Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Hold Hands and Sing Kumbaya Customer Service

Group Hug
Poor Customer Service - or what the customer perceives as unsatisfactory,  often creates an irate customer. With access to online ranting across Twitter, Social Smack, Facebook, Reddit, Groubal, etc etc  - a disgruntled customer's dissatisfaction can easily go viral.  Some even write songs about on YouTube. I am not that talented. I can only grit my teeth and tremble.

United Breaks Guitars song

I put some thought into how I had handled my recent situation, with my cell phone provider and change in policy now disallowing a hardware upgrade. Could it be that I, Goddess of Customer Service and Engagement, in theland of happiness - was a BAD CUSTOMER?
How could this be?

I received a Tweet from @RHBDaveHowlett - Real Human Being:
 #expedia take note RT @darleenw: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.! Bill Gates
RHB - Real Human Being at RHBNation,  philosophy is a language of likeability that allows us to break through self-imposed barriers and achieve personal and business success. Dave teaches how to get into "third-gear" rather than "first-gear or second-gear" with our attitudes and actions.
Be the Amazing Gal or Good Guy.

I recently attended a lecture by Dave - Breaking Down Silos - and the main take away was "I didn't do it for the wave". Do the right thing, in "third-gear" - not to get the wave but to be a better person.

hmmm ...

I had to admit that I contributed to the recent Customer Service  call going bad, and ending in frustration. I had been the IRATE CUSTOMER!

I had NOT been the Goddess-Customer and did not act in "third-gear". Whoa Nelly.

 I had a discussion with the Twitter Agent, and my recent blog post stating my displeasure of not being heard by Customer Service was amended to include accurately that in the end I had been heard. I did note that I was pleased with fact my displeasure of the policy change had been passed on to management.  I felt validated and that the Twitter Agent was using situation to learn.
The one thing missing was the follow-up call from a manager.
Note: I had been promised by the Telephone Agent that I would receive call-back within 2 - 4 hours.
It was now well past.

I thought on fact that maybe I was expecting a wave? NO! I was the waver. I had not yet been let in to be able to provide a wave. I still deserved a discussion with the manager. BUT, I decided I would wait until end of week 
- 2 more days.

Yes, she called.  It was almost 48 hours after promised call-back - BUT she did call!
Now this was my chance to get things right. I adopted my Goddess-Customer role and expressed my displeasure for the policy change, AND addressed the fact that not only was I the customer blindsided, but so was all of the Customer Service team. I then asked if there was anything she could possibly do to bypass this change, since it was changed on the eve of our contract being eligible for a hardware upgrade. She allowed! We got the upgrade along with order placed for new Blackberry to be shipped ASAP. I thanked her for her time and solution.
We held hands and sang Kumbaya. Group Hug!

To complete my acting in 'third-gear' and Goddess-Customer, I reconnected with the Twitter Agent. I informed him that I had received call-back from Manager and all was resolved satisfactorily.
I thanked him.
Kumbaya. Hug. Hug.

It is NOT ONLY the responsibility of Customer Service people to do the right thing. 
It is the responsibility of all to do the right thing - be a better person. 
Be the Goddess, Amazing Gal or Good Guy! 
Be a Good Customer.
Create Collaboratively - Amazing Customer Experience.

Oh and here is my WAVE!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Social Media Amplifies Customer Service - Can you hear me now?

Customer Service has embraced Social Media - Twitter and Facebook in particular are being used and majority of companies have a presence within these applications. This allows customers to connect to company representatives immediately.
Wonderful - you would think, correct?
We will get immediate responses for our queries and complaints.
We will be heard.
Company leaders will listen and respond to our needs
- maybe even give us half of what we want.

Maybe - Customer Service will improve, due to connection and amplification - we think. And that thought process seems to be valid. As companies must truly care and want to be connected to 'us', the customer. This is progress. If we have a complaint we can Twitter our displeasure for ALL to view, and with ReTweets it will go around the world.
Companies will have to listen. Right?

