Monday, October 15, 2012

Stop The Presses-Someone is Talking About Your Business!


Sometimes I feel I have a better handle on dealing with customer's complaints more than most people. The reason is because I am an infamous recipient of consistent horrible customer service. My friends and beau alike all claim if they didn't see if first hand, they would never believe it.

If it the waitresses first night, they are our server....did she just get in a nasty fight with her boyfriend right before she came to my table? Sure enough!! Does the guy behind the counter  hate his life and his job and has no care in the world to do it properly but is now taking my order? You better believe it!

If I could speak to anyone who deals with the public, I would say this:I always say-no one puts a gun to your head to come to work. You can work wherever you want! It is a free country. But for the love of God, do the job you are paid to do! I don't feel like I should be the bad end of your angst!

Even with the best of staff training, a business owner should understand that there will be these bad seeds. Back in the day it was a little harder to trace and track if no one asked to speak to the manager...they would simply tell all their friends and not come back. But now thanks to social media platforms such as Yelp, Urban Spoon and Google Places among others, they are not only telling their friends, they are telling the world and I hope that you have procedures in place to listen what they have to say.

I chatted with Dave Carroll, global sensation and social media innovator known for his 2009 YouTube music video ‘United Breaks Guitars’  for his thoughts on the subject and he offered this tip:

 Be Quick to Engage With Your Customers

Simply listening to your customers is not enough, especially since what consumers want most is to feel valued and know that their concerns are being heard. The best way to do that is to respond to them quickly and proactively when they might not have thought you would.

Studies show that the speed at which you react to a bad customer service experience affects how expensive it may become for you.  I have heard stories about airlines that have monitored generally negative comments from traveling passengers on Twitter and surprised the passengers upon landing with a resolution. That kind of service does not go unnoticed and makes people feel like they matter. Of course, there are countless other examples about bad service that goes unrecognized and these often serve as case studies for why attention to your entire customer base is a must. In this era, where every patron matters, you need a system that ensures no complaint is left behind; a concept a growing number of startups are lining up to offer this an essential service.

I agree with Dave 100%. At the speed you deal with the positive or negative feedback your customer gives you defines your success as a business owner. I have great stories of customers who have turned their negative review into positive ones with the claim that this is how you do customer service. This is only because we were quick with a response and a solution.

I sadly will never go back to the place that has washed and detailed car since I was 16...trust me that was many moons ago. After a car wash which left my car a little less dirty than when I brought it in, I went to the website and filled out the comment card with my lengthy but eloquent complaints. Do you know that they never responded?? It was weeks ago! To make it worse, I know the owner (if only at a head nod and a smile status), like I said I have been coming there for a long time. I really can't believe it but I have to practice what I preach and move elsewhere to someone that actually cares about the customer experience.

As I write this, it validates what I believe and try to preach to my customers. You can build your brand and offer the best product, but you will lose lifelong customers if you don't listen to them.

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