Tag Archives: customer service

Walk the Line

Young Woman Jogging Across StreetI recently read a blog post from Dave Fleet that really put words to something that I had been pondering for a bit. The piece was entitled Are you creating social media scorched earth? It focused on companies that burn bridges with customers with one-off social media accounts.

There is no question that social media is the hotness for the 2010-2011 fiscal years for companies. Communications and customer service folks have been utilizing tools and building communities and brand awareness while driving revenue as a secondary benefit. The dollars brought in from people who are generally not seen as revenue drivers has given marketers a set of green blinders. You know the ones, where money clouds one’s thoughts, especially when the entry point into a medium is virtually free and is a direct outlet to customers. Continue reading

Complaining Vs. Whining

Man Buying ClothesI believe that the ability to be a salesman is innate.  You’re born with it or you’re not.  I come from a family that could sell a red popsicle to a socialite dressed in a couture white sundress.  Because of this ability to make people feel welcomed, cared for, and a priority, I always found myself working in retail.  I worked the customer service desk at Marshalls when I was 15 years-old and as assistant manager of a sneaker store at 18 years-old.  My retail career ended only a couple of years ago to focus on my career in PR.  What I learned from working in retail and handling customers has always translated  into my daily work as a PR professional.

Recently I came across an interesting article by Sarah Nassauer for the New York Times, “I Hate My Room,’ The Traveler Tweeted. Ka-Boom! An Upgrade!” The article discussed how customer service is changing now that we have a million eyes at our finger tips.  This isn’t new information as we all know that a company’s reputation can be hurt by a simple tweet, status update, Flickr image, YouTube upload, or TripAdvisor review.  And that’s only naming a few of the various platforms we use on a daily basis.  In the article a guest tweeted about his unsatisfactory room.   The front desk employee was watching and immediately went into damage control offering an upgrade.  Kudos to the front desk for monitoring the social network.  But does every guest that complains/whines about service need to receive compensation or a resolution? Continue reading

On Going Above & Beyond

USA, California, HawthorneAs I read this blog post from the wonderful Danny Brown, I was reminded of an episode of ER from back in the Clooney days.

Bear with me here for just a second.

Old school fans of Must See TV might remember the episode. The entire day, the ER is bogged down, people are having the hardest day of their lives, the attractive doctors are getting frazzled, patients are complaining, and because of a myriad of complications, not a lot can be done. Then George Clooney gets up, grabs some first aid supplies, and starts patching up the dozens of people sitting in the waiting room. The other doctors join in, and the human spirit rises to the occasion: FINALLY, stuff is getting done despite the red tape because it’s just the right thing to do.

(Critics of this episode probably include malpractice lawyers and insurance folks who cry at scenes like this. Sorry, lawyers and insurance folks!) Continue reading

A Customer Service Adventure

2 cheescarryers on the cheesmarketThis post could probably also called A Tale of Two Cheeses. Or TJ Likes to Complain about Cheese. But please bear with me. There is a point.

You may recall my not-so-very groundbreaking observation that a lot our damage control is just plain ol’ customer service. We’re here to help, right? So here’s a story about that in action.

Last week, I went to the grocery store and was railroaded by my beloved roommate into buying two kinds of cheese. By some strange coincidence, when we got home we saw that both brands of cheese had been improperly packaged and were sort of gross. My roommate was sad. I was excited.

Hooray, I thought, now we can see some 21st century customer service in action. Let’s get us some replacement cheese! I took some photos, wrote down some batch numbers on the packages, and generally tried to be a very good consumer. I went to both brands’ websites to lodge my good-natured complaints. And this is what I found. Continue reading

Handling the Haters

Businesspeople Playing Tug of WarHaters gon’ hate. That’s what they do. And in our industry, we’re going to see the haters popping up all over the interwebs. Chances are, unless you’re flacking for fuzzy baby lambs, someone out there is hatin’ on your client, your client’s product, or your company. (And even baby lambs may have made enemies; you never really know.) So what do you do with the haters, the negative comments, the angry bloggers, the furious tweeters, the disappointed Yelpers, the flaming Facebooker?

You could ignore them. Or you could do your job and handle the hate. Continue reading

Dunkin’ Donuts: Keeping Customers Loyal Via Social Media

Little Girl Eating a Donut
Not the author 🙂

It’s no big secret that I am a bigger Dunkin’ Donuts fan than most.  This weekend, in the wake of New Jersey’s monster hurricane, I traveled to three different Dunkin’s just to get hash browns and an iced coffee, and then I went to a fourth one later that night.  Today I somehow found myself in a Starbucks and asked for a medium iced coffee three times before I realized I was supposed to say Grande.  Dunkin’ is sort of always on my brain.

And I’m definitely not the only one.  Last month, Dunkin’ Donuts was named number one in customer loyalty (in the coffee category) for the fourth straight year, which shows just how many people in the United States have made stopping at the infamous chain part of their daily routine.  Of course the question that a study like this raises is, what is it that Dunkin’ Donuts does that inspires such utter devotion among their consumers? Continue reading

Small Potatoes Will Grow

Thinkstock single image collectionAs a small business owner, I see customer service from a whole new perspective. When I opened my business banking account, I received exceptional customer service – far better than I had ever received before. Now, it could be this particular bank’s branch, but the cynic in me thinks reps cater more to the business owners than the individual with a regular account.

Businesses tend to prioritize their customers. It’s not unreasonable to think bigger customers get better service, right? But, by providing less-than-stellar service to a smaller customer, are you assuming that that account will always be “small potatoes?” Continue reading