Guest blog post:
As you finish your meal at most restaurants, the staff will ask you how your meal was. Standard operating procedure for them and it makes absolute sense...get feedback in case something went wrong and perhaps they might be able to fix it before you leave and spread the negative reviews. Additionally, not asking would be implying they didn’t care about the customer’s experience. Seems smart doesn’t it? Yet most business other than the hospitality industry forget to ask (or worse, forget to listen) “how they did and how they are doing”. By setting up a twitter search filter within their Twitter program and using Google Alerts, a business can take care of such issues. Not only does it give you a heads-up as to what your customers really think, but it shows that your company cares when you publicly and proactively take care of complaints.
Recently I rented a vehicle for a shoot. When we picked up the vehicle, they asked our plans and they upgraded the rental (at no additional charge) to a model that would better suit our needs. During the last part of the rental, however, the rear hatch failed and we had to do our loading and unloading through the passenger doors for a day- not a huge deal. Upon returning the vehicle, they asked how everything went and I explained it was great except for the hatch. They promptly gave us a day off our rental contract for the minor inconvenience. Fantastic! That afternoon, I tweeted about the experience and thanked the company using the "#" (also known as the hash tag) in front of the name. Within five minutes I had a direct tweet back from the company with a thank you. Shocking! I decided to do some research and discovered they were following their name in Twitter and actively responding to comments and complaint issues (and in the open!). SMART!
A few days later, I received a call from my computer suppliers Customer Support. Having dealt with their support before I was mildly curious as to why they were calling. The conversation started by the rep asking me if I was happy with my system and if I had experienced any problems during the past year. Ah! Finally they were showing me they care (in the past dealing with them was like getting a root canal)! I went over the small issues I’ve had and the work-arounds (using posts from other users and not from the company's site) and expected to hear how they have some solution for me…To my dismay, the call quickly moved to a sales pitch for the extended warranty! I emphatically told them I was not interested. We went back and forth and I explained how I didn’t need the $400 extended warranty at which point she went into full script mode for 3 minutes without letting me get a word in. I put the phone on hands free and went back to what I was doing before she called. Eventually she hung up. I twitted the experience expecting to get a response like I did from the rental company! Surely a computer company would be as or more advanced than a vehicle rental company! Nope. Nothing. Now what was supposed to increase this companies revenue has only succeeded in further frustrating a customer. FYI, a few days ago they called again…I explained they had already called me and I wasn’t interested….they hung up. Wow, not smart, but it appears that’s “standard operating procedure” for them!
Coincidently in the same week I sat down with friend for a beer. We started talking about my recent experiences with companies using Twitter as a customer support tool and he told me one of his experiences with his cellular supplier. He tweeted about being dissatisfied with a support call on his account….and know who contacted him back via Twitter offering help? His cellular suppliers’ competition! Now that’s taking it to the next level.
It takes all of a few seconds to do a Twitter search and just a little longer to set up a Google Alert. Not following your brand and company on Twitter and via Google Alerts is the same as saying “I don’t care about what my customers experience with my company.” Why? You’re not listening to what they have to say about the experience! It would be the same as the waiter not asking how your meal was. So, on that note, how did you enjoy this blog today? Can I get you anything else?
With over 25 years of award winning experience in television, film, video, marketing, communications, web, radio, print, and events, Scott Westerlaken has the ability to maintain focus on the big picture and offer a wide range of solutions appropriate to the clients message and budget. He has been recognized with dozens of awards in business, communications and film making from around the world. For the client, this means a truly unique balance of hands on technical knowledge and high level strategic experience that always leads to unique and creative solutions.
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PHI Group has been an Investor in the Partnership since 2001.
The views and opinions expressed in this entry are those of the author alone, and may not necessarily reflect those of the Greater Halifax Partnership and those affiliated.