Although I’m a bit of a geek girl, I totally lack the technical gene. So I needed some help when I bought my new computer and monitor. I experienced the customer service of two companies: one (Apple) superb, and one (Samsung) horrific. Read on for six lessons companies can learn from customer service hell.
The bottom line: if your customer service sucks, nothing else matters. Handle customer service right and you can turn losses into wins and angry customers into evangelists. And remember: if it wasn’t for customers, you wouldn’t need to come to work.
While there are celebrated examples of stellar customer service from companies including Zappos, LL Bean, Apple, Nordstrom, and many more, the majority of customer service is still an unmitigated disaster.
Five principles of great customer service
1- Be happy that customers complain. A customer who complains is your best customer. The ones you need to worry about are the ones who go away mad and tell their friends and Twitter followers. Customer complaints can be an early warning signal for problems; a chance to improve, and an opportunity to be better than your competitors.
2- Make it easy to complain. I don’t need to tell you how horrible it is to wrangle with automated systems when you’re trying to get to a human. You already know. Fix it!
3- Treat your employees well. Employees are your internal customers. Treat them with respect. Recognize and reward their good work.
4- Never forget that the customer pays your salary. You are in business to serve your customers.
5- Solve customer problems quickly. Most product issues will fall into a few categories. Track and recognize them and fix the problems so they don’t keep happening. Many companies take as long as a week to respond to customer email questions and complaints. You can’t do that in the age of real-time communications and social media,
6- Make customer service everyone’s business. Put your executives on the phone with customers regularly. Adopt a policy of delighting customers and continually improving service.
It’s amazing that in this day and age, consumers are still battling with the most basic of customer service issues. Why is that consumers are still needing to tell businesses how to meet thier needs? It’s not that hard to get it right… treat customers with respect and courtesy and don’t see them as the enemy. Why do so many organisations and businesses find it so hard to provide good customer service? There is so much evidence now for the very real benefits of getting this right… it’s really quite fascinating that so many businesses get it so wrong…
i think it’s a combination of ignorance, laziness, and greed.
A few weeks ago, it took me one hour and 55 minutes to get a simple question answered via phone from AT&T. I was transferred to the wrong department 4 times and spent most of that time on hold.
I tweeted my frustration during the call. The AT&T person who monitors Twitter finally saw my tweets and invited me to call her. By then, I had gotten my answer and didn’t want to invest any more time.
Monitoring Twitter for consumer complaints is admirable, but it makes a lot more sense to me to just improve your damn service.
You could not be more right! But improving the damn service doesn’t seem to be high on a lot of corporate TO DO lists these days.
I couldn’t agree more… especially with the first bullet point – “Be happy that customers complain.”
I convert almost 90% of all complaints into eventual sales… this is really a key concept.
It is never an issue until you make it one..it is simply a complain and addressing it well will end up good for you and your company..and that is all there is to it..
Customers hate it when you put them on hold, or redirect them to another call center in a different country. Having them wait kills the potential for good word-of-mouth advertising.
You just wet my appetite to hear all of the gruesome details re your Samsung experience. Perhaps you should stop by the Samsung Experience in the Time Warner building and share your experiences.
I just can’t believe your nightmare with Samsung compared with my Dell hell: four MOBOs, two power supplies, a CPU failure in less than 18 months.
Convince me. I eager to hear. ds
the details of my Samsung nightmare are best forgotten. I am not buying their products again, so I don’t need to remember or recount
Great principles! I think they should be obvious to everyone but it is always good to be reminded. Sometimes you forget what matters.