Category Archives: Customer Service

6 Obstacles to customer focus paradise

A year and a half ago I had a huge customer service issue with Dell. This issue was ultimately fixed for me, but the experience left a stingy feeling. Not to mention a burning desire to change it.

Fast forward to an article on the New York Time’s about a guy who is living through a three month customer service odyssey with HP. It is a very similar situation to mine, and it brought back those terrible memories of  not being able to do anything and feeling like you are being ignored.

The article got me, and a few other people, thinking about the gap between what matters to customers and what matters to organizations:

Guestology: How Disney anticipates guests needs

Spotted this question at Disney Institute’s Facebook Fan page:

how disney anticipates guests needs

Here’s more in-depth look at how Guestology works:

The power or the Disney Magic comes from knowing customers and looking beyond the words being used to figure out how to exceed guest expectations. Something that happens on-site may not be our fault, but it is our problem. And that means that it must be fixed to exceed expectations.

Disney even has a Guestology compass: Needs – basic, Wants – preferences associated with needs, Emotions – the positives, and Stereotypes – maximize positive stereotypes/minimize negative ones.

I’m a big Disney fan and had no idea about Guestology. Very exciting!

 

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Customer service sucks in Mexico

I’m currently in Mexico meeting with executives from a few large companies, including the nations largest telecommunications company, to talk about social media technologies and what this means for them. Let me say this, it’s incredible how separated from the current reality these companies are.

While some companies in the U.S. are already taking advantage of social media for both external and internal activities (think social business), in the Mexico it isn’t so. For example. I asked a female executive from this telecommunications company if she knew if her company had a Twitter account. She said no.

They do.

But what I really wanted to know is if she knew that her Twitter account gets dissed the most by customers. In other words: there is a lot of hate towards your company on Twitter.

I told her she should check it out because it would be eye-opening. She did and immediately directed me to another female executive who had more ‘decision power’. I asked her the same thing. Same response. I told her to open up her browser, go to www.trendsmap.com, put in her company name in the search box and click search to see the magic.

Bang!

Competitive advantage in social media: Carpe Diem Stupid!

APC Back-UPS ES 500 surge protector

R.I.P. after 6 years of use

Yesterday one of the surge protectors in my house, the Back-UPS 500 from APC, finally gave up on me after 6 years. Since I’m using another surge protector from Belkin to protect other electronic devices already, I ran over to Office Depot to buy replacement for the APC.

I ended up buying a Belkin.

As I was driving home I started thinking about why I bought a Belkin surge protector and not another one from APC. My conclusion was that I think I got ‘primed’ to buy Belkin because I simply liked (looks and price) the other one I have at home more than my older one from APC. I also think that the fact that the APC one died one me affected my decision.  A product that breaks down on you isn’t going to inspire you to buy the same one.

Why every customer service “success” on social media is really a customer service failure

One of the main benefits of social media is to provide instant customer service. While this might be true, I think we’re seeing it from the wrong angle. Companies are looking at it as a way to put out fires, to delay an customers eventual frustration.

Sure, we should be exploring how social technologies might change customer service. But first, we should look at how we actually conduct customer service away from social media.

A few weeks ago, as soon as Google+ was unleashed, Michael Dell asked people if they would like to connect with Dell Service teams via Google Hangout. Lots of people thought it was a great idea, but one comment in particular caught my attention:

 –  Jul 18, 2011  –  Public
No +Michael DellI don’t want to use Hangouts to connect with Dell customer service. What I want, from you or any company, is to ensure I actually get the best customer service experience possible when I actually use your “normal” customer service channels.Eventually, I’ll finish my long-planned blog post on how every customer service “success” on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ is really a customer service failure. In short, consider this.If I walked into a store and started yelling about how bad the store was, to get my problem resolved, who would consider that a successful customer service model? But that’s basically what we are encouraged to do through social media, yell there as an attempt to get problems solved as a last resort.OK, it’s more nuanced than that. I have have great respect for the people who do perform huge customer service through social media channels. But these shouldn’t be end runs your customers need to use because your regular customer service channels are so convoluted and so often backed by people who aren’t enabled to just solve problems.That’s where I’d like to see you or any company put your energies, before we get more social media candy.

And that (in bold), is the point.

People are using social media as a last resort to vent their frustrations. And businesses are reacting to it by asking customers to post positive reviews online to counter the hate. Sure, businesses will react positively after an unhappy customer (who is well connected) posts his frustrations on Twitter and Facebook. It’s common sense. But this doesn’t help things, it just creates a never ending loop of reaction.

