23 November 2010

Customer service: the social media wave

customer service social media

Social media customer service

Social media, and Twitter in particular, is being used more and more as a customer service channel. It is attractive for customers as it brings immediacy of contact and from the companies' perspective, if handled carefully, it is a fantastic marketing opportunity: the social networks can provide spectacular word of mouth responses, help considerably with brand awareness and can be a very strong source of recommendations. Will the emerging wave turn into something bigger or simply fade away?
Challenges for social in the long run are multiple: a network like Twitter has a narrow bandwidth for a given company and can only handle a relatively small number of customer interactions at a time. Also it provides very little triage capabilities at the moment and all queries are channelled in one place, it is like having only one email account in the old days. But more concerning is that, as time goes by and the novelty factor fades, the bad practices which we see in real life (bad response time, no response etc) are starting to creep in the social media customer service sphere and this may encourage the general public to go away and try something else.
Picture by verygoodservice.com

20 November 2010

Customer service skills: simplicity is key

customer service skillsWhat customer service skills do you really need? Good service, delivered well, will always win the day. The rule book should establish the basic customer service definition: for a restaurant, this can be as simple as a bottle of (cold) water and a couple of glasses on every table. Much of the perception about the quality of service, however, will be determined by the service skills, factors such as the human interaction between the customer and staff... Assuming that the quality of the product is beyond reproach and not over priced, if the staff attitude is good, the overall service assessment will be positive, irrespective of its level of sophistication.

Picture by verygoodservice.com

Update customer service skills 2013

We have prepared a list of customer service skills which we consider to be essential when implementing an effective customer service strategy. They can be found by reading this blog post: list of customer service skills

10 November 2010

Bridging the gap in customer service

gap in customer service

Customer service gaps

A major challenge for service companies is to bridge the gap between customer expectations and service provision. This is actually extremely difficult to achieve as there is little reward for over delivery when the expectation is low but potential for a massive back-clash when the service levels are judged to be insufficient in the eyes of customers. This may result in a dramatic misallocation of resources which can cost companies much in terms of lost sales. The solution has to be to think hard about the service design, to relax rigid procedures and to introduce flexibility in the customer service provision by placing more reliance on employees.

Picture courtesy of Matt Rhodes with our thanks - http://twitter.com/#!/mattrhodes