customer service
Is it possible that your efforts to improve your customer experience could actually be having the reverse effect? The answer for many companies, it turns out, is a resounding Yes.  And the issue is more common than you might think.

This seeming paradox is stemming from companies becoming so obsessed with Big Data and Big Process that they completely lose sight of the “Small Data” – the intimate, one-on-one connections we make with our customers.

Consider These Two Scenarios:

John orders a pizza that is delivered an hour late, cold and with the wrong ingredients.  It’s the third time it has happened, with nothing as much as an apology.  When he gets the email with the link to an NPS / Customer satisfaction survey, he figures this is a great way to let the company know how poor his customer experience has been.  He checks the box with the question, “Would you like to be contacted by someone about your experience,” and hits the ‘submit’ button. Three weeks go by with no response.  In John’s mind, it is now official:  The company really just doesn’t care about how happy he is.

Mary fills out a ‘contact us’ form on the website of a national office supply chain to tell them of how horrible their customer service is in one of their stores.  Nothing.  After two weeks there is no hint of a response.  Her comment had clearly fallen into a giant black hole.

Frustrated, Mary turns to Twitter.  Three hours later, she gets a response to her tweet.  Cautiously optimistic, she agrees to discontinue the public Twitter conversation, and continue the conversation by email.  Two months pass, and there is still no indication that her comments have spawned any action.  “What was the point of my complaining?” Mary wonders.

The Result?

John and Mary have two things in common.

1.  Both have vowed to never do business with those companies again.

2.  Both were pushed over the edge by the very customer experience feedback mechanisms that are supposed to be improving the experience.

More and more companies are jumping on the customer feedback / NPS / social bandwagon.  Unfortunately, a great many of them are not really thinking through the level of support that needs to happen to make them effective – and the amount of damage that can be done to their brand when they get it wrong.

When your customers reach out to you – only to be ignored or treated, once again, like part of a process – their perception of how little you care is only reinforced.  And that is an instant loyalty-killer.

Here Are Two Rules To Live By:

1.  If you’re going to give customers a mechanism for connecting with you – make sure you have the people with the resources and empowerment to connect back and create WOW moments.  (BTW:  if you’re not going to give your customers a mechanism for connecting with you, you have a far larger problem…)

2.  It’s more work to focus on the ‘Small Data’, but the payoff is much, much greater.



4 Responses

  1. Having worked in the customer service industry for 25+ years, I’ve learned that the customer/client is the most important person to our business. If we don’t respond timely – even if it’s only to let the person know that we’ve received their inquiry (email, text, call, etc), the negativity radar goes up further – and, a lot of times, externally with comments made to someone else about what poor service they receive from XYZ company. Common courtesy from the recipient – “Hello, I have received your (contact method) about ABC and am working to resolve your issue. Sincerely (Thank you, etc), Name” goes a long way in giving the customer the feeling that someone is listening. Of course, if the representative can resolve the issue in the initial response…well, positivity mostly overrides the negativity already experienced.

  2. So agree with this Shaun. Would go further to say that no response in social media to customer angst has same result. I tweeted Delta this week re a horrible customer experience and got no reply. Contrast that to American who always replies and I think I’ll stick with them.

  3. Emails are a very bad way to converse with other people. People who write emails almost always do not read the email before they send it.


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