Visit us on Facebook!
Visit us at STELLAService.com
Call us: (212) 366-1483
Email us: email@example.com
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s easy (and quite common) to take frustration out on the customer service rep who isn’t fixing your problem or addressing your issue. We’ve all done it, been rude or short with an employee of a company that is causing us a headache. But it never seems to get people anywhere really, and it makes sense why. The person on the other end of the line is a also a human being (most of the time) and it’s important not to forget to treat them with respect just as you would anyone else. Who wants to help someone out who is being a jerk?
A few tips from an 18-year customer service rep were highlighted in this article on how to make the best of a situation when you need someone’s help over the phone. Bottom line, treat the person with respect, even if you are a bit upset about the wrong sneakers arriving in the mail. Odds are the experience for both parties will be much more enjoyable and you’ll feel better about it too.
Everyone needs help once in awhile. When you contact a company about a question or an issue, you enter this realm. You’re looking for an answer, and your fingers are crossed that the person who answers on the other end has one. But sometimes they need help too, (everyone, remember?) so they may need to pass you along to a co-worker or manager that can handle your needs better. It’s during this hand-off where there seems to be giant room for improving service across all companies. You just explained yourself to the first person reached, you may have a detailed story with layers of complexity that led you to needing help. Now you’re speaking to the second person, and it’s the dreaded “broken record” scenario. Same account or order information needed, same story told.
This is an area where companies can differentiate themselves, improving the customer experience substantially. Nobody likes repeating themselves, especially when they’re describing a problem. The best companies don’t work in silos, they pass along information to other colleagues when it’s needed to speed up issue resolution times. This is efficient and pain-free as possible for the customer. Great service isn’t just about issue resolution, it’s about issue resolution while not wasting your customer’s time.
American Express released survey results last week concluding that “Americans will spend 9% more with companies that provide excellent service”. We’re suffering from a bit of deja vu here at STELLAService ( we released a similar study (in partnership with Ovum) this past March and reached an eerily similar conclusion).
All joking aside, we’re thrilled that American Express reached the same conclusion after conducting their own survey. Their findings provide further reinforcement that delivering excellent customer service is of the utmost importance to consumers and can positively impact a company’s bottom line. In the world of ecommerce, websites currently displaying the STELLAService Seal are taking full advantage of this fact by signaling to consumers upfront their commitment to excellent customer service. As if customers ready to spend more for great service isn’t enough, the study also found that people “spread the word willingly and widely when they experience good service”.
The Amex study was conducted in 12 countries (including the US) and produced some other interesting figures around customer expectations and the perception of customer service (to read the press release click here). To see the original STELLAService study click here.
If you want to see amazing robotics at work look no further than the 2 minute clip below, which is a glimpse into the warehouse of…diapers.com? Believe it or not the site is an e-retail giant, expected to bring in more than $300 million in revenues this year selling baby supplies to busy parents throughout the country. The company has built a loyal following by providing excellent customer service, selection and free overnight shipping on most products. One of their impressive competitive advantages lies in the inventory management and packaging systems they designed and utilize:
Now the co-founders of the company have set their sites on bringing convenience to everyone (not just parents) with the planned launch of Soap.com this July. The site will carry more products than imaginable (25,000 at launch and 100,000 by the end of 2011), offering a plethora of daily essentials across numerous brands (read more here). Combining their expertise in shipping and inventory management with renowned customer service (diapers.com has the rarefied STELLAService Elite rating), it’s fair to say Soap.com has the pedigree to become a major force in the online marketplace.
More on Soap.com from TechCrunch.
Zappos made headlines this week for a pricing glitch that occurred on a sister website, www.6pm.com. For a few hours the price on every item was capped at $49.95, even if the actual price was say, $250 for a handbag. The error was caught but not before costing Zappos an estimated $1.6m, according to Aaron Magness, director of brand marketing and business development at Zappos. The problem was a simple programming error, a glitch caused by a few incorrect characters in a line of code.
