Chew on this – “80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices … people update anywhere, anytime …imagine what that means for bad customer experiences.” (www.socialnomics.com)
Now, remember the last time you got really angry about something and were so glad later on that nobody was around to see you lose control. Then, ponder the above statistic again and think about all the people who will tell everyone who follows them on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and everything else that they had a horrible experience, way before they calm down.
Now, imagine that the name of the company or person they are texting, posting, or talking about is you. If you don’t find this terrifying, you must be awfully customer-centric or you’re fooling yourself.
The idea that people will post their anger about their customer experience while it is still happening is terrifying. How many times have we had to deal with the wrath of an angry customer who contacts us or our call center and lets loose with high-octane screaming and frustration about what happened? The only person who knows about that extreme anger is the CSR or other employee who is talking to them. Also, if we fixed the situation, their stories to friends about the incidents would be tempered by time and would include a happy ending.
The worst time to have somebody complain about your product or customer service is when the anger and frustration is still white-hot. And today, using social media to tell others about their anger is equivalent to somebody standing in the middle of your office or store and calling everybody they know to complain. In the old days, the anger might have calmed down by the time they got to the tenth person. Now, they can tell thousands (My daughter, Hannah, has 590 “friends” on Facebook. If Hannah complains about your product, 590 people hear about it instantly. Terrifying).
Even if they cool off a little, the customer you just ticked off may be one of the 200,000,000 bloggers out there. And statistics show that 54% of these bloggers post new information daily and 35% of bloggers post their opinions about products, services and companies.
What can we do about this?
- Make a firm commitment to become customer-centric by implementing new procedures, systems and processes where the customer is the most important person in the conversation or the process. If you’re not sure how to do this, here are two books you can start with: Passionate & Profitable: Why customer strategies fail and 10 steps to do them right by Lior Arussy and The Best Service is No Service: How to liberate your customers from customer service, keep them happy & control costs by Bill Price & David Jaffe.
- Make a major effort to map your customer processes. Identify the dozens, if not hundreds of touch points where your company touches the customer in any way (even those where the department or person doesn’t touch the customer directly). Identify which are most important and find out where you need the most improvement by talking to your customers. If you can’t do the surveying yourself, hire somebody (Arussy’s Strativity Group is a great consultant on these issues)
- Get on Twitter NOW and set up a way for your customers to reach you there.
- Train, train, train your customer-facing people in techniques to diffuse situations when they are in the white-hot stage. A calm customer with a problem is less likely to tell the world than an angry customer with a problem.
People now trust their peer’s recommendations over advertising by a factor of more than five-to-one. You should be terrified.
Tags: angry customers, bad experience, Bad health insurance behavior, bad service, customer expectations, customer experience, Customer Experience Ownership, customer service, customer service training, Expectations have changed, impersonal service, social media, social media & customer service, telling everybody, terrifying social media, upset customers