Customer opinions are public. Are you at risk?
Online customer service, done right, can delight your customers, save money, and enrich your employees jobs.
Mishandle one customer and it can cost you lots of customers. Reputation management is imperative.
This is from a January 2012 newsletter published by Yelp:
It hurts to hear complaints. It hurts worse to see them in print … out there … in social media … for everyone to see.
For every customer with a complaint, there are 10 others NOT complaining to you. They are telling their friends.*
Welcome complaints and “reviews”. This is your thermometer telling you what customers really feel.
This is also your opportunity to influence the customer conversations.
Social Media is exploding!
You can’t escape it. Social media created a customer-driven world. Every day there are more and more social media sites; more places for people to post their opinions. That means more places where you must manage your reputation.
Whether you choose to participate in social media or not, your customers are! They are posting reviews, compliments, and complaints on many websites. You can’t afford to ignore them. You need a strategy to manage your online reputation.
Today’s public forum for complaints and reviews can be challenging. It can also be your advantage, or disadvantage, depending on how YOU use it.
Need help? Lash Internet Marketing can work with you to create a strategy, with policies, to manage your online reputation and provide a customer experiences that delight.
Have a Social Media Customer Service strategy that delights.
Every public activity with your business name creates your business persona. What does your persona look like? What impression is it giving to potential and existing customers? What are your customers saying about you? How do your employees handle customers?
It is vital to have a Customer Experience (Customer Service) policy that determines how customers are handled each and every time they touch your company. Everyone in your company must know the policy and follow it. Build in common sense to take actions, within reason, that will make things right for your customer. Empower employees to make common sense decisions.
Every customer must be treated as if they are a news reporter!
Studies show that every customer, who had a problem that you corrected to their satisfaction, will be a more loyal customer than one who was merely satisfied. *
Example of a Bad Customer Experience!
Do your customers have to WORK to be your customer?
Customers should NEVER have to fix your company’s mistakes.
Here’s a first-hand example of the time we spent, and the WORK we had to do to be a customer for one online retail store:
1. Ordered online = 5 minutes.
2. Received a totally wrong item = < 5 min.
3. Called Customer Service = 10 min.
5. Wait for an email approval = 12 hours.
6. Email was incorrect; Called again; = 35 min.
7. Reading confirmation email = <2 min.
8. Wait for correct item to arrive = 3 days
Bottom Line – We spent 57 minutes of activity, and were delayed over 5 1/2 days waiting for a $20.00 item.
THAT’s making the customer work.
What happened? Company policy got in the way.
This company had the following policies:
- Agents could not authorize returns. They had to submit tickets to another department for approval.
- The approval process uses tickets and responds within 24 hours
- There were no exceptions for company errors.
- The customer pays return shipping.
- The company does not send replacement items, even when it is company error, until the returning item is received. That is UNLESS the customer provides a credit card number, so the company can charge the customer if the original shipment is not received.
- The company will overnight the replacement, only when it is company error, and the customer pushes back.
But these bad company policies also cost the company money. Not only did they lose a customer, and risked bad reviews, they spent more time enforcing “company policy” than the items were worth.
- An employee “picked” the wrong item in the warehouse.
- An employee prepared the box for shipping
- Shipping costs were paid
- Agent time was spent on the first phone call
- Approval department employee read the ticket and issued the approval email.
- Agent, Supervisor, and Manager time was spent on the second phone call.
- Supervisor time was spent handling paperwork/email to correct errors.
- An employee “picked” the correct item in the warehouse.
- An employee prepared the box for shipping
- Overnight shipping costs were paid
- They did let us keep the wrong item without return shipping. It was worth $27.99.
This company burned over $100 due to bad customer service policies.
This company will lose business due to negative reviews in social media.
Not having any customer experience (customer service) policies could cost you even more.
If surveyed, this transaction would have earned an average score of 1.375, on a scale of 1 – 3, with 1 being the worst and 3 being the best.
AND that is an “objective” 1.375. It does not take into account the frustration and anger associated with this transaction … on both sides.
Will we buy from this company again? NOPE! Will we tell other people? YEP! Did we post an online review? Yep!
Are your customers leaving?
Are they causing others not to buy?
Don’t make the mistakes in our example above! Don’t make policies that cost money, make enemies, and do not make sense. Be prepared with a customer service strategy targeted to exceed customer expectations.
Eliminate online customer service risks. Call (707) 794-9294 today for a free strategy / policy consultation.
* 1970 Technical Assistance Research Program study conducted for the US Department of Consumer Affairs.
Lash Internet Marketing provides the following services:
1. Social Media Customer Service in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County
2. Social Media Customer Experience in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County
3. Reputation Management in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County
4. Customer Survey in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County
5. Customer Service Risks in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County
6. Customer Service Improvement Training for Santa Rosa and Sonoma County
7. Customer Service Improvement Consulting for Santa Rosa and Sonoma County
8. Customer Service Consultant