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Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service’

These days, many companies reach out to their customers to get feedback on their products and services, as well as their overall shopping experience. You may find an invitation to take this kind of survey on the bottom of a receipt, in a post-purchase email, or even on a website pop-up window, among other places. And to encourage shoppers to participate, there is often a small reward for doing so, or a chance to win a bigger prize.

Survey - Excellent CheckedThe big question is, do these surveys make a difference? Are the answers properly evaluated? Are the questions even relevant? Is proper follow-up done? (more…)

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If a company is trying to sell a product or service, it makes sense that they would want the purchase process to be easy. I’m not talking about just having the right product at a fair price. I’m talking about ensuring that as customers check out, they don’t have any problems, aren’t asked too many questions and can seamlessly make the purchase.

This goes for both a bricks and mortar store or a Web retailer. There are many ways it can be made difficult. Take my experience last week in helping someone to buy a United Airlines ticket from Cincinnati to the Bay Area of California.

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The big things – like fulfilling a brand’s promise – is the main item that needs to be accomplished for a company to keep customers coming back. If a brand promises the customer a seamless experience, for example, and it doesn’t, then why should they come back?

But there’s also no doubt that little things can mean the difference between a customer coming back and one that will go to a competitor. Sometimes, its so small that your customers won’t realize its being done until it isn’t. Sometimes, it’s so basic and is just common sense, so customers don’t think about it. And often, these little things don’t cost money, or cost very little, yet provide the customer another reason to come back.

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UnitedYou may remember earlier this summer, I wrote a blog post about United Airlines, and their handling of a situation involving damaged luggage. The post focused on the initial and subsequent responses by the airline, and how their response moved in the right direction after the passenger posted a YouTube video.

The story goes like this: musician Dave Carroll was going on tour with his band, Sons of Maxwell. As he settled onto his connecting United flight, he watched as baggage handlers threw luggage on the tarmac, including his customized Taylor guitar, which was damaged. United didn’t initially provide compensation (Carroll waited too long to report the issue), and so he pledged to write a series of three songs and videos about the affair.

The first one, “United Breaks Guitars,” now has over 5 million hits on YouTube. A few days after posting the video, the airline called him to offer compensation. But Carroll was no longer interested, asking the airline instead to donate it to charity. And that’s what they did – giving $3000 on his behalf to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

Now that the issue seems to be resolved, he produced video number two. (more…)

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I like to think that we all, whether an individual or a corporation, learn from our mistakes. With companies, most consumers understand that mistakes happen. And providing the mistake isn’t too extreme, it is the way that it’s handled that is important. A proper apology and appropriate actions, including those to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again, goes a long way. This reaction can be the difference between a customer remaining loyal or abandoning the brand for a competitor.

In the airline industry, apparently these lessons remain unlearned. And the case of Continental Express flight 2816, operated by ExpressJet Airlines, proves it. Last Friday night, what was supposed to be a routine two and a half hour flight from Houston to Minneapolis turned into a 13 and a half hour ordeal.

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In most industries, there are a mix of competitors, some of which people love and others that people hate. But in others, it seems that no matter which company you talk about, they are universally disliked. The airline industry is one – you know an industry is not in good shape when customer service rankings are consistently below those of the IRS.

Perhaps above airlines, but still very disliked, are the cell phone providers. Most people love to hate their carrier. And there are good reasons why. Mandatory contracts, poor customer service and high pricing are among them.

In his column this week for the New York Times, David Pogue lists many of those reasons. Among the items Pogue mentions are text messaging fees, double billing (being charged for both outgoing and incoming calls), subsidy payback through contracts, and the long set of instructions you’re forced to listen to before leaving a message. And it comes as a Senate committee is holding a hearing on handset exclusivity that is bringing out both the benefits and disadvantages of the practice.

However, the reason most people dislike their provider is because the industry markets their services exactly the opposite as they should. (more…)

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By now, many of you have now seen the latest YouTube video sensation – United Breaks Guitars. For those who haven’t, the basic story is this: Dave Carroll, a musician, was traveling with his band, Sons of Maxwell, from their home in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Omaha, Nebraska for a tour. After getting seated on a connecting flight in Chicago, the woman sitting behind band members looked outside and noted that “they’re throwing guitars out there.” The rest of the story is predicable – Dave’s guitar is damaged, and after a year of trying, Dave still wasn’t able to get compensation from United. In the meantime, he spent $1200 to repair the guitar.

But Dave has different ammunition than most of us. As a singer and songwriter, he could write music about it. Enter United Breaks Guitars – which is the first of three songs the band plans to release about the incident. (more…)

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