Welcome back to Friday Five, where you get to see some of the more interesting articles recently from the world of customer service. We have a good selection for you today, so enjoy:
Encourage Negative Customer Feedback? Really?
CustomerThink recently published a piece by Ron Avignone arguing that a good customer service culture “must welcome all negative feedback and criticism.” And not only welcoming it, but actively seeking it.
Why would this be the case? Well, do you want to know why your customers are leaving? Ask them to tell you. You’re going to hear things you might not enjoy hearing, but you’ll hear how you can stop other customers from leaving.
Be the one to reach out, in fact – don’t wait for them to complain first. “Customers will appreciate that you are proactive since it saves them time and effort,” Avignone says. “In the long run this will increase loyalty.”
Bottom line: Soliciting and acting on negative customer feedback is a crucial part of making customers sticky.
Can You Keep the Customer But Lose the Business?
Adam Toporek maintains that “many organizations don’t seem to understand that while they might not lose the customer, they can easily lose the customer’s business.”
He gives the example of Amazon.com, of which he pronounces himself a highly loyal customer. “Hypothetically, let’s say I had a bad experience with Amazon’s warranty program,” he says:
“The first impact would be that I was less likely to purchase the warranty on items purchased through Amazon. Warranties are super profitable, so it would be a loss.
“Further, a lack of faith in the warranty program could cause me to take my large purchases elsewhere. Television sets, expensive electronics, or anything else I would want to warranty, I would no longer buy through Amazon.”
So there you go: Amazon kept him as a customer, but lost his real business.
When You Don’t Control The Customer Experience.
Shep Hyken offers advice on what to do when your customer calls with a problem that’s completely out of your control. Like when a delivery company fails to deliver your product on time.
Two things: Be proactive, and communicate.
“Proactivity means you find out the information before the customer does,” Hyken says. Since you have the technology to track packages, “you’ll know there is a delay before the customer does.” Use that knowledge proactively.
And when you see a problem, “let the customer know as soon as possible… It’s not your job to deflect blame. It’s your job to let the customer know you’re on top of it.”
Your customers are reasonable people, they know you don’t have 100% control over everything that touches on the customer experience. They’ll recognize that you went out of your want to alert them to an issue, and they’ll appreciate not only that you cared enough to pay attention, but to be the bearer of bad news.
Metrics Don’t Tell the Whole Customer Service Story.
Metrics are important, sure, but they don’t give the complete picture. ReturnCustomer.com writes that yes, technology gathering information about the customer experience is great, but they “fail to effectively measure the emotional connection that customers have or don’t have with a company.”
Metrics don’t measure the memories of an experience a customer has with a company. They can somewhat track the experiences a customer has, but they can’t track how that experience is remembered. In other words, metrics can’t measure which memories really matter to the customer and which are soon forgotten.
In addition to metrics, then, you should be using qualitative customer research such as interviews, speech analysis and other approaches.
Transparency Makes for a Better Customer Experience.
Customer experience writer Blake Morgan notes that transparency in a company culture is a great “nonsense killer.”
Customers can tell when employees are frustrated with their jobs. The lack of transparency from the top down in an organization, according to Morgan’s reasoning, causes the sort of frustration that gets passed on to customers.
“Good companies don’t hide things from employees,” she writes. “Hard work and morality are good for the employee experience and the customer experience. Transparency is good for the company’s employees and it’s also good for the customers.”
Thanks for dropping in, and have a great weekend!