Why do most customer service operations suck?
I could be a bit more polite but it’s the truth and quite frankly, “suck” doesn’t begin to describe the inadequacy and frequency of terrible customer service.
I call Sears and ask about the snow-plowing capabilities of a garden tractor and I get someone that struggles with plain English who knows nothing about the product and is unable to refer me to someone who does.
Comcast (you know where this is going) sends me to a variety of people who ask me to take the same steps to restore internet service before getting to someone who states that all the previous people were simply wasting my time.
A national web hosting service lost my website and didn’t have the guts to tell me. They, however, did make things right after I solved the problem I paid them to do (backup my site).
Are there solutions to terrible customer service?
I was asked to write a couple paragraphs about social media and and improving customer service for a national newsletter. That’s a difficult challenge. I’ll try to stick to some basics:
I define social media as content creation. Social media is NOT Facebook and other social sites. The better the content, the better the engagement experience; THAT’S social.
Social media accomplishes operational objectives. It’s a 24/365 representative providing accurate and timely information.
The idea is to give users answers (in conjunction with your website) that make customers comfortable. That probably requires communicators to create products in new and different ways that takes them far beyond their comfort levels.
Content is reposted on Facebook, Twittter and related social sites.
The heart of great social media is content. Try to:
- Make people’s lives simpler and easier-answer their questions in plain English. Read this sentence five times–call me if you don’t get it.
- Create products that respect learning styles through short, easy to read story-based articles, fact sheets, audio and video.
- Remember that people skim, they do not read. Get to the point.
- Mobile is the future of all things digital. Create for mobile platforms.
- Run everything you create through people who know nothing about your product or service. If they don’t get it, you did it wrong.
Thousands will interact with what we do, correct?
Probably not. If you do it right, most people will be satisfied with the information offered.
I ran two national clearinghouses (connected to the nation’s most successful public service advertising campaign backed up by tens-of-millions of dollars of television and radio ads) and few called or wrote for additional information or offered comments or criticisms.
When they asked, the vast majority of interactions were handled by prepared materials.
I created millions of page views through a variety of websites but comments and interactions were few in number. Most simply acknowledge and complement. Again, prepared material handle most of the rest.
I do, however, respond to every unique inquiry or suggestion thus the “social” in social media.
I understand that twenty percent of customers generate eighty percent of business so I make sure that the twenty percent personally are taken care of.
There are endless reasons for doing social media:
- It’s the future of communications. It’s emerging. We are still trying to figure it out.
- You have the opportunity to influence millions of people.
- Your organization can be significantly hampered by social media attacks. You have to be involved. You have to understand how it works.
- For many organizations without an advertising budget, social media, e-mail and your website may be your only options to communicate and influence.
- It allows you to respond quickly to emerging issues.
- If you do it right, media will appreciate your efforts.
Do I really believe that it’s as simple as I make it out to be? Yes, yes, yes “if” we devote ourselves to new ways of responding to customers through better forms of content creation.
Please feel free to add or comment.
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