Be Good to your Customers. They Talk (and Tweet).

Need a gentle reminder why you should be a good customer service provider? How about 11 reasons to keep a sharp focus on our customer and their experiences with your brand offering. Consider these:

  1. Keeping a customer is cheaper than finding new ones.
  2. If you have high churn, you are viewed as selling a commodity not a brand people care for. You will need to start to compete by lowering price which is not a winning game unless you are a volume behemoth like Walmart.
  3. Happy customers are more likely to become loyal customers, and loyal customers tend to become cheaper to maintain than servicing the needs of newbies that are partially willing to "try" you out.
  4. History is littered with brands who became too big for their own shoes, and started to forget about who made them big in the first place. The happiest brands are those that keep their customers close, and value their experiences as they do their bottom-line.
  5. What can your brand do, to make people say "I love [name of your brand here]". Make people become irrational about their feelings about your brand. The glow that radiates from people in love is infectious. Try telling a Harley-lover that a Honda is better.
  6. In the lean times, it's your brand advocates that will stick by you. Loyalty is difficult to create, and once you have it, you must hold on it, by frequently checking every customer service point within your company (At Rouxbe, the CEO of the company reads every contact form that comes in).
  7. Marketers should be part of the design process, so they understand the product that is being built and who it will satisfy. Slapping on marketing messages after the fact doesn't work. It's simply too late.
  8. Designers should be part of the marketing process, they are trained to be stand-ins for the end-user. Tap into their knowledge to keep the design and the message unified. Apple does this best.
  9. Do things differently. The best way to beat your competition is to stand out and be different. Be less annoying than your competition (maybe my bank machine can start to remember what language I speak, and not ask that question each time?), be more caring (don't tell phone customers they will get through faster by staying on the line, offer to call them back) and more human (WestJet flight attendants crack jokes when making the same old boring "fasten your tray tables" announcements).
  10. Be your own customer. Use your product before you unleash it to a market. Design things for yourself, and design the after-sales service for your family and friends. People who don't know jack about the intricate details about your product. You owe them a good experience.
  11. People talk. And in a myriad of new ways. If you run a business that has customers, you ought to be keeping an ear to the ground to listen to what people are saying about you. You should know about the various (new) ways people communicate.

And now a story: I am on the phone with Fido (BC, where I live, has only 3 major cell phone carriers, sad). I have a nasty customer experience. The agent is unprofessional, absent and not helpful. He has asked me to repeat my mobile number 3 times now. I have been handed from one department to the next, and no one seems to be able to be able to tell me why my account balance is not being accurately displayed online. The call ends with me hanging up in frustration when they finally decide to blame my computer (Mac) even though I KNOW that there is no way that could be the problem. My tweets during this call: Sweet revenge. Flash back, it used to be that when we would have a bad customer experience, we'd grumble about it to others, if the topic came up. Now, I tweet. Generation Is uses Twitter. A Tweet refers to messages exchanged on Twitter to let people know what you are doing right now. Or what you think or feel about a particular subject. (Learn about what is Twitter and why it's so popular and stats on it's usage). So get searching and find out what people are saying about you on Twitter! So be good to your customers. Bad stories are more fun to tell than good ones. Revenge is more important at times than spreading joy, and more and more,  your consumer understands the power she wields, in this hyper-connected world.