I recently spoke at the Central California Women’s Conference and had a great time! During my presentation I asked all the women if they had ever had a bad customer service experience, EVERYONE felt my pain. I even had ladies coming up to me after my presentation to tell me their nightmare of a story about how they were treated horribly by some company. This is sad and it amazes me that customer service horror stories are so easy to find. There is something wrong with this picture! It’s like companies have gotten so used to allowing bad customer service to happen, that it is a shock to these companies when their customers go somewhere else to do business. If someone asked you for $20 bucks and then started being rude to you, would you want to still give that person the $20 bucks?… Probably not so much! But this is how many customer service departments are operating. Here is a newsflash to those companies: If you are a jerk, I’m going somewhere else… and my money is going with me!
It’s time for a change! And I believe a change is happening… The brands that are changing the way they approach their consumers and embrace the new rules of brand engagement will be the brands that rise to the top and are the most successful. The crazy part is, you don’t even have to be really good at customer service to give a good customer service experience. Because the standard is so low, it’s pretty easy to stand out. It is also important to always remember, that your customer service is a HUGE brand touchpoint. If a customer has a bad experience with your customer service, your brand is tarnished in the mind of that consumer… And it is very easy for that person to Tweet or Facebook about their negative experience to all of their friends and followers! Your brand is on the line!
The experience that made all the difference…
A couple weeks ago, I thought I had better go shopping for some new clothes so I could be lookin’ good for my presentation… So as I was going to the big name brands trying to find a new shirt and a new pair of jeans, I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t finding anything that fit well. If you have ever met me in person, you know I am 6′ 5″ and not a whole lot of fat on me. So it can be really hard to find jeans that fit good. As I walked out of one of the well known stores and back into the Mall, I saw a store that caught my eye, it was a Buckle Jeans store. I had never shopped there before, but I thought “what the heck, I’ll give it a shot”. As soon as I stepped foot in the door I was greeted by a very friendly employee named Josh, who was also the store manager. As I explained to him my problem of finding jeans that fit and that looked cool, he said “no problem, we will find you a pair of jeans!”. I have to admit, I didn’t believe him at first, but to my surprise he did! During the whole experience, Josh had other employees searched all over the store for as many jeans as they could find that fit the description I was looking for. During the whole process and even during the purchase, Josh made an effort to have a conversation with me. He asked about the conference I was speaking at and if I was going to meet Jamie Lee Curtis and so on. He didn’t make me feel like I was an inconvenience, like so many other places have. I felt welcome to be there, which is always a good thing!
My point is, that whole interaction made all the difference in the world to me. Not only did I walk out with what I was looking for, but they got what they wanted as well… My money! It was a win win situation and I will be going back. In fact, I was so impressed I Tweeted about my experience. (They didn’t respond which wasn’t good, but that is a whole other blog post!) The whole thing made all of their bigger competitors look bad as well. Isn’t that cool? Shouldn’t we strive to run our business with such excellence that our competition looks bad without use even trying?!
The Secret To Good Customer Service…
The answer is to Humanize your customer service. Make it personal, be nice! It doesn’t sound that hard, but it appears that it is for many brands. Don’t be one of those brands that treat your customers like a number. It doesn’t matter if it is through an email, over the phone or even a chat box, show your customer that you are human and not some faceless robot. I recently was using a customer service chat box to get a question answered, the girl on the other end was very nice and quickly got my answer. I remember I said something like “Wow, that was fast!” and she responded with “Great! That gives you more time to drink coffee! 🙂 Who doesn’t like coffee right?” That caught be off guard, but I loved it! It showed me that I was dealing with a real person with a real personality. Which made it a great experience for me. It really comes down to treating others the same way you would want to be treated!
If brands don’t start stepping it up a notch with their customer service, they will lose their position in the marketplace, plain and simple. It amazes me how hard it is for so many to just be nice! I say it’s time to raise the bar in our Industry and show our marketplace what good customer service is!
Who’s with me in raising the bar and showing our Industry how it’s done?!
Let me know below and let me know if you have a horror story to share. 🙂