The Truth is that this is correct some of the time. There are several examples of how amplification of a problem and displeasure with a company or product has indeed resulted in an amazing response.
@dooce  (Heather Armstrong) -- And the Washing Machine debacle  - Maytag Saga  and how she used her klout to get results. And reaction by This Fish Needs A Bicycle

The other side of the same coin, however is that BAD Customer Service is amplified.
The analogy being like a bad toothache. It just gets worse!

If a company does NOT get good Customer Service before Social Media, we cannot expect or assume that they suddenly see the light, with Social Media. Adding Twitter to their 'Contact Us' will most likely only AMPLIFY BAD Customer Service. We will be told not only by the telephone agent, but also by the Twitter agent - 'We don't really care about you, the customer'. In these instances there is one  major ingredient missing.
Engaging with the customer.

1. To involve oneself or become occupied; participate: engage in conversation.
 How does one exactly go about doing this? First step is to Listen to the Customer.
There are a variety of training available for how to have quality conversations, but the #1 aspect to get right is to LISTEN -  Can you hear me now?  Methodology. 

The next step is to actually do something with this information. Not necessarily give in to this customer or all irate customers, but use the information to make your service better. 
How can you prevent customers upsets?
  • 82% of consumers have stopped doing business witha company as a result of a negative experience
  • 55% became a customer of a company because of their reputation for great customer service
  • 55% would pay 10% or more for a good customer experience
In a recent debate with my cell phone provider, I became frustrated. NOT, because they did not give me what I want. BUT - because they did not hear me and offer to pass this information up to the TOP of  the organization.   After requesting with Twitter agent it was passed on.
As a customer, I want to be validated and HEARD.
I want to feel that I am important to you the company.
I am the voice of the customer.
I am not happy with a recent policy change.
The management that made this change should be aware and with this information -
  and ... TRY to find creative methods of resolving and providing the customers needs.
At least improve communication with customers.

A cell phone hardware upgrade policy has recently changed to not being without penalty from 24 months to 30 months. However customers want this hardware upgrade policy or HUP, to be LESS than 24 months ( with a 3 year contract). Due to fact that technology and hardware are changing so rapidly, why do I want to be stuck with old technology for 30 months? I don't. We don't.  We can understand that  there are cost issues by our provider - BUT, and this is where the ENGAGING comes into play.
UPDATE - My views have been passed on to Management. I am adding this to accurately report that I was heard and it was passed on. I am hoping this will result in some further response.
So far I have not had response from the Management. 
Telephone conversation prior to my Twitter convo, provided me with a 2 - 4 hr time frame for return call  from a Manager would be coming - that is now 24 hours ago.

I am happy with fact it has been reported. A response from a Manager would make it a WOW.

Be creative in finding solutions for your customer. AND cost effective for us all. 
Let us know that you HEAR US!

Do you hear your Customers? How do you respond? 


Thursday, October 21, 2010

I don’t want a new job, but a career as Goddess-Matriarch of Customer Engagement

*Connect* Engage* Trust* Loyalty*
I am currently searching for employment. It has to do with requiring  a source of funds to maintain my quality of living - eating, heat, roof over head, electricity and other basics. Like my colleague and younger friend @KRCraft at Thoughelf's Blog, I don't want a 'job'.
I want a career as Goddess-Matriarch of Customer Engagement. 
This role fits well with @KRCraft's ‘Demi-Goddess Enterprise Solution Evangelist’ - and slightly more creative than our male counterparts role of 'God'.

Seriously, the title 'Goddess Martiarch of Customer Engagement' demonstrates my true passion for Customer Service, and the fact that I have amassed wisdom and respect within the field. This is not ego, but simply right of passage combined with achievements. I hire a team of evangelists to represent and support the culture of a customer-centric environment.

A Goddess-Matriarch is engaged with staff within the enterprise as well as the customer. Within her playground she wears multiple hats to ensure 'Customer Excellence' is delivered.

