Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.
Volume 17: March 2012
Thoughts on the Customer: Is Every Day April Fool’s Day for Your Customers?
It seems in some businesses, every day is April Fool’s day.
- Our no-worries warranty — well, that only applies to people who bought our product at full price.
- Our 24-7 customer service — well, we only run the phones Monday-Friday 9-4 Eastern time. Please use our moderated forums for customer support outside of that window.
- Oh yeah, and that 99.9% uptime guarantee — well, that only applies if we do not have power interruptions or server failures.
For too many businesses, the expectations they set are never even close to fulfilled. The marketing department creates a fantasy that is not met by the reality experienced by consumers. In some cases, the unmet promises are so brazen that they actually constitute a form of bait and switch.
It is hard enough to please customers when businesses actually do what they say they are going to do; when businesses do not deliver on the core promises they are making to customers, the result is much worse than an April Fool’s joke.
How do you avoid this in your own business. Simply ask yourself…
- What are you saying to customers?
- What do your customers expect as a result?
- And what are you ultimately delivering?
April Fool’s jokes are great for friends and close colleagues, but in customer service, they just don’t work.
The Month in Customer Service Blogging
A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience I read this past month.
- Heart of Customer Service Is Respect – A great point about how respect for the internal customer can translate into service to the external customer.
- Why The Customer Is Not Always Right And It’s Okay To Say So – It can be okay to correct your customers, as long as you do it with respect.
- Customer Service Should be More Than a Luxury – A hotel makes sure that a minor customer service mix-up does not go unmentioned.
- 3 Companies Focused on Helping Not Selling – These 3 online companies provide an impressive customer experience by freely sharing their knowledge with customers.
- How Meaning Influenced the Carnival Triumph Crew’s Customer Service – Carnival’s crew proves that engaged employees are likely to remain accountable for the customer experience, even in times of heightened stress.
- Why Starbucks’ Customer Loyalty Is More Lucrative Than Any Ad Campaign – Everything that Starbucks does right adds up to one core loyalty driver: relevance.
- Chili’s Serves Up a Lesson in Customer Care – A heartwarming story about a Chili’s server’s compassion towards a family with a special daughter.
- Super Customer Service Experience: Picture It, Lead It, Create It! – Helping your team imagine the best customer service possible helps you create it.
- Customer Engagement Starts First With Employee Engagement – How and why companies should engage their employees — an interview with the VP of Social Business Evangelism at IBM.
- Getting New Employees Off to a Good Start – Some great practices you can put into place without any extra resources.
- Understanding the Stages of Retail – Knowing exactly how and when your customers buy is crucial to understanding your customer experience.
- Five Ways Digital Disruption Will Impact The Customer Experience – Great insights on how companies will need to keep up in the digital future.
- Social Media Ads Are NOT Customer Engagement – #CMcartoon – A blog post based on a cartoon, or a cartoon based on a blog post. I can’t really tell.
Someone Was Listening
Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.
We received a lot of quality feedback on our post How to Handle Customer Threats. The post seemed to strike a nerve with readers, and a number shared their own techniques and experiences. Customer threats will happen, and the more we can prepare our teams, the more equipped they will be to handle these high stress situations.