Is Customer Service Declining or is it Higher Expectations?

I read this post on Jonathan Farrington’s blog entitled ” Are Standards of Customer Service Declining Rapidly? I Think They Probably Are!”  and I was in complete disagreement with it before reading the article.

After reading it over, I understood what he was meaning by the article that customer service is important and should be important to everyone at the team. I think it is now even further important when dealing with Customer 2.0.  Customer 2.0 expectations and sense of entitlement is at an all-time high.

Customer Service in Past

Think about your experiences dealing with customer service ten years ago.  How did you reach them,? Typically, it was thru complaint to a phone line, a letter to the company, maybe e-mail or a BBB complaint.  This usually involved you and the company having to work thru the issue.  Normally, few besides the people that heard from you or saw the interaction recognized it happened. You would work thru the issue and few outside that group heard about it.

Customer Service with Customer 2.0

Now if you have an issue numerous ways exist to voice displeasure.  Today, the original channels plus the internet and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc.  as just few ways that people  can reach out to businesses.  The Internet is available on a large amount of people’s phones making it easy for them to immediately send out a hostile tweet if you service isn’t up to par.  The amount of social sharing that goes on and the ability of the search engines to link these reviews to your product or service make it easy. It does not take long for a complaint to be seen by many more than just your small group.  The past example of only a few people hearing about the issue is now a thing of the past.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Large Companies such as Comcast, who previously were notoriously poor in dealing with customers, have attempted to use these channels to quickly assist.  However, how fast does a small mistake turn into something much larger when its seen by someone’s 500 followers. Comcast and the Comcast Cares team attempt to really fix issues and I have used them with success on numerous occasions.

Small companies can set up alerts using social media tools to be aware of service issues and be able to follow-up timely with customers. These are moments that you can really shine and make your business look like a star. Following up to fix issues that customers have by monitoring these channels is the future.

The Bad exists only if you decide to not listen to this issues. Responding to customer reviews and complaints should be part of your internal processes. If you cannot handle you should look to outside companies that can assist you. Remember that not every customer can be won back but your response can win you other customers that saw you response.

The Ugly –

Business that react in a terrible manner to reviews often don’t suceed in lasting very long. They need to be aware of fixing the issue in the business and take the critisim in a constructive fashion. You dont want to end up sounding like this recent Local Chicago example, The Black Sheep Restaurant and James Toland.

Later this week, we will write about the importance of Reputation Management and how to respond to complaints that occur on social networks.