Fittingly, the biggest headline grabber out of this story has been Zappos’ response to the situation. Despite having the full legal right to cancel all sales that occurred under false pricing (this is listed in their terms of service), Zappos is honoring every purchase made during the “deep discount” session. As if Zappos needed more arrows in their quiver about putting customers first. Bloggers and journalists have been laying serious praise on how the situation was handled, so much so that the good press has most likely outweighed the loss taken by Zappos in terms of free advertising and buzz.
What is most striking in all of this is how Zappos continues to remain “human” in the most positive light. The company has grown significantly in the last couple of years (being acquired by internet retail giant Amazon in 2009) yet they continue to execute their vision as if they have 5 employees. A mistake was made on their end, a human error, and they felt that it was only fair to honor their customers. It wasn’t a bottom line decision, otherwise the sales would have been cancelled and they would be $1.6mm richer. It was a “human” decision, admitting a mistake and taking the higher road while spreading goodwill at the same time. Think any of the shoppers who received the unintentional discounts are now Zappos loyalists? Their handling of the situation is very powerful, it further reinforces their approach as a service company, staying true to their tagline “Powered by Service.”
A new study just released by Forrester Research tells us that retailers are looking to expand their online customer service channels in 2010. The study was conducted in Q4 of 2009; 291 retail professionals answered a series of questions regarding their current and planned online customer service offerings. The results are good news for those of us who love to have options when getting in touch with companies; 26% of the respondents are planning on adding reactive live chat in 2010, while 25% of those polled hope to use mobile customer service (e.g. SMS messages) to get in touch with their customers this year as well. This part of the study sent a very clear message: companies know the online marketplace continues to grow and consumers are demanding higher quality and convenient mediums to interact with retailers.
On the other side of the study, some interesting news around companies not being “on top of their game” when it comes to customer service. Less than 25% of the respondents thought they had the best metrics in place to monitor and gauge their own customer service activities. One of the more shocking results – only 44% of the retailers polled said they regularly monitor customer feedback on Facebook, Twitter and other sources. You would think as social networking ingrains itself further into the consumer fabric, it behooves all companies to pay attention to their customer feedback that’s also shared with anyone who wants to listen.
These results reveal an enormous opportunity for companies that not only monitor their online customer service experience but use that information to improve their service levels. With companies planning to invest capital into broadening their online customer support options, it will be critical for firms to monitor and adapt accordingly their service offerings in order to remain as competitive as possible.
Overall, this is a terrific study that shows promising trends for the online marketplace when it comes to having easy and convenient customer service options at our fingertips. To download the complete study, click here.
You may have noticed a recent ad campaign launched this past fall by JPMorganChase for a new credit card, the Chase Sapphire card. Among other attributes advertised like transferable rewards points and no black-out dates, a main theme in the campaign is the availability of quality customer service to cardholders. There is one particular tv ad where a couple on a chair lift need to check their remaining balance on their card; the man calls to speak with someone as the end of the lift rapidly approaches. His wife warns him that he won’t have enough time, but he claims a real live person picks up on the other end every time, so it shouldn’t be a problem. A bet is soon made over who will pick up first – an automated messaging system or an actual person. The latter transpires winning the man an apres – ski massage. So what’s the point?
The point is this: Chase hired one of the world’s elite advertising agencies (Mcgarrybowen) to lead this campaign on the creative side. It is estimated they’ll be spending roughly $30 million on a focused 360 degree ad campaign. And when it’s all said and done, what are they ultimately pitching? Great customer service! What a perfect indicator of the current sentiment towards trying to find help when you need it. One of the world’s largest companies advertises a new product by promising that if you have questions or concerns, you can always speak to somebody right away. What a novel concept.
There exists an immeasurable opportunity for all businesses, no matter what they sell, to remember what it’s like to be a customer. Great service should always be a top priority; however, in today’s market, it seems that elite customer service remains a way for companies to separate themselves from the pack.