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With the increasingly homogenous offer of online retailers, it is generally agreed that high levels of customer service are more vital than ever.
With this in mind, I'm constantly astounded by the shockingly poor levels of service British consumers are exposed to.
Customer service in the UK has become a vicious circle of frustration for consumers, brands and the middle-men of marketing services alike.
In fact, it’s not just a problem for the Brits, things aren’t much better back home in Australia. The issue has now extended way beyond store walls thanks to the multichannel shopping environment we live in today.
As I'll explain in this post, closing the gap between smooth sales processes and customer satisfaction starts with targeted and relevant communications.
In April 2009 I flew to Australia with Qantas, a brand I’d always heard good things about. I’ll spare you the details but the long flight sucked.
So I decided to write to customer services to issue a light complaint, in the hope for a bit of love on the return leg.
I contacted Qantas via a form on its website, while logged in to my frequent flyer account. An auto-response email was promptly fired back at me. Some 18 months later I’m still waiting for a proper reply!
Monitoring what your customers are saying about you online can help you develop a better product. However, some travel companies could do more to improve their online reputations.
Bian Salins is Head of Social Media Innovation within BT Customer Service, and manages BT's social media channels.
Bian will be speaking at Econsultancy's JUMP event on October 13, about her experiences managing customer service through social media. I've been asking Bian about BT's use of Twitter for customer service...
As web designers we can only do so much for you the client. You can have the best website in the world, but if your customer service stinks users won't come back.
I went to meet with a new client yesterday and was blown away by their commitment to customer service. Not only had they addressed every one of their customers' points of pain, they had gone above and beyond in so many ways.
In a world where social networking is key, I was glad to be involved in the Engaging Times summit in Chicago last week.
According to Engage chairman Stan Rapp, 'today’s consumers are the most narcissistic in history. We’re all looking after brand I.', while Don Peppers, head of Peppers & Rogers thinks that companies should not 'waste money on social media until your organisation can competently handle a customer phone call or email.'
The event was thought-provoking for a number of different reasons but the stand-out message is summed up nicely in these two quotes.
Increasingly brand savvy customers are more wary than ever of insincere corporate apologies issued by emotionless commitee, and thanks to social media they're more able than ever to make your first strike count against you.
However, if you simply apply a little humility, making a mistake can actually lead to a better long-term relationship with your customers.
Apple's Steve Jobs gets a lot of kudos for publishing his email address publicly (and occassionally responding to strangers). It's excusable if most corporate CEOs aren't ready for that, but today AT&T has demonstrated the flaws of the opposite approach.
A customer emailed AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson twice to ask for a phone eligibility upgrade. In response, he was threatened with a court order. Needless to say, AT&T no longer has that customer. But Stephenson is getting a lot more emails. And surprisingly, AT&T has yet to respond in a constructive way.
Naked Wines is launching a new version of its website today, along with a new system of pre-ordering wine in advance.
I've been talking to Naked Wines Founder Rowan Gormley about the changes to the website, as well how the company uses social media.
Rowan will also be speaking at Econsultancy's Future of Digital Marketing event in June.
I had to breathe deeply and compose myself for several minutes before I picked up the receiver and made The Call, but finally summoned the fortitude. Today, after four decades of near-uninterrupted service, I cancelled delivery of The New York Times. The Internet's partially to blame, but digital is only part of the reason I fired the Grey Lady.
It didn't take much consideration to drop my landline. Cable I thought about a tad longer before cutting the cord (all those years in the TV business doubtless had something to do with hanging on). Fewer bills, reduced customer service hassles, and besides, neither my telco nor MSO delivered anything I wanted but couldn't access digitally anyway.
International retailer H&M could ignore The New York Times. But the company couldn't ignore an overwhelming groundswell of outrage on Twitter.
Last week, an outpost of the retail giant was caught shredding and discarding unsold clothes. When a New York Times reporter came calling for a comment, H&M didn't bother responding. But two days later, after readers expressed trending outrage on Twitter, H&M was ready to do something about it. And it all could have been avoided with a simple returned phone call.