Is this Future Shock?

musings on how technology is changing my business environment

Archive for the ‘customer service’ Category

Will your social media engagement scale?

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gig audience

Do you listen to your customer?

We do … that’s what we all say. It’s what we all want to do. Sometimes, particularly in a big corporate, it gets to be a bit difficult to hear what they’re all shouting to you.

Sometimes, it might be “Thanks”; sometimes, “Can you do it tomorrow?”; it might even be “I want to complain”. We want to hear all of those. We want our customers to know we’ve heard them.

How do they talk to you

Ideally, how they want to. They can ring you, email you – hey, even write to you.

What if they use Twitter?

@SouthwestAir and @ComcastCares are examples where corporates engage with an audience – they look for who’s tweeting at them, and talk back to them or help them.

@stephenfry is an extreme example of an individual – some 63k people follow him and he follows back about 32k. He can’t hope to see everything that comes through [replies virtually every 5-10 seconds], but he does engage with his audience. [You can find me at @steveellwood, but I only have 203 followers – but I follow 234 people!]

What if they use Facebook

What groups are being set up around or about your brand? Are they positive? Are they YourFirmSucks? How are you going to deal with it? If you don’t, what’s the message you’re giving? Not saying anything, is making a statement – whether you mean it or not.

Should you engage with your customers via social media

If you start to, and more customers pile in, will it scale?
Chris Brogan (surprisingly enough @chrisbrogan) says in Are you Important to me?

No. No, it will not scale. You cannot … maintain a 1:1 relationship with every single person who interacts … I think the same is true of using these tools within an organization. Only, the beauty is this: inside an organization, you can spread the connections out a bit. Not everyone has to talk with Tony Hsieh at Zappos. They might want to, but they will find that there are plenty of other great folks there.

Ditto Comcast. Ditto Dell. Ditto every brand that’s trying to figure out these tools and this space.

It will not scale, but if you want the bottom line return on investment value, you’d best remember to remind people that they’re important to you. And that’s what these tools do best.

What are you doing to engage with your customers in social media? I’d be interested to hear.

Image Credit:svenwerk

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Written by SteveEllwood

January 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Giving customers what they want

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or, are we dinosaurs?

@jobsworth has written another thought provoking post on the customer’s voice and choice, and I commend it to everyone.

We need to be in the business of providing the customer what she wants when she wants it, where she wants it, how she wants it. We need to focus on making things that the customer wants to buy, rather than trying to get customers to pay for things they neither want nor need.

There was a time when we could decide for the customer. There was a time when we could constrain the customer’s voice and choice. There was a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth.

via Faster horses in the age of co-creation

I think it’s fair to say that we need to know what business we’re in, and what we can sell to our customers – and in these turbulent financial times – what we can sell that will bring us cash in, and provide us some margin for our business.

If we can’t bring in cash quickly, and make margin on what we’re selling, then we need to walk away quickly from that opportunity and fix what we do.

Otherwise, we’ll sell the customer what they want, but what we can’t afford.

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Image Credit: whizchickenonabun

Written by SteveEllwood

November 11, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Posted in customer service, JP

How to change someone’s view with customer service

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I have a house with 4 dogs running about the place; now while I love them dearly, they do leave hair and sand everywhere. You need a good vacuum cleaner.

Following some recommendations on an internal newsgroup, I winced and bought a Mìele Cat & Dog TT550. They aren’t cheap. But wow, they work really, really well.

Over the last year or so, the vacuum hose started developing kinks. As you moved across the room, suddenly the suction would cut off. I duct taped the biggest kink point. Helpfully, it then started kinking elsewhere. I tried to find a spares supplier and couldn’t identify the part I needed.

Last night inspiration struck. I guessed the website as miele.co.uk – it was – and found an awful web contact form there. Raised my concern and sighed as I saw “We aim to reply within 72 hours”.

They replied by a personalised email within 30 minutes, and told me to ring the service department, giving me the right number to ring. I rang this morning; an easy call gate “Press 1 for vacuum parts”, and I was talking to a helpful named individual. “Yes, this type of failure is unusual. Your vacuum serial number was sent into the retail chain a little over 2 years ago, so you may well have had it less than 2 years. Give me your address, I’ll send you a free replacement hose.”

The vacuum is great. I liked the service attitude and response even better. Would I recommend a Mìele vacuum? I just have.

Written by SteveEllwood

September 17, 2008 at 10:58 am