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Customer Service –Where has it gone?

Published on Thursday, September 20, 2012

Customer Service –Where has it gone?

Customer Service can make or break your company. I think we are so busy trying to outsmart our competitors or trying the latest technology we often forget the basics. I took a step back and even looked at my company recently and saw I was so caught up with a few things that I had let our customer service lack. It’s very easy to do when we are all trying to multitask every minute of the day. We get caught up in having to grow the business and make money since that is what society wants us to do. It’s time to take a step back, and remember to be a human being and remember our manners. This will bring in new and keep our current customers more than any marketing campaign.  You can have the greatest marketing campaign but that only brings them in the door once. Your customer service keeps them coming back.

This applies to both online contact with our customers and in person contact. Both are equally important. We are most familiar with in person customer service. A smile goes a long way in person. One of my employees said to me recently “I think she just wanted a friendly person to vent to and tell her we heard her and will fix it.” He was returning a phone call to a frustrated customer because she could not get something to work. How true this is. A friendly voice is all that is needed sometimes. How often do you get the cranky customer service rep on the phone or dread calling Verizon or Time Warner, knowing it will take you 20 minutes just to get through their automated phone system.

How about the place you call and you always get the message “We are experiencing an extremely high volume of calls?” How can they always be that busy?

Your online customer service is becoming even more important. People will use your Facebook Fan page or Twitter page to contact you now. You need to make sure you are actively monitoring your accounts. You should get email notifications when someone posts on your pages. You don’t want a problem to go unanswered. You need to respond appropriately. There are many wrong ways to respond to a problem or criticism. You want to respond positively and try to help make this angry customer happy. Remember everyone is watching you and your response. Social media can spiral out of control and become a PR nightmare if not handled correctly. Deleting a negative comment or post is NOT the correct response. You will be unleashed on for doing that. It shows you don’t care.

Radisson Hotel – Twitter

I went to a conference at the Radisson Hotel. Their WiFi had been down for a day already and was down the entire conference. To business travelers this is completely unacceptable. The hotel staff kept saying they have no idea what the problem is or when it will get fixed. This was frustrating to all us. I tweeted about it and almost instantly a Radisson person tweeted me back asking me what hotel I was at. They then said they were looking into the issue immediately. She also direct messaged me apologizing for the inconvenience. This was fabulous customer service and a great way to handle this problem.

Best Buy

Over the summer I ordered a TV from Best Buy online. I am used to ordering from Amazon and my orders appearing within a few days. First it was 10 days before my order even left their warehouse. Then another 5 days to be shipped. I put a message on their Facebook Fan Page questioning why it would take 10 days just to leave the warehouse. I will give them credit someone did respond back to me within an hour. The person simply stated she did look up my order and saw it was delivered today. I informed her that was the case and I was now waiting almost 16 days and still no TV.  They did an ok job and at least acknowledged my complaint. They certainly did not seem too concerned about it but they acknowledged it.

To top it off, it was supposed to be delivered July 3rd and the UPS guy went right by my house. I was sitting outside and watched him go by. I called UPS since I checked online and it said it was attempted to be delivered but no one was home. I got a very snarky customer service rep on the phone. I explained I was home all day and saw the guy go by my house. She kept saying that she was sure I was wrong and that he stopped. There was nothing she was going to do since it was a holiday the next day. I knew that was the case but I was more aggravated I sat home waiting on this delivery and saw him go by. The customer service rep would have helped the company’s brand by just apologizing for the incident and saying she would look into it. This would have showed that she cared at all about the customer.

Hotel Stay

I had mixed reviews on the customer service at my hotel. In general every employee I saw there said Hi and asked how I was. They made that extra effort to make sure I was enjoying my stay. Then I had to check out. First every hotel I ever have stayed at in the past few years always puts the bill under your door before you even wake up in the morning. There was no bill there. I needed one since this was a business trip. Of course there was a long checkout line since everyone wanted a copy of their bill. When I got up to counter the lady said I had a balance on my account. "For what?" I asked. I guess there was a $15 per day resort fee and a tip from the restaurant I ate at. I was supposed to have a $50 credit to use on anything in the hotel. I assumed that covered my dinner. I guess it only covered the dinner not the tip. Nowhere did it say the credit could not be used on the tip as well. I left a big tip to use up my credit. Now I was stuck with it. The lady was real snarky about it. Unfortunately this was the last thing I did before I left. Now I had a bad taste for the hotel.

Southwest Airlines

I love using them when I have to fly for two reasons. They don’t charge for your baggage and they have direct flights. Flying this past Labor Day, on my way home from vacation I was dreading the 4 hour flight. We all lined up and boarded but then were delayed due to them re-organizing how they were going to serve food. This took about 45 minutes extra to do. The way the flight attendants handled it made no one care we were delayed. They were explaining how excited they were about the new plane and how it was going to allow them to better serve their passengers. They had everyone laughing in their seats and showed they really cared about their passengers.

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