The Unleashed Blog proudly welcomes guest blogger, Chase Plischke, our newest Assistant Account Manager and all around good guy.
Not to beat a dead horse, but…
It’s amazing how far a little conscious effort in customer service can go from a marketing standpoint. As marketers, we all know it. It’s all about the customer. But if this concept is supposed to be such a central foundation to good business, then why is it that so many businesses are failing to make their customers happy?
The thing is, good customer service takes effort. It takes a well-trained, equipped, and empowered staff to truly provide superior customer service. Unfortunately, this also means it takes a significant amount of resources. It’s expensive and time consuming, which creates a dilemma. Businesses must decide what the best course of action is. Are the increased expenses worth it for having solid customer service? Is it a worthy investment that will generate profit? Or is it a resource-drain, not worth the time and money?
I recently had a memorable experience in interacting with Amazon’s customer service. I am a subscriber to Amazon Prime. I love it. Free two day shipping on all Amazon orders (though technically not free because I pay for my membership, but I digress). It’s awesome! When it works as intended, that is.
Here’s the story: I placed an order through Amazon, and because I am a Prime member, I expected it to be at my doorstep two days later. Not unreasonable right? After all, that is the service that I pay for. Two days later, it didn’t arrive. “Ok, no biggie, it’ll be here tomorrow,” I thought to myself. Next day, still not here. At this point, I was a little frustrated. I contacted Amazon’s customer service via email explaining the issue. Within the hour, I had a response. The rep apologized for the inconvenience, credited $5 to my account, and said to email them again if my order did not arrive by the next day. Though frustrated, I was impressed. They responded to me promptly, took ownership for the problem (even though it was technically the shipper’s fault, not theirs), and gave me a credit for my troubles. Another day passed, the order still had not arrived, so as instructed in that rep’s email, I contacted customer service again. Yet again, I had a response within the hour, and what Amazon did for me is what will keep me a loyal customer for a long long time. Not only that, I told my friends and family about what they did for me. They refunded the whole amount for my order and told me to keep the product whenever it arrived. I got the product for free, plus a $5 credit…I basically profited from this order rather than paying for it. THAT is good customer service.
This incident made me think: why don’t more companies respond to customer problems like Amazon did for me? Obviously it’s working for them; Amazon is one of the most successful retailers out there today. I can’t even imagine how many customer service issues they face every single day. Yet despite that, they responded to me promptly and made me feel like they valued me as an individual. I did not feel like just another number to them, and as a result, I remain a loyal customer. They also made me a brand advocate as I told my friends and family about it. And now here I am writing this blog post sharing my experience. Not bad results for an investment and commitment to customer service, right?
So that’s my story, and that’s why I believe making a conscious effort and commitment to good customer service is in fact a very worthy investment for a business to make.
Takeaways from my Amazon experience:
- Take ownership/responsibility. The problem was not technically Amazon’s fault, but they took ownership of the problem and provided a solution. No blame games.
- Respond promptly. Don’t make customers jump through so many hoops just to get a response. People value their time and get frustrated when they feel it’s wasted. Show them that you value and respect their time too.
- Show them you care. And be sincere about it. Show them that you value them as an individual. Don’t make them feel like just another number you’re trying to quickly get rid of.
- Provide a solution. Nothing is more frustrating to your customer than going through a whole customer service process and ending up exactly where they were when they contacted. It’s a waste of their time and yours. Make something happen for them.
At Unleashed Online Media we pride ourselves on offering superior customer service. We make the conscious effort to always follow these basic guidelines and be solution providers to our customers. We understand that our customers are the driving force of our business, and they deserve to be treated as such. What do you do for your customers to make them feel valued and appreciated? Do you have any thoughts or ideas about what makes for good customer service that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
You can find more from Chase by following him on Twitter @chaseplischke