Archive for category: Customer Service

Customer Service is More Than Saying You’re Sorry

27 Aug
August 27, 2012

Carrying on from my post last week about Facebook fanning social media fires, this week I had a friend make a public complaint to an airline on their Facebook page.

Due to an issue with the display of their website on her computer, there was an error to her booking, which she rang up to rectify as soon as she made it. It seems their solution was to pay more than the original flight as a fee to correct the issue.

Now, there are two major customer experience issues here.

The first is the website. If you’re in the business of taking people’s money in return for services, your website needs to be absolutely clear and readable on any browser and screen resolution (well, except IE6 – no one should ever use that. Ever.). Why? Because if it’s not, it leads to what happens next – customer errors that mean they have to contact you further to fix them. If you expect your customers to abide by your “rules” and use the platform you have given them to interact with you – make sure it is usable.

Secondly, and even more surprising (or not..) was the response from Jetstar to the Facebook complaint:

 

Now Jetstar and most low budget carriers are notorious for their fees, charges and low tolerance policy – at the actual gate. 5 minutes later than you should be – forget it.

But here they have a mistake that has happened and within a minute, attempting to be rectified. What it demonstrates to me is a lack of empowerment of, or even investigation by of whoever it is managing their social media.

Fees and rules are at a businesses discretion – they have created them, they can break them. To penalise a potential customer for an experience issue with the website should be an exception to “fare rules”. Consistent application is fine if you have people realising their mistake days or weeks after they make their booking. But immediately?

Even if the person(s) monitoring and responding to Facebook issues is not empowered, the initial response shouldn’t be “we know it’s harsh, but suck it up”, which let’s face it, is what this amounts to.

It should be an apology, and an offer to investigate rectifying the problem. The fact that the response came 15 minutes after the original post means that nothing was done to even investigate the possibility of an issue (15 minutes is a reasonable SLA for simply responding)

Sorry doesn’t cut it. Customers – new, old and potential – expect much more from businesses now.

PHOTO – dolescum via Flickr

How Small Tweets Can Mean Big Love For Your Brand

18 Aug
August 18, 2012

I woke up the other morning with the strangest craving for a hot chocolate. I don’t usually drink them, but for some reason just needed one.

Sadly, the necessary ingredients weren’t in the cupboard. So I had to settle for a coffee.

As someone who pretty much runs on coffee, I tend to drink Nespresso when I’m at home (have you ever tried to grind beans and froth milk while holding a child? And no, this isn’t a paid post of any kind).

So just for fun, I tweeted Nespresso.

Now I’m a realist when it comes to brand responses on Twitter. As a social media manager, I know and encourage the importance of them, but understand that it’s rare to get a response unless its a customer service issue. There was a research piece produced by Amex earlier in the year that said that while 25% of people who tweeted a brand expected a response, only 9% actually got one. Safe to say, I was in the 75% with this tweet.

So I was surprised when my phone beeped later that day – they had tweeted me back.

Now, in reality, the tweet doesn’t mean much – they’ve passed it on, have a great day. Considering a hot chocolate pod would probably be outside the realms of the way their machines operate (they’re built to push hot water through coffee), the idea’s probably going to stop there.

What it does do for me though as a consumer is make me feel a bit warm an fuzzy about the brand. I now know they are is listening, and are taking the time to talk back to the people who buy their product. For most consumers too, it’s this little glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, the thing they’ve asked for or are seeking will happen.

It’s these really small interactions that can mean big things for you as a brand. When was the last time you made one of your customers feel special, just because you could? Have they offered you a suggestion on something they would like to see? If so, did you thank them for it, or did you just file it?

Think about how you can surprise and delight your customers today, for no other reason than making them feel like they are heard.

And in future if you’re reading this while drinking your Nespresso hot chocolate – you’re welcome.

PHOTO – yon garrin┬ávia Flickr

Under Promise, Over Deliver? How About Just Over Deliver?

12 Jun
June 12, 2012

For years, there has been a mantra of under promise and over deliver, presumably coined by the first person who failed to deliver on something big, and subsequently becoming a catch cry for anyone who has the slightest concern that what they’re putting forward may not actually be able to meet expectations. It’s become commonplace.

But whenever I hear it, I can’t help but think that there is no conviction in the quality of the product / service.

How many times do you think that under promising has cost you business?

We hear many reasons for why people didn’t end up purchasing what we’re selling – some of them are true, some are just convenient – but how many times do you think it’s because they want more from you, but what you’ve promised is less than what they need?

What if you just aimed to over deliver on what you know you can achieve, rather than just delivering on what you under promised (and therefore, by default, over delivering – but not really)?

If there is something that it stopping you from delivering on your promise, look at it as a way of making the product better. What is the gap? Where does it fall down?

Let’s aim for a culture of being committed to what we can deliver, rather than aiming low.

PHOTO – hans s┬ávia Flickr