Designing Strategies: The Blog
Have you considered the importance and value of your on-line presence in handling customer service issues? At the very least, every company needs a web site or other on-line presence where customers can find them. Today’s customers do on-line research before moving forward with a purchase or business relationship. They also use the Internet to share any bad experiences they had during a transaction. Sometimes they even share good experiences and feelings. Really.
A web presence, and especially social media, serve as excellent venues for dealing with feedback and customer service issues. Too many small businesses still have not developed a web presence or engaged in social media platforms. They have no web site or blog to present their company, its products, services, staff and brand in the best light. Their reputation and success are totally left to chance. Just like in-person customer service experience, on-line experience must be friendly, professional and promptl.
I ran across one company on the Manta web site. If you’re not familiar with Manta, it is a web site similar to the Yellow Pages in your phone book – you remember what those are, don’t you? You likely already have a page on Manta, but it just lists your most basic contact information. A company can claim their page and provide additional information about their company at no cost, with a premium option available. For this particular firm, all that was listed was the most basic information: name, address and phone number — pulled from somewhere in Cyberspace. The company had obviously not claimed or enhanced their Manta page.
There was also a scathing review posted on their page by an irate potential customer, vehemently airing their displeasure with the firm in no uncertain terms. The customer was upset that several phone calls had been ignored and when they finally did get a response, it came with little more than a ‘So what? attitude. It was easy to understand why they were upset enough to tell the world why not to do business with this firm.
But, there is good news: the business owner finally found the negative comment and responded. However, they completely missed the opportunity to add company information to tell potential customers more about their business and what they offer. Not one teeny-tiny, itty-bitty piece of useful information about the firm was added to the basic listing. But, more importantly, they totally missed the opportunity to mend fences with that customer – kill them with kindness – publicly. Even dealing with irate customers presents an opportunity to satisfy the customer and turn the relationship around. Goodwill goes a long way.
And, there is bad news: they took the time to respond. The disgruntled consumer had been looking for a firm to handle what sounded like a sizeable project. They called numerous times, but received no answer or a call-back. They were initially upset that the company operated strictly on 9-5 business hours, five days a week. No evenings, no weekends. Responding itself was not the bad news, but the tone taken just added to any unfavorable impression presented to other future customers. How we react to and treat customers speaks volumes about our customer service and experience, especially if it is done before a global audience.
Customers are always right, even when they are wrong. How much effort would it have taken to kill this person with kindness? A better strategy would have been an apology, saying they were sorry their business didn’t turn out to be the best one to meet the customer’s needs. Better yet, offering to meet them at a more convenient time would have helped repair the rift and build a relationship. Anything would have been better than returning the customer’s negative attitude. When the next potential customer finds this site on the Internet, will they be interested in doing business with someone who will likely treat them shabbily as well? I doubt it.
Set a strategy today to improve your customer’s experience by killing customers with kindness. The Internet and social media in particular, present excellent platforms for customer service. Your company’s reputation has never been more exposed than it is today. You need to monitor it and protect it through exceptional customer service policies.
If the thought of developing a strategy for your firm’s on-line presence or customer service system feels overwhelming, we can help! Give us a call today.