Volume 7: May 2012
Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.
The Month in Customer Service Blogging
A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience I read this past month.
- The Business Survival Reading Guide: Learn how to “disrupt” your business norm and learn how to become a leader in your field.
- 6 Best Practices for Your Business Phone Greeting: A great guide for Customer Experience managers training their staff to handle client calls with grace.
- When It Comes to Customer Service, Do You Really Know What Customers Want?: A reminder to customer service professionals that no customer is the same and every client will have different values.
- 7 Rules for Responding to Customers Online: I don’t agree with all of it, but overall a good set of guidelines for responding to client complaints online. My favorite one, “Thank the Customer.”
- The Peril and The Promise of Online Reviews: An insightful NPR podcast interview with professionals who know what drives consumers to use review sites.
- Support Your Customers (Before They Ask You To): Some great advice on how to shift a reactive customer service approach to a proactive approach.
- Customer Satisfaction by the Numbers: Based on the Zendesk Customer Satisfaction Index and Benchmark, this fun and simple infographic breaks down the areas where most companies are failing in customer satisfaction.
- These Are the Most Engaging Brands on Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]: Another great infographic that shows which global brands that are the most connected to its social customers and “fans.”
- Customer Service Infographic: This customer service-related infographic serves as a simple reminder that keeping customers is more effective than obtaining new ones.
- Phone Answering – Some Amazing Facts, Did You Know?: This an advertisement, but it this video had some interesting statistics about consumers’ use of the telephone and how it relates to businesses.
A great story of service recovery.
I generally don’t focus on “complaint” stories here at Customers That Stick. Only, when there is a lesson to be learned, and perhaps a positive ending to be realized. An bad customer experience led this blogger to shed light on what can happen with subcontractors who provide goods and services below the company’s standards. In this case, she refers to an online marketplace for fine foods. The story exposed the poor execution of an order she placed for some gourmet chocolate that was delivered to her door in a nearly-empty box with open and broken candy inside.
A week after she posted the grievance, she came home to find a box from the same retailer who had messed up the original order. In a neatly packaged box, she found her original order (completely intact), information for contacting their customer service department and a few extras to say “we’re sorry.” Her second post was much more complimentary of the company, especially because they gave her experience (and perception) a completely positive 180 degree turn. Great customer service is not always about getting it right the first time, but going out of your way for the customer when you mess up.
Someone Was Listening
Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.
How to Improve Your Customer Experience: John DiJulius Interview, Part 3 – Of my four interviews with customer service expert John DiJulius, I thought this one was packed from start to finish with incredible insights. If you missed this the first time around, you should definitely check it out now.
Thoughts on The Customer: Innovating and Anticipating
Henry Ford is somewhat dubiously attributed with saying, “if I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse.” Steve Jobs was known for developing devices like the iPod and iPad that people did not even know they wanted. We spend so much time in customer service focused on listening to the customers that it is easy to forget to innovate for them.
A great example of innovation that leads customers and does not follow them is found in the video below from Red Tomato Pizza in Dubai. They came up with a seemingly great invention — a refrigerator magnet that has a button on it. You press it, and it automatically sends a signal to the company with a preset pizza order.
Are you innovating for your customer? Is your team empowered to present (or, in some cases, even try) innovative ideas? Sometimes the idea that will make our customers stick is not something they have even heard of before; it’s something that does not exist at this moment.
The admonition to “think outside of the box” is a cliche, but the reason for that is the advice is often a great idea!