Fast response is the new normal in customer service

Do you know what kind of service drives people crazy? Poor attention.

According to research from Zendesk 82% of people stop doing business with a company because of poor customer service. And poor attention is in my opinion is where it all starts because nobody likes being ignored.

Here are a few things that happened to me last week…

This morning I received an email from Sxipper, a password management program for Firefox that I used, replying to a ticket I submitted over a month ago. Yes, that’s right. It’s been over a month and they just answered.

But get this, it’s just a reply that they’ve seen my email. Not a solution. Well guess what, they’re too late.

Since I submitted my inquiry and didn’t get a fast answer I changed to another provider, LastPass.

Result: Ni modo, you lost out. If you would have answered quickly I would still be using your product.

Earlier in the week I noticed that bit.ly was not functioning when clicking on links through Tweetdeck. So I asked if anybody else was having the same issue and two minutes later I got a response from the folks at bit.ly:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/bitly/statuses/38689020481372160″]

Result: Now I know what’s going on. Great! It wasn’t that hard.

Another example, this past week I switched the ‘share buttons’ on this blog to AddThis. Not everything went smoothly, the buttons were not showing up initially. I checked with them on Twitter but they don’t seem to use it as a customer service channel, so I went over to their forums and posted my inquiry and got a response within a few hours. They pointed out that I was missing some code for it to work, told me what I needed to do and they fixed it for me. This wasn’t their problem, it was my themes problem.

Yes, AddThis fixed a problem that wasn’t theirs so that I could use their plugin. BEA-utiful!

Result: I post about how cool their plugin is and recommend you use it too.

Worst is not responding

When you don’t respond, people are going take it as a ‘‘we don’t care about you’ signal. The result is they’re going to tell their friends about how much you suck and will switch products to someone ‘who does care’ about their needs. It’s that simple!

Even if you have a high cost to switch (telcos), people will put their money down to switch because in the long run they much prefer not to deal with you. High switching costs are no longer an excuse for ignoring people. Get over it.

Getting it right

Customer Service is the new marketing because your customers don’t live on your time, they live on theirs. You have to acknowledge that they have control to tell others if you’re the best or the worst. And if you have a web presence (which you should), customers expect you to be there for them if an issue arises. There are countless ways to provide support and answers such as forums, Twitter, phone and email but still, in most cases people still prefer to talk to a live person for customer service.

Do you really want to talk to them? How committed are you? Do you see customer service as an added cost or as a difference maker?

While fast response is not a new idea, it’s execution is. The world has changed and so has customer service. People are on social networks talking to their friends about either what a great or bad service they got with you. One of them can win you loyal customers, the other one can make you look like the worst business on the face of the planet. Which one do you want to be? The balls on your court.

Fast response when we have a problem. Today and tomorrow, that’s what we expect from companies who’s products or services we use.

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  • Nice article supported by 1st person experience, Jorge. It is exactly this “customers want you to meet them where they are and respond quickly” mentality that prompted our company to create Pulse Analytics: http://pulse.mantis-tgi.com

  • Chrisconsidine

    Customer service IS marketing…keeping your current customers is KING…they are the PROFIT CENTER…getting new customers costs A LOT OF MONEY!
    Make it your first priority and put someone in charge of just CUSTOMER SERVICE…then get rid of the WAYMISH virus in your company…
    WAYMISH is an acronym for: Why Are You
    Making It So Hard…for Me to give You my money? It represents all the
    slights and indifferences made by employees and organizations that
    lead customers to believe that you don’t really want their business.
    Things like not listening to what the customer is saying, putting
    policies ahead of common sense, not attempting to resolve
    complaints, etc.

    Can you afford to create unhappy customers that take their
    business elsewhere?
    How many customers does your organization lose every day? How many
    were planning to give you their money but ended up leaving in
    frustration? It may be more than you think! And these days you can’t
    afford to lose even one good customer. Let this unforgettable
    program teach your staff the attitudes and behaviors that make
    customers feel valued so they will buy from you again and again.

    Benefits:Increases revenue by teaching staff how to avoid common
    customer frustrations that result in lost sales Maximizes customer lifetime value by teaching skills that
    positively impact customer satisfactionCreates positive word-of-mouth and referral business by
    showing staff how to meet customer expectations and practice
    service recovery