Social media is enabling customers to complain like never before – are you ready for “customer revenge”?
When was the last time you took revenge for poor customer service?
When a disgruntled BA customer recently paid for a promoted tweet to complain about the loss of his fathers luggage by the airline – it got sent to the top of BA’s Twitter feed and the feeds of related companies across the world.
It went on to gain more than 25,000 impressions within 6 hours, with commentators heralding it as a ‘new trend in online feedback.’
You would think that BA would have tried to limit any brand damage with a swift response – but alas they didn’t.
They added fuel to the fire by taking four hours to respond via a direct message on the social networking site that read: ‘Sorry for the delay in responding, our twitter feed is open 09:00-17:00 GMT.’
Another example of the general consumer fighting back is the recent news coverage of an enterprising man, who got so fed up with cold marketing calls that he set up his own premium rate phone number so that the companies that called him got charged 10p per minute, pocketing him over £300 ($475) to-date.
So you have to ask yourself – how sweet is revenge?
Well, whilst the customer may get some short-term satisfaction, both the brand and the consumer are losers in the long run. The company risks losing business through brand damage and the customer has had to go to great lengths and financial costs to resolve an issue, which should have been handled swiftly in the first place.
The business 9-5pm ‘computer says no’ mentality no longer has a place in today’s 24/7/365 fast paced world, where consumers expect constant availability and customer support but the key issue for many organisations is how they offer a consistent customer service across all customer contact channels.
Social media is helping spread customer complaints
Before you review your customer service strategy, below are key questions to consider:
1. What technology do you have in place to support your contact centre staff?
How can you ensure that all contact centre staff are up-to-date with the latest information / offers on your products and services?
How do staff shifts affect the transferal of knowledge – how is this communicated?
Will customers calling out-of-hours receive a poorer quality of customer service?
2. How do you handle customer enquiries out of office hours?
If your phone lines are only open 8 hours per day – are customers able to self-serve answers to their questions quickly and easily on your website or other channels?
Do the majority of your customers contact you for pre and post sales support during work hours or do they frequently require assistance out of office hours?
How do you handle overseas customers in different time zones?
3. What channels do your customers use to contact you?
The contact centre is only one channel available for customers to contact you over – how are you handling enquiries across other channels like the web, mobile, e-mail and social platforms?
4. Are you listening to your customer’s feedback and complaints?
How quickly and efficiently are you responding across all of your channels?
Do you have a mechanism in place to ensure you monitor customer feedback so you are able to improve the quality of your products and services and level of response in the future?
Delivering a high quality round-the-clock customer service isn’t easy. Without the right technology in place to support a customer service strategy, organisations will constantly fail to meet or exceed their customer’s expectations and in light of the ‘new trend in online feedback’ – ignore social channels at your peril!
About the AuthorPeter McKean is founder and Managing Director of Synthetix Ltd – a leading provider of multi-channel online customer service solutions. Founded in 2001, Synthetix develops integrated web self-service, call-centre knowledge-bases and live chat. With over 20 years of experience, Peter regularly shares insight and best practise tips for online customer service deployment.