Ed Note: Zephyr 47 kicks off the 2011 Expert Guest Blog series with content from Greg Meyer from Gist. Greg is an expert in managing customer experience strategies and programs and a veteran in the PacNW technology industry. Greg provides insights on how to engage with customers, even when they may not always be right.
I read Shep Hyken’s (@hyken) excellent blog post this week on 10 compelling reasons to deliver an Amazing customer experience, and found myself nodding my head at each one of his examples to treat the customer well, delight them, and to overall knock their socks off.
Hyken points out the benefits that great customer service provide to the ongoing business through improved employee morale, standout public relations, dollars saved, and happy customers. And yet, what about the benefits of delivering an amazing customer service experience to unhappy customers?
As Customer Experience Manager for a startup, I get all kinds of inbound contacts. Some people call me (my number is published online), some email, and some even walk in the door when they’re in the neighborhood. Some customers think we’re doing a great job (thanks!) and others, well, think we always could be doing better.
At Gist, we love all of our customers. We do this for a few different reasons:
- We make mistakes. When the customer is mad enough to tell us something, or feels very passionately that something we do is wrong, even when we think it’s right, we might actually be wrong.
- Even when the customer is “wrong” by policy or action, mostly that customer wants acknowledgement. Owning the situation even when it isn’t yours improves the trust you build with that customer.
- The best story is told by a customer who started out mad and came away satisfied, wowed, or otherwise impressed with the kindness, accuracy, and humanity with which he or she is treated. Leave ‘em wanting more and they will shout about you to the treetops.
So, even when the customer isn’t right, you should pay attention to them anyway. Some of our most passionate advocates have started out their relationships with us on the wrong foot. It’s a winning organization that can take every customer contact as an opportunity to build a positive relationship, even when it doesn’t benefit you directly to do so. Remember that the next time you get an angry email or tweet.
About Greg: Greg Meyer is the Customer Experience Manager and listening post for Gist. (Note: Gist has been acquired by RIM.) His past experience includes Expedia, where he led the Agent Tools Team in Global Customer Operations supporting a world-wide Customer Service and Sales team. Prior to Expedia, Greg built and delivered e-learning content and applications for Service and Sales Representatives at T-Mobile USA. He is a start-up veteran of several early stage companies including Netegrity (now part of CA), eRoom (now part of EMC), and Allaire (now part of Adobe). Find Greg at http://gist.com/greg and on Twitter at @GregAtGist.