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Three Ways to Avoid Disastrous Customer Service

September 13, 2011  

"The company clearly understood the market," writes Barbara Bix at MarketingProfs. It had created a new product with all the right features and benefits, one that was earning rave reviews for its performance. "The name was short, crisp, and evocative. The logo was memorable. The promotion was compelling, frequent, and consistent." Persuaded of its usefulness, Bix made an immediate purchase.

But there was a problem: Unable to install the product, she called the customer service number and spent several hours on hold as her issue was passed from manager to manager. Finally—a full 24 hours after her installation ordeal began—a service person authorized to fix the problem did so with a few taps on the keyboard.

By then, however, the damage was done. "Due to a series of post-sales mishaps," notes Bix, "the company had counteracted months of well-executed marketing investments."

To protect your brand from similar harm, she has this advice like this:

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  • by Kim Brandt Wed Sep 14, 2011 via web

    My company, Fifth Gear, provides contact center service for many of ecommerce retail businesses. The ones who are most effective allow our agents to do whatever is necessary to problem solve - as you said, they're empowered to fix problems. The retailers that grant agents the authority to act without unnecessary escalation are the real stand-outs.

  • by Terri L Maurer Wed Sep 14, 2011 via web

    A discount store opened up in our area just before Christmas last year. I became aware of them and they lost me forever as a customer in one day--- actually about fifteen minutes. I only found them because I was on-line looking for a place to drop off my annual donation of Toys 4 Tots and they were listed. I drove to their new store, looked at the door and windows for the typcial Toys 4 Tots signs that all drop-off sites post. Nothing. I went in and looked around the front of the store for the branded bins. Nothing.

    Finally, I spotted a clerk and walked over to the check out area to ask if they were or were not a drop off location. The clerk responded that yes, they were a drop off location and the bin was in a corner behind the counter. She further explained to me ... "But, we only take toys that you buy from us." Whether this was a stupid company policy or the employee misspoke, the damage was done. I left the store to find another drop off location, swearing I'd never enter their shops again ever.

    It only takes a few seconds with a customer or potential customer to turn them away forever. Your point about corrective action should be considered for all customer touch points and employees trained and empowered to make things right. Too few companies seem to place value on training their front line staff to represent the company and it's brand.

    Terri L Maurer
    Maurer Consulting Group

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