Recently I read an article about a popular customer service guru’s experience with a well known company. Apparently, this company refused to honor an expired offer, which she had already paid to have 6 months earlier.
The issue was quickly resolved by another involved company, and the customer did end up happy at the end, but the whole ordeal got me to thinking. If that company knew who they were dealing with, would they have handled the situation a little better?
You see that customer may not have been an A-list celebrity that walks the red carpet at televised events, but she is well known as an expert in customer service. More importantly, she has over 12,000 followers on twitter. And because she had an unhappy experience, she decided to tweet about it- to all of them. Not only did that company lose my business, but they probably lost about 12,000 more customers as well.
Word of mouth advertising has been regarded as one of the most effective marketing strategies for years. Today, if you provide a bad experience, you won’t just have one unhappy customer, you may end up with a lot more. Those customers will read about the experiences of their friend, and then quickly click onto the competitors website to get their services elsewhere.
“A dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience. About 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.”- White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC
Here are a couple of Fantabulous customer service tips to make sure your business never ends up on the ugly side of a Twitter or Facebook post:
1. Create a unique experience for your customer, not just service.
It’s easy for a consumer to go somewhere and get service, but it is unique for a consumer to have an experience. What can you provide your customers that is unique? Perhaps throw in a free item, certificate, or maybe just do something totally off the wall that the customer would never expect! Anything that you can offer your customers that is unique to you will make you stand out from your competitors and keep your customers coming back for more.
2. Learn about who your customers are.
Let your customers know you value them. If you can, call them by name! Conduct telephone surveys of your loyal customers, find out WHY they remain loyal to you, and then use that to your advantage. Send them a card on their birthday and a holiday card during the holidays! Many business never take the time to learn who they have for a customer, and ultimately end up losing them. Why work so hard to get a customer just to lose them in the end? Keep your customers by knowing who they are.
3. Train your employees to be customer focused.
This starts at the hiring process. If they are not customer oriented, then don’t hire them. If you have employees who are not customer focused, then do your best to find someone who is. Training and development is also key. It is imperative that you develop effective practices and that your employees know them. Also train them on how to resolve problems and recover customers in a time of crisis.
The Bottom Line: You never know the influence that a customer has with their friends and community. Negative posts about your company can effect your business tremendously and send loyal customers straight into the arms of your competitors. Always go out of your way to provide the most Fantabulous customer service possible to each and every customer you are privileged to service, and you will never find your company name mentioned in an angry customer post!
Resources: Myra Golden Media, Myra Golden, Customer Loyalty Expert