They’re not delighting customers, they’re merely delaying frustration.

What we really need to do is look at social media as another way to win the hearts of customers. To delight them. Not as a way to put out fires.

While you may see Zappos using social media for customer service, they don’t really see it that way. For them it’s another way to connect with their customers and as an opportunity to win their hearts. One more way to ‘Deliver Happiness’.

Problems will arise no doubt because no company worth mentioning never makes a mistake. Just don’t keep on making the same ones over and over again because that is what frustrates customers.

Bottom line is delivering customers service through social channels should not be seen as a silver bullet solution, simply adding more touch points to your mix but not solving the customers problem isn’t going to to save you. The customer doesn’t care if you experiment on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or Google+, what they care about is being treated with respect and getting their issues resolved.

And lastly, don’t ignore them. I repeat, don’t ignore them. If you’re on these channels, they expect you to be there for them.

P.S. I’ll leave with a few more comments to reinforce the point:

customer service dell google+

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Customer service matters as much as innovation

This past week I read two amazing customer service stories. First, there’s Sarah Green’s story on how she left her friends house keys with an Amtrak employee because she forgot to deliver them herself before she left for Boston. The Amtrak employee delivered the keys of course.

Then there’s Rick Broida who’s two HP desktop PC’s died within two weeks of each other, and ended up getting both PC’s repaired for free without a warranty.

Go ahead and read them, they’re well worth it.

While both stories are shocking, it’s a shame they have to be shocking. Why can’t these types of stories be the norm?

Why you shouldn’t ignore your customers

My blog was offline for two days because my former hosting (got a new one, hurray Blue Host!) shut me down. According to them my blog was using excessive resources and so had to be shut down immediately. In other words, is getting a lot of traffic and we can’t handle you.

The problem is, I didn’t get any warning beforehand. Nothing. They just shut me down and provided me two options: Pay or get out.

Here’s the email:

From: Daniel .net <contacto@danielmercado.net>
To: Jorge Barba <jorge_a_barba@yahoo.com>
Sent: Tue, March 8, 2011 12:55:36 AM
Subject: Fwd: [#DLY-383077]: Abuse -> Excessive Use

Que onda wey te suspendieron el Hosting los de mi Hosting por que ya jalas muchos recursos. Checa eso. Ya ocupas un servidor dedicado. Como la vez?

Daniel Mercado

Begin forwarded message:

From: “GreenGeeks Support” <support@greengeeks.com>
Date: March 7, 2011 10:25:46 PM PST
To: contacto@danielmercado.net
Subject: [#DLY-383077]: Abuse -> Excessive Use
Reply-To: support@greengeeks.com 

Hello,

It has come to our attention that your sub-account gamecha has been using excessive resources and your account has been suspended to prevent further service interruption for other customers.

###
User    Domain                    %CPU    %MEM    MySQL Processes
gamecha    game-changer.net 8.15    4.32    7.1
###

Right now, you have the option of optimizing or fixing the issue to prevent this from occurring again. If optimizing/fixing the issue doesn’t prevent the issue from reoccurring, it means that your account is no longer suitable for the shared hosting environment and you will need to find another web hosting provider. For this, you have two options:

#1. You can be provided with a pro-rated credit and upgrade to our Virtual Private Server service which will allow your heavier site to run on its own segmented virtual slice of a server. See full details here: http://www.greengeeksvps.com/. This means that other customers cannot affect you, and you cannot affect other customers. This is your best option as you’ll only end up having further issues with other shared hosting providers. We will also provide you with full migration service to the VPS free of charge.

#2. We can provide you with a pro-rated refund and a full backup of your account which you can take to a web host of your choice. I strongly suggest going with #1 as it’s the best option for your web site.

Please let us know how you wish to proceed.

Please get back to us if you need any further assistance and let us know how else we can help.

Thank you and have a great day,

Artur K.
GreenGeeks Support Team

****
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH GREENGEEKS:
http://www.greengeeks.com/why-us/testimonials_submit.php
****

I didn’t take the bait. Getting my information from them took 1 day. And then another day of importing and problem solving on my new hosting. That’s two days without email. Email which got lost in the internet somewhere. I’m still without email today because of the name server propagation.

Lots of time wasted.

Don’t you think this is complete BS? One thing about delivering great customer service is that if you ignore customers and waste their time they’ll be pissed off and stop doing business with you.

It’s safe to say that I’m not recommending them to anyone because they suck!

So GreenGeeks if you’re reading this, nobody likes being ignored. You can have a wonderful network infrastructure with all the bells and whistles but if you ignore your customers, you suck!