The many facets of Goddess-Matriarch of Customer Engagement:
  • Collaboration over-seer is utmost important role, as all need to be on same page and empowered.
  • Ensuring vision is expressed and has 'buy-in' of all staff to meet corporate strategic objectives.
  • Relationship Management from top to bottom internally, as well as external vendors, partners, customers and all stakeholders.
  • As the Matriarch having now advanced from full-time direct contact with the customer, she mentors staff not with an iron hand, but by engaging.
  • Superior Listening skills have been developed to enable all to be heard and to be on top of status.
  • Communication skills are continually honed and practiced to deliver clear Leadership.
  • Leads rather than manages teams and colleagues by example and sincerely caring.
  • Trusts those hired,  like Demi-Goddess Evangelists,  and other 'Uber' Professional Services team players - Application Specialists, Operations & Customer Support.
  • Continual evaluation, development and training of staff encased within a collaborative method.
  • CEO of FUN,  is dual role required to promote having fun while doing the best for customer.
  • Maintains links to 'cutting-edge' technology advances with pathways to connect with customer.
  • Keeps one step ahead of  technology advances, industry standards, and legal/government statute changes and requirements.
  • Social Media Advocate ensuring staff embrace, utilize and actively involved internally and externally, and collaborates with team regarding analytics & reporting in order to continually make improvements, reporting right metrics for several different audiences.
               ** Has hired Best-in-class staff that can work magic to mine data  **
  • Due to experience at all levels of businesses from startup to enterprise, within a variety of different industries, the Goddess-Matriarch engages easily with everyone from facilities staff, senior executive, board members and actively engages on Twitter, Facebook & Community Forums.
  • Liaison between technical and non technical internally and externally, able to cross over and interpret and communicate with all sides.
  • Clear understanding of Project Management, ITIL  and other frameworks required depending on industry and requirements.
  • Mentors and partners with staff and other internal departments to prevent silo creation, and same 'voice' across all channels that 'touch' customers.
  • Loyalty created between staff, internal and external partners as all are customers.
  • Spearheads Creative Brainstorming of providing Customer Excellence
    - providing the WOW.
  • Surprises - from home-made muffins, Wacky Wednesdays to Name this Tune customer contest.
  • Passion, Passion and more Passion for Customer Service above and beyond experiences.
It goes without saying that of course I have eyes and ears everywhere - or so it seems. Not due to micro -managing, but truly being connected.

Best recommendation level achieved: Amazing

I am not looking for a job, but a career within a company that my passion for Customer Service is embraced and encouraged. Let's get engaged!

Checkout my details on LinkedIn and recommendations -

Monday, October 11, 2010

Be the Extra Mile

Do YOU wash your customers windows?

In recent post by  Kelly Craft -  Thoughtelf's Blog asks if we clean our customers windows and top up their oil, in order to provide exceptional customer service - led me to a hmm moment.

Hmm - as thoughts of if and how I have received, and provided myself.

Myself the Customer
As a customer, I still go to a  Full Service Station, when gassing up my car. I pay an additional 0.1 cents per litre to obtain Full Service. This entitles me to getting my windows washed, and oil checked as minimum. But, I get much more, and go for the addons - conversation and genuine caring. The attendant asks questions about how the car has been running, and mileage, and just general weather type conversation. He is excited to see me, and also does a check of lights and tire visual check. It is well worth the additional 0.1 cents per litre. I go out of my way to get my gas at this station, when this attendant is working. In fact, I coordinate getting my gas (as much as possible) around his hours, even if I still have a half tank of gas.

Myself the Customer Service Manager/Advocate
I have always attempted to provide my customers with  'exceptional customer service' and 'go the extra mile'. I believe,  I have managed to do this, the majority of time, and mentored staff to provide.
I would like to provide service like Zappos
- PROACTIVE. Expedite orders without extra cost.

