice.

The food was horrid. Sloppy enchiladas, dry rice and stale corn chips. A few days later a Mileage Plus Dining Rewards email gave me the chance to give feedback, so I did. I was honest and fair. I chose not to share it on social, but did elect to keep it public on the rewards site.

A few days later the restaurant responded asking what they could do to make it better.

The restaurant did everything by the book. The responded nicely; they asked how to improve the situation. It was perfect, right?

Let’s look at another situation from the same week.

I often order my lunch online from a busy West Coast sandwich chain. They have a store across from a client’s office, so I can quickly duck downstairs, grab the lunch bag and be back working in 10 minutes. On this day they left an ingredient out of my sandwich. Of course I didn’t realize until I was back at my desk and I didn’t have time to go back to have it remade. So I logged on their site and sent a message letting them know. I also said that I would have gone back to get it fixed, but no time. I didn’t ask for anything and made it clear it was an FYI.

A couple of hours later I missed a call. The voicemail was from Specialty’s and they were sorry about the slip. They were speaking to the store, but also giving my a $10 credit. They’d follow up with via email.

Both places did the right thing. They acknowledged the issue, and offered restitution. However, I will never return to the Mexican restaurant, but I’ve ordered from Specialty’s many times since.

What is the difference? I don’t doubt either place was genuine with their offer, but Specialty’s made it tangible. I didn’t need to think about what would make it better, it just happened.

The customer service bar has been raised, and it will continue to do so. What you previously thought was good enough is no longer so. And what’s good enough now, won’t be in 12 months.

How can you keep up with good customer service?

The restitution has nothing to do with monetary value. Make the response personal. Do you have order history for that customer? What’s their favorite item? Did you mess up big time? Check their social media or website to see what they like. Gary Vaynerchuk is great with this and uses it to thank customers for large purchases. Think of the goodwill (and social mentions) you’ll get for nailing it. Even if it’s a little off, you’ll still get kudos for trying. If your customer is a business, this still works. Send snacks for the team, or a voucher for a team dinner.

No longer can you get away with checking the boxes for good customer service. It’s time to make it personal.

What’s your customer service strategy?

Posted by on Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

Brian Solis - Customer ServiceWhen 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.