Monday, June 22, 2015

A Simple yet Powerful Message

With all of the data and anecdotal stories out there about what makes good vs. poor customer service, it’s astounding that so many companies still get it wrong. Speaking to a human is great, but not when that human has been trained to be overly exuberant as they recite their script telling you that they understand your concern and thank you for calling and it’s a pleasure to serve you and they’ll do everything possible to resolve your concern and how is your day going? You can hear the fake smile plastered on their face. I find that type of phony friendliness off-putting and untrustworthy. When it comes to customer service, it’s better to keep it simple and sincere.

A few weeks ago I installed an app on my phone. It didn’t work. Just froze up. So naturally I uninstalled it. Unnaturally for me, I also wrote a review of the app and gave it a poor rating. Forty-two percent of business leaders in a recent survey said their company has been shamed on social media1 – I’m not sure if my feedback constitutes “shaming,” but I must admit that being able to express my frustration in that way made me feel a bit better, as mild as that expression may have been.

Two or three weeks went by when I received a notification that the company had responded to my feedback. Their message was short but effective: to paraphrase, “Have you tried the app lately? We’ve made a lot of fixes.” That was good enough for me. I didn’t need a big, showy apology – after all, I had not been personally affronted. I didn’t need an effusive expression of how valuable I am to them as a customer. I just needed to know my concern was addressed. So I checked to see if that was the case.

And indeed it was. The app now worked as advertised, and I’ve used it many times since.

Thanks to technology, people have a more powerful voice than ever in the affairs of products and commerce, but I’m one of those people who does not exercise that voice as often as perhaps I should. In the future though I’ll remember how my negative feedback ended up being an opportunity for the company to re-engage with me, and for me to give their product a second chance.

Twenty-six percent of customer experience failures are a result of rude or offensive service2. I’d put fake, overly cheerful service in this category – I’m offended by it! Fortunately for both of us, the app company’s re-engagement took the form of a brief, straightforward message. Instead of ignoring it, I felt if not compelled then at least willing to take follow-up action. As a result, I have another fun app on my phone, and the company has one more regular user. Simple.


1. Lithium Technologies: “Corporate America under Pressure from Consumers' Rising Expectations,” June 2015.
2. SDL Plc: “The Global CX Wakeup Call,” May 2015.


from Social Business Insights Blog

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