Today at TLC World HQ I had a day at the desk. Tweetdeck is up on one of my screens as I worked and prepared for a couple of meeting later in the week. In the space of a few hours I read Tweets (amongst many others) that covered a wide range of customer service experiences. Some people happy, some complaining and some even taking legal action.
Social networks can make or break a reputation pretty quickly. No longer do we need to wait until a story gets into the press to see how the world works and what the public think… we can simply open up Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and see what inspires, or annoys people.
And the whole world is looking over our shoulder at what we like & dislike and making their purchase decisions accordingly.
Here Lego are likely to have a customer for life and enhance their reputation across Twitter. This is more than ‘good’ customer service, I’d rate this as ‘great’ customer service.
There are so many examples of bad customer service. It seems we are more likely to share and signpost these experiences than good ones. This article was signposted in one of the Tweets I saw: A third of consumers have left a supplier after bad service.
Bad turns to ugly if the problems are not addressed. Here, poor service from Salesforce.com leads a customer to taking legal action.
Increasingly, I don’t think I would work with a new supplier / service until I have checked out what people are saying on social networks.
What is the world saying about you on there?
The story is a catalogue of disasters (or opportunities) for British Gas who have been fined £2.5 million as a result of them not listening to, and acting upon, customer complaints. Just think about that for a moment…. £2.5 million pounds taken out of profits because of not engaging properly with their customers.
This fine has happened because British Gas operate in a regulated market and Ofgen can levy fines for this type of behaviour. But what happens in those markets that are not regulated – like the environment for most businesses? Chances are one or two things (maybe both) can happen. First off – as we are British – we tend to complain to everyone except the folks who might be able to address the problem. If we’ve had a bad meal in a restaurant, we are more likely to tell our family and friends afterwards than the staff at the time. Apparently this is because we don’t like to “make a fuss” as my Mother used to put it. The other thing that will happen is we are unlikely to go back to that restaurant. So the restaurant never gets to hear of the problem or get a chance to put things right.
With British Gas, they did get to hear of the problems and – when they thought the matter had been dealt with – closed the file. It didn’t matter if the customer was still unhappy and thought that more could be done, as far as British Gas were concerned is was game over. So lots to put right with British Gas at the moment to ensure they do not get additional fines. But, at least it’s been brought to their attention (and ours) and they have the opportunity to do something about it.
So, how open are you with the problems that are raised by your customers and how are they handled? Even if you do not operate in a regulated market – you can still be “fined” by the customer as a result of lost business and decreased reputation.
And what are you doing to make sure that feedback, improvements and comments are welcomed and acted upon?
Or, are are you hoping that your customers are like my Mum and will rarely “make a fuss”?
I’ve just come back from delivering some training in Italy. I flew out of Bristol Airport and a few weeks prior to my trip I booked on-line to use the long stay car park opposite the terminal. On arrival at the car park I put in my credit card. The barrier lifted and I found a place to park my car. I then grabbed my luggage and walked over to the terminal and checked myself in with the terminal and e-ticket. On returning to my car after the trip I drove to the exit, placed my credit card in the machine again (which recognised my booking) the barrier lifted and I drove home. All easy and painless.
The day after my trip I get a customer service questionnaire email from Bristol Airport. But I didn’t interact with any people at Bristol Airport. And customer service is all about people interacting with people, isn’t it? The whole system has been designed to take people (cost) out of the process. So why ask me about my customer service experience? Why ask me if it would make me use Bristol Aiport again. (Like I have much of a choice as it’s the nearest one to me). I’ve used Bristol Airport before and know what to expect. So it “met my expectations” but “what can we do to exceed your expectations?” doesn’t really make sense here, does it?(You can leave your ideas and comments below)
I’m all for getting (and giving) customer feedback. But if I didn’t interact with any staff – does this sort of questionnaire make sense? If I am unhappy and will never use Bristol Airport Car Park again – what are they going to do? Give the software, terminals and barrier a poor annual performance review?
I appreciate that we can only improve what is measured. But, let’s make sure we are measuring the right things eh?