Thursday, 26 May 2011

Customer Scare or the Power of Social Media

Help, I'm being addressed by a customer care rep. who is trying to relate to me! Or worse, a customer nervous who doesn't know sh%3#te about my product-issue because he or she wasn't properly trained. (Poor thing!) It gets worse (yet again), a passive aggressive customer care scare with an urge to act superior….The horror, the frustration…!

Do companies actually realise how much damage this kind of customer service causes? I think not, because in my experience, with every new service or product that is launched, the same obnoxious incompetent customer 'care' issues arise, ticking off customers, causing bad publicity, creating an ever-growing group of dissatisfied users.

Customer complaint sites
Social Media such as (Dutch), (US), (AU) or obvious Social Media like Twitter or FaceBook, are used more and more to air complaints about faulty or downright bad customer care. Recently, I started using (Dutch market), and it actually works. I had a complaint about my provider and its customer service. They did react through the above-mentioned site and (somehow) took care of my connectivity issue. Lo and behold, a happy customer…until I got a server time out again.

But let’s be realistic, technical problems will always occur, especially with new technology. Glitches, bugs, mishaps, and ill-set ups, or bad designs come with the job… I fully understand and accept that. Than why don’t producers and companies? Why do they seem to ignore the fact that gremlins might pop-up in their machines, products, or services? Why does this ignorance seems to be so persistent that it looks like it’s their business strategy to have unhappy customers. A strategy devoid of any which form of anticipation to problems that may arise; anticipation by investing in a customer service that is efficient, polite, to be REACHED, and genuinely focused in finding a solution.

Customer satisfaction saves money
A clear notification about a problem or the announcing of one would contribute to customer satisfaction immensely. Besides, it would save the company in question money because notifications can be passed on over the web, mobile networks, social media etc. If it does come to customer / company contact, the company in question should be prepared to offer maximum help. Instead, they leave their customers in the lurch. Oblivious about what is going on, why their Internet connection timed out, why their online newspaper does not download, why they have to pay extra for apps, or why they suddenly have to pay for two mobile phones when in fact one was cancelled…

Power to the user
Social Media will increasingly form a channel for unsatisfied customers. Increasingly, negative word-of-mouth offline and online will spread at the speed of light. Increasingly, companies will feel the negative effect of this trend. So I say, wake up, it’s 2011! Listen to your customers, invest in proper customer care or bad publicity might break you. The Web is ours!

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