This might sound odd to say as a writer, but I absolutely love television. While I can certainly spend hours poring through the next great best-seller—particularly when it comes from Jodi Picoult—there is nothing quite like plopping down on the couch after a hellacious work day and enjoying a guilty pleasure on TV.
And when someone messes with this part of my day, simply put… I don’t do well.
Let me paint you a picture of last Wednesday. While many were out celebrating the 3rd of July—apparently that is becoming an even bigger holiday than the 4th of July—I was very much looking forward to catching up on my DVR and explaining to my fiancé why “The Bachelorette” is not, in fact, scripted. Yup; I’m one of those.
But instead of showing me Desiree’s romantic date with Drew, all I saw was a bright blue screen. No cable. No DVR. No way to escape. My patience had been pushed, especially since this was the umpteenth time in the past few weeks that our cable box wouldn’t turn on. So I did what any normal person does on the 3rd of July; I spent my night with my cable provider’s call center.
Here’s the thing. I know a bit too much about call centers, though I guess that’s what you get after covering the technology sector for years. I know all their tricks, including keeping people like me on hold for such an excessive amount of time in the hope that I will give up.
I won’t bore you with the agonizing details of the 42-minute call that ensued—one that involved a lot of on-hold music and statements like “We completely understand why you are frustrated.” I won’t get into detail about the identical conversations I had with four different agents as I kept demanding to speak with someone who would say more than “Everything looks good on our end. Are you sure you rebooted?”
So finally, I did what any customer who hates wasting a chunk of change each month does. I told them to put me on the phone with someone who handles customer retention as I would like to cancel my service. Simply put, I was so exhausted from being placated as opposed to being given a solution.
A lot of complaining later, I was able to get a free month of cable and DVR service. I also got the provider to agree to send a technician out to our house to swap out our boxes. They even gave us a brand new HD cable. Yup. I’m gloating.
I have to say that the customer retention agent was truly wonderful—a breath of fresh air if you will. She listened, she understood my frustration and she offered a solution. And in that moment, my faith in my provider was renewed again. It was just unfortunate I had to go through so many hurdles to get resolution.
Here’s the thing to remember about your customers. It doesn’t matter where they find you—from your call center to your blog to your social media networks—you need to make sure your customers feel heard; after all business live and die off of repeat business. Remember that your customers don’t want to be handed niceties when they are really looking for better service from you.
Your customers are also not as loyal as you think. In fact, 60 percent of consumers believe that companies have not taken steps to improve their customer service while 70 percent of Americans are willing to spend 13 percent more on a company that provides excellent customer service.
Content marketing is oftentimes your first line of defense against poor customer service.
Use your social platforms to quell customer concerns before they escalate and hit your contact center. Canvass your blog to respond to any comments and encourage customer interaction by posing questions. Hold a webinar every now and then so that you are giving your key stakeholders ample opportunity to engage with you and share their opinions.
The adage might sound old but it still rings very true—the customer is always right. And never forget that your customers are more armed and dangerous than ever before.