Before There Was Social Media There Were Customer Service Reps

10/10/2008

”The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that there are no results inside its walls. The result of a business is a satisfied customer.” - Peter Drucker

Customer_service_zone350 Girlfriend, bet a dirty martini that you did not know that this is National Customer Service Week. That's nice you might say .. so what does that have to do with marketing or social media marketing. Perhaps customer service was the beginning of  social media. Think about it this way ..  before there was social media as we know it today - where people use technology to build relationships with customers online - there were people (still are of course) whose job it was to build relationships with customers with phone calls, in letters* or face-to face.

Sidebar:  *A letter is a written message from one person to another. Letters, especially a regular exchange between two persons (sometimes called pen pals), represent a kind of humanly communication and mutual friendship. Wikipedia

All too frequently customer service does not get the bright, spot light shined on it except when the customer is really, really, really unhappy. Customer service is just one of those things that you take for granted until you need it. That is the secret .. until you need it. Then when you need it .. PoW .. you want help .. NoW. Some savvy companies understand that customer service begins Before you need it.

With the onset of the internet and more recently social media customers' expectations have been raised to expect service and sensitivity in real time. Kevin O'Keefe, Real Lawyers Have Blogs, created a list of companies using Twitter as a customer service tactic: Zappos, Comcast, Dell, General Motors, H&R Block, Jet Blue, Kodak, Southwest, Whole Foods. I found that Sprint News is using Twitter also.

After reading Kevin's post, just for fun, I did a search on Twitter Search for customer service. I found lots tweets that were specific to companies. HayleyTownley hit a home run with her tweet ~ Why is it that I am shocked when I get good customer service? It should be the opposite. Sad. Very sad and too often true.

In keeping with the philosophy of Becky Carroll, Customers Rock, to show the best of .. and in celebration of Customer Service Week I thought I'd show a few tweets that sang the praises of the companies who are doing customer service right. It took 6 pages plus 1 refresh to find these:

Architek1: @ragedesigngroup customer service by @comcastcares rules.

jmang: Just got off the phone with tmobile. Out of all of the companies I have had to deal with, they have the best customer service by far.

vcope: Dell customer service via Twitter = AWESOME!!! Thanks @ChrisBatDell! :)

AlyssaEK: I give PitchEngine's customer service an A+. Way to effectively use Twitter to interact with users. If only all brands were so effective.

aaswartz: @VPG_printing Thanks for the great customer service and quick rush job for my goods!

Who knew 140 characters could be so powerful?

In this rocky economy when it is critical that every cent invested in your business influences purchase behavior there are three values to keep in mind: product/service value, price value, customer service values.

Read More

Sybil Stershic, Quality Service Marketing, has a great tribute to National Customer Service Week .. including tips on how to celebrate your employees who take care of your customers.

Becky Carroll, Customers Rock, is running a terrific series on using social media for customer loyalty. Part 1, Part 2.

Diva Marketing post - the inspirational story of Johnny the Bagger by Barbara Glanz.

Ten Simple Truths of Service

1. Great Service Inspires Stories/Memories.
Tip: Collect and record customer service stories

2. Great Service Uses Outside-The-Box Thinking
Tip: Encourage and reward creativity and innovation

3. Great Service Is A Choice
Tip: Understand the choices you have to engage with your customers. Teach employees to look for these touch points.

4. Great Service Starts With A Clear Vision

Tip: Management must first have a focused vision and be enthusiastic about the importance of excellent customer service.

5. Great Service Requires That Everyone Catch The Vision
Tip: Ensure that all employees understand and buy-into the vision

6. Great Service Surprises People
Tip: Have fun. If you're having fun at your job it will spill over to other employees and your customers

7. Great Service Begins With Anyone
Tip: Everyone in your organization is responsible for creating Little Acts of Kindness.

8. Great Service Goes The Extra Mile
Tip: Give employees the authority to Serve customers without going through channels

9. Great Service Brings Customers Back
Tip: Benchmark and monitor customer retention statistics

10. Great Customer Service Comes From The Heart
Tip: Manage on both business and human levels

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Comments

Hey, so crazy! Reading because I'm interested in your topic and there I am! I managed a global service organization in the telecom industry for years. Once you do that, you so appreciate good customer service and how hard it is on service providers to consistently keeps smiles on their faces because lets face it, we US consumers are downright demanding. Thanks for blogging about this and reminding us all to remember to be nice, keep smiling and say Thank you!

Posted by: Angie A. Swartz on Oct 10, 2008 10:50:41 PM

@Angie - Wild! Thanks for continuing this very important convo. We so rarely say "thank you" to the customer service reps who often go beyond into caring about us.
Saw that you were at BWE .. sorry we didn't connect in Vegas .. next time!

Posted by: Toby on Oct 10, 2008 11:05:01 PM

Great post, Toby. Thanks for sharing how companies are using social media in customer service. Regardless of how companies connect with their customers - whether through today's techonology or more traditional means - it's all about demonstrating sincere concern and appreciation for customers.
P.S. Thanks, also, for including my post!

Posted by: Sybil on Oct 13, 2008 12:00:43 PM

As a company or business progresses, the possibility of having its employment theft problem doubling is very high. This is according to the statistics itself along with a few other surveys done linked to business growth relations within the country. Even before the present problem concerning the recession here in America, company theft had always been one of the biggest reasons in the millions that a company losses every year. This problem is not confined in one area alone. All over the world, both large and small businesses experience being stolen from in one way or another. The hardest part of this dilemma is the thought that the people who are stealing from the company are actually the ones whom the management had entrusted to work with. It’s none other than the employees themselves that causes the perils of the business to go bankrupt. When the management knows they are doing the best they can for the business and still experience some oddities in the audits, then there must be something fishy going on that should be considered.
One of the common mistakes a management does that is contributing in this problem is its failure in recognizing the signs. Theft isn’t always about someone stealing something in a material form, there’s actually more to it. Once the company starts expanding, there comes to a point that the management loses the quality of its employee. Because of the growing number of people around the place working for you, it becomes harder to manage and you can’t always have your eyes fixed on each employee all the time. Thus, you rely on the instinct of trust and hope they’re doing their jobs right. But this shouldn’t be the case. You can actually guarantee quality on your workers outputs if you take necessary actions during your expansion. The root of your problem lies on your decision making on who to hire. By making your HR Department do an intensive screening on the applicants before hiring anyone gives you the security that you’ll always end up with the right man for the job all the time.
Because the idea of getting background checks on applicants for companies have already been approved to be a requirement in so many parts of the states, you can easily choose to request this from a third party company that offers the service that you need. A comprehensive background check that carries the credentials and records of an applicant helps in not only learning whether the applicant is qualified or not, it also helps in realizing the other possible capabilities he can offer for the company.

Posted by: Elvira G. Parikh on Jan 28, 2009 12:32:06 PM

Hmm.. Quite an interesting article you have here... Very informative.. I like it.. Using the internet to for employment background check and many more great ideas for better business handling.. Thanks for all the information! ^_^

Posted by: employment background check on May 18, 2009 4:19:22 PM

Thanks for giving out how firms are using social media in customer service. Despite of how firms bond with their customers, whether through in our day technology. It all regards in signifying earnest apprehension and positive reception for clientele.

Posted by: Suits on Jan 13, 2010 4:27:15 PM

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