Provide Exceptional Service Rather Than fix Complaints
There are various ways that we can be 'proactive', and look ahead for the customer. You can do many proactive actions, without having a complete enterprise culture change
- take action, and others will follow.

Some of my extras:
  1. Verify Customer configuration and recommend changes for improvement without request.
  2. Sent email notification regarding upcoming system updates on horizon & what means.
  3. If CRM shows no recent activity from customer - send out email to check-in.
  4. Added customers to IM, Twitter and FB and engaged after 9-5
    - when customers are online.
  5. As Customer Service Manager - provided customers with my cell number. Never abused.
What are your extras? How do you go the extra mile?
Can you BE  the Extra Mile for your company?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Social Media In Real Life

Continuation of The Social Media Experiment

It has been a long while since I updated my Social Media Experiment, due to being overcome with the whole Twitter experience. Twitter is easy and it is complex, all at the same time. That is best left for another day, to explain and demonstrate fully.

My first experience with Twitter was close to others trials, and tests, and I did it wrong.
I should have had a plan maybe, or a test account to play around with.
The damage is now done.

What did I do? Is it repairable?
I randomly followed and attracted followers according to the 'flavor of the day' method. Which is to say, whatever my fancy of the moment was - the current municipal elections, food, cooking sites and tweets, dieting, health tweets, social media gurus, social media marketing, customer service, graphics, comedians, celebrities, companies such as Pepsi, Police Reports, Art Gallery, City Hall, Air Canada, and more.

Why is this wrong?
If I was not wishing to promote myself for either business or job prospecting - nothing.
However, if I want to get to the point of being a Social Media Manager, then maybe, just maybe - I should have kept within the 'niche' I hoped to focus.
And if hoping to highlight myself in order to get a job offer
- maybe I should have (again) - focused.

Can it be corrected?
Yes, basically I can continue on forward and focus on the tweets in the topic and voice that I want to represent OR I can create an entire new separate account. Many people have several Twitter IDs/ Accounts. Such as you might want one that you limit to tweets for family, or business. Our personal and business lives tend to be blurred any longer with ourselves being splashed across the Internet, and in most cases should always be presenting ourselves in appropriate manner if we have integrity, and are over the age of 25.

Twitter is public.
Even though some tweets can be Private Direct Messages.
Other Tweets are shared between your followers.
Therefore, it may not be the best forum to have a rant or drag down fight with your loved ones.

What's Next? How Can Twitter and Other Social Media be useful IN REAL LIFE

Customer Complaints - send complaint to store, or company that has not lived up to service.
So far I have not been impressed with any customer service responses on twitter or Facebook pages, with exception of Mazda & City of Kitchener. Others have been slow to respond or have not responded at all. I am continuing on with this exercise in order to gather a larger selection.

Get a Job - LinkedInTwitter, Facebook and internet searches.


LinkedIn - Upon updating my profile,  I immediately received email queries and activity within the network I created. I also spent considerable time updating my list and ensuring that I was connected to as many people as possible.  I clarified and rewrote my profile several times. Joining Groups also increased activity and queries. Then a larger spike in activity noticed when I began leaving comments within discussions on Groups and updated my Status  - news feed then updated and kept me in front of my network.

Twitter - I have changed  focus to be within Customer Service and Social Media Management, as well as connecting with others in these fields.

Facebook - I still use for a mixture of personal and business related, as well as Fan Pages. I have done some changes to privacy settings and verified that I do not have anything too wild or crazy. But for the most part, I am just me - You get what you see. Certainly, employers can find out much more details on a candidate than ever before. Again we have very little privacy, unless we never go online.

Follow Me in My Job Search
So please do follow me now, as I focus on Customer Service, Social Media Management and Customer Relationship Management. There is much to cover under these topics. Along the way I hope that using the Social Media tools, as well as standard networking methods, will provide an opportunity in the workforce - and an employment offer!

Next Post :  
I don't want a new job, I want a new career as ______ ?? 
- To Be Continued ....