Many companies believe that simply monitoring their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds for customer issues is sufficient to provide customer service. In this day and age where everything is about digital marketing, the most forward thinking thing we can do is to look backwards. The source of all contented customers comes from two major areas:
- Personal service and attention
- A quality product
In fact, a consumer is more likely to forgive a company for a defective product over a shoddy or irritating service experience. For example, one expects to buy a lousy product from a Canadian retail company from time to time (i.e.: a cheap sound system that ceases to work after a month.) But the measure of our satisfaction is related to how well we are treated when we seek resolution.
In the pre-digital marketing era, companies tended to take a more human and personal approach when dealing with customer issues. This has been replaced by the assumption that social media is doing it all. But this isn’t the case. Granted, on Twitter, most complaints are simple and numerous, so the best you can achieve is to produce stock answers. While it’s great that companies are “listening” to their public, they could learn a thing or two from the past.
ORM and Digital Marketing Initiatives
ORM, or Online Reputation Management is a $5 billion industry (according to this Forbes article.) Companies are paying to ensure that fake online reviews (one example) don’t harm the reputation of their business. What’s interesting is that it will soon be considered an actionable offense to post lies in online reviews. The problem is, how soon can the lies be weeded out before harm is done to a company’s brand?
How can we all improve our customer service and ensure that we control our online reputation? Here are 5 tips to make you think about how to treat your customers. Satisfaction will always come from your personal attention. So consider how important customer satisfaction really is.
1. Display Your Success in Customer Support
Do you have an online (or offline) method for getting customer comments? By placing positive reviews and messages from contented customers on your website, you improve your credibility along with your digital marketing message. While the same is true when it comes to describing the awards you’ve received, remember that hearing the words of actual customers is far more effective a way for others to believe in the quality of your service and product.
2. Be Clear and Present
Wouldn’t it be great if you could hover over the shoulder of your clients to make sure they’re using your product or service properly? It would be great if you could answer any question quickly and efficiently. This is exactly what the people at Amazon have done with their new Mayday system. They take customer support to the next level by integrating a live-chat employee into their machines. With a simple click of a button, they can talk directly with a representative to get the answers they need. Live screen sharing and even live screen highlighting make fixing any problem a breeze. Think about that the next time you’re trying to create a PDF out of multiple files in Mac’s Preview app.
The point is: to be clear and present with your support. The online service of Firefly has a co-browsing feature that allows your representatives the ability to screen share an open browser of your clients. Much like Mayday, you can provide live, real time support. This can help your customers to better navigate your website, which in turn leads to happy customers.
3. Some People Respond Better to Video
I have friends who call me up all the time to ask how to create a PDF in Mac’s Preview. While I enjoy the one-on-one time, for the most part my first response is always: Isn’t this a question for Google? I learn everything I need from helpful online tutorials. But I also realize that not everyone learns best by reading text on a screen. My friend’s response is always the same: “I just need someone to show and tell me the answer.”
With this in mind, why not consider improving and increasing the video content on your website? If you have a common complaint or question, make a video tutorial. This can be in the form of actual employees in front of a camera, or by using screen capture software (I use Screenflow for Mac.) I suggest you provide both a text and a video method at the same time. Because some of us still enjoy reading rather than watching (and of course) Google doesn’t know how to optimize for sound just yet.
4. Publish Reports on Customer Service Wins
Every few months or so, why not compile a list of the best customer reviews / comments and create a newsletter or report? Share with your public the success you’ve had in the last quarter with these stories? If you’ve received some negative comments, you can address them here as well. Show how the event occurred and what steps were taken to address the customer’s concerns. This is absolute transparency and not every company is up for it. However, the more you disclose, the more likely your brand story will be repeated, retweeted and shared across social media.
5. Get as Personal as Possible
Some companies have gone so far as to send out hand-written thank-you notes to their customers. Digital marketing companies such as MailLift can reproduce this service on your behalf. This may be a bit extreme, and not really fit with the brand of your company. Not everyone values a handwritten note in the same way.
It is a good idea, however, to get your corporate-level employees involved. The mayor of Toronto claimed to be available any time to take phone calls from the citizens. Whether he managed to do this or not, isn’t as important as that he appeared to want to. Get your CEOs involved in both customer support as well as social media channels. Customers will always value a person and personality behind a brand more than simply a brand persona.
You can take control of your online reputation. By keeping positive reviews on top and addressing the negative ones, you will show that you are engaged and concerned. Ignoring problems won’t help and ignoring compliments won’t benefit you.
In further conclusion, I honestly don’t really know how to make a PDF using Preview, so if someone could send me a link to an online tutorial, I’d be grateful. “Isn’t this a question for Google?” You might be asking. Yes, but then I would be robbed of the opportunity to engage with my readers and thereby increase our customer satisfaction.