Monday, December 23, 2013

Customer Service: The Position that Deserves its own Department

Customer Service. The two words that usually depict an employee answering complaints about how something has gone wrong with a product or service. I, myself, happen to think of automated answering services or someone from the Philippines whom I can’t understand (though, they do their best!)  Even when America was mostly a manufacturing country, there were people you spoke with about your purchase. “Thanks, Milk Man! You are always on schedule!”

Whether your barista brings you a nice cappuccino with a cute leaf drawn in milk, or you have to return an item that doesn’t fit, it’s the customer first mentality that achieves the greatest results.

Interstack prides itself on the transparency and authenticity of its employees and its products. We are open and honest about all aspects of our products from performance to price. We create a good rapport with clients in order to maintain a good relationship over time, versus a strict business to business deal. The better connection we have with our clients, the more likely we are able to give them the best service. You have to be careful, however, when dealing with clients whose sense of humor is vastly different than your own. Be aware of insensitive topics and keep it light.

Let it be known, we do not have a customer service department. There is not someone responding to complaints through our CS hotline. Our business IS customer service. As I’ve said before in other blogs, Interstack is our company that is comprised of three main components: filelytics, our analytics repository, Share Your Experience- the customized comment card, wherein data can be transferred to our social sentiment dashboard, { loyal channel }, and then analyzed along with aggregate data from social media. These comments and feedback enable an organization to understand their customer, potential customer and an outsider’s perspective. On top of that, we provide a variety of amenities to ensure your customers receive the best experience. Our business is to help your business grow!

However, there are people, management in particular, who shun any type of negative feedback. We all know why this is not okay. Word Gets Out! According to American Express, the top reason for customers switching brands or companies is because of a rude customer service rep- 33%. It is also more likely that customers will tell their friends about bad experience more than a good one.

Here are some example customer experience tweets:

This gentleman says he will not purchase any up sell products because of poor customer service.

Thanks to the advice of this woman, I now know where to get a great Margarita.

Here are some things we’ve learned along the way as we’ve built our business.

11.)    Be Tablet Centric
a.      As of the past few years, people have been documenting their lives with as little as their mobile phone- linked to any and every social media outlet, to be shared with their friends or family. Androids and iPhones have new capabilities that don’t require you to phone a company’s CX hotline. With these devices able to take pictures, and record your thoughts accurately in real-time, the amount of data for one customer service rep is too much to sift through.

Our customized comment cards are able to be scanned with their QR code on your phone just as any barcode reader. Once scanned, people can then leave their feedback- and if to the company’s liking, may receive a discount or join a loyalty program. This data will be transferred to a simple to use dashboard where your marketing guru can easily search, refine and analyze trends in their industry.

22.)    Look Out For Employees
a.      These rules and tools not only pertain to customers, but to employees and your HR department as well. Want to know how your business will do after an angry employee writes about it on Twitter and links your company’s twitter handle? First, you might fire said employee. Yet, under different circumstances, it could take a turn for the worse if the employee’s experience warrants a lawsuit against the company.

33.)    Management Be Ready
a.      As stated above, management can sometimes turn a blind eye to negative criticism and blame the customer. We are no novice when it comes to dealing with management who seem to know it all. They seem to struggle when it comes to bringing in bad news and instead, want to reaffirm how great their company is doing. What management should expect is to be prepared for what you ask for and understand the consequences. Yes, sometimes the feedback can really sting; but it will help you understand what went wrong and how to solve the problem next time.

There you have it. Customer Service. A multi-faceted job that utilizes information given via customer feedback. Things to remember in order for your company to have the best reputation is to be transparent and authentic. Put out a quality product or service, and be honest about your company’s policies regarding it. Be aware that negative WOM travels faster and further than positive experiences. Stay modern with technology and create accessibility for different devices. Remember that your employees have just as much impact on the perception of your company as do your customers. A negative job experience for your employee can result in negative press or lawsuits. And lastly, management should take advantage of the information at hand. Feedback is everywhere; what gets put on the internet stays on the internet forever. Make sure you get to your customers before your customers get to you. 

Your Filelytics Team.

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