Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Weekend reading

Posted by Becky Carroll on May 25, 2007

blog.jpgHere are a few links to keep you busy this weekend.  Highlights include some great data on the impact of customer service on customer retention and an article about employing the human touch when dealing with customers.  Plus, a bonus movie trivia question: which movie had its debut 30 years ago on May 25, 1977?  (Try to guess, then see the answer at the end of post.)  Rock on!

Survey Says Customers Aren’t Happy

There is a great post over at The Red Tape Chronicles which highlights the results of a new survey by Accenture.  The survey shows that, when it comes to customer service, the level of service companies are providing doesn’t match up with the level their customers feel they are providing.  The numbers illustrate the gap between company thinking and customer perception.  75% of executives surveyed (from 35 large consumer technology companies) felt their company was providing “above average” customer service, while slightly less than 60% of their consumers (over 1200 consumers surveyed) were satisfied with their service. 

This may not be a surprise to many of you!  More importantly, the survey revealed that 81% of customers who felt they were treated poorly would not buy again from the same company. 

So why is customer service often on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder?  I have blogged before about the prevalence of avoiding cost vs satisfying customers in this arena.  Too many cost reductions in the area of customer service have wreaked havoc with customer relationships. 

The Red Tape Chronicles also shares the flip side of great customer service experiences.  Based on the survey:

The benefits are immediate. Companies that improve their customer service experiences find consumers become immediately loyal — they are 2.5 times more likely to buy again from the same company. In fact, consumers who have a problem and enjoy a positive customer service experience are actually more loyal than customers who buy a product and never have to call the firm looking for help.

“The benefits of treating people well are pretty dramatic,” (Brian) Sprague (from Accenture) said. And so are the costs of treating people poorly.

Bob Sullivan, the blog’s author, ends the post with a few tips on getting good customer service and shares one of my favorite tips: the GetHuman database.  Go there to find out how to directly get a live person from a phone-tree hell.

Check out some of the comments to the blog post as well. 

Customer service executives, are you listening?

(Tip of the hat to my friend Ryan Karpeles of Living Lightbulbs for telling me about this article.)

Employing the Human Touch

I want to share this article from the agency Second Wind about how to build stronger client communication.  It shares a few stories about how important it is to employ the human touch with our customers.  With so many companies working hard to move to self-service, are the days of flesh-and-blood people answering phones going the way of the dodo bird?  Not if I can help it!

I think the folks at SecondWind feel the same way.

It’s time to turn back the clock and move closer to our customers. Encourage your clients to employ the human touch with every one of their current, and potential customers. They should hire a real live person to answer their phones, and so should your agency! Hire two or three people if need be. Train them well, send them to a phone etiquette class, teach them about voice modulation, and for heaven’s sake, pay them a decent wage. They can do other work and learn other positions if and when they have downtime.

Go on over and read the whole article, then do something about it at your company.  We can all use a little more of the human touch.

Bonus Movie Trivia Answer:

Which movie made its debut 30 years ago on May 25, 1977?  The answer is Star Wars!  To celebrate, Lucasfilm is holding a big celebration party in Los Angeles for its fans, many of whom helped to plan the event.  If you can’t make it, check out the Star Wars blog site for live reports.  Talk about a loyal community of citizen marketers: Star Wars fans are it!

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3 Responses to “Weekend reading”

  1. I have to say that the whole gethuman thing is a direct consequence of companies failing to realize that IVR and other automated customer service systems require decisions. Every customer should get a potentially different experience as the system should decide what options are relevant to that customer. Then far fewer people would feel a need to get out of IVR hell!
    Check out this post
    JT
    http://www.edmblog.com

  2. Yes, James, IVRs are indeed a consequence of business decisions. In many cases, these decisions are being made with the company’s objectives in mind (cutting costs) instead of the customer’s objectives in mind (get my question answered). Perhaps a more relevant “IVR experience” would help, but the more we keep our customers at arm’s length, the less opportunity we have to build and strengthen relationships with them.

  3. I do feel that there has been an attempt at change throughout the industry though. There are a lot of places who have tried to change but I believe we are still a ways out before the “customer service wave” reaches more companies.

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