Tag Archive for capture customer feedback

When your Customers are Talking

It’s Time to Listen  

The single biggest complaint of customers is that salespeople talk too much and don’t listen enough. Poor salespeople dominate the talking, while successful salespeople dominate the listening.

 

It’s possible for you to talk too much, but it’s rarely possible to listen too much.

 

When salespeople are excellent listeners, prospects and customers feel comfortable and secure with them. They buy more readily and more often.

 

Why Salespeople Stop Listening

Salespeople have a lot to say because they’ve developed so much expertise. However, the fastest way to irritate a prospect is by talking too much and listening too little. Furthermore, salespeople have listened to the customer’s side so often, they can predict what the customer will say. Result: They learn less about customers’ changing needs than an effective listener would uncover.

 

Benefits of Good Listening

Listening builds trust. The best salespeople are concerned with customer needs and help them purchase products or services in a cost-effective way.

Listening lowers resistance. It reduces tension and defensiveness on the part of customers who realize they aren’t going to be pushed into making a purchase.

 

Listening is Not Hearing

Listening is different from hearing. Hearing is what people do when a bore starts talking. Listening is an active activity in which salespeople pay genuine attention to what customers or prospects say.

 

 

 

 

Here are some tips that help promote active listening:

  1. Show that you’re listening by giving short verbal feedback phrases like, “I see” or “Go on.” Nod your head. Use body language to show the customer you’re interested in what’s being said.
  2. Don’t interrupt. Ideally, the only time you should break up the customer’s conversation stream is if you need clarification on what’s being said.
  3. Avoid distractions. Focus your attention on the prospect or customer in a calm, relaxed atmosphere.
  4. Restate. This is repeating verbatim all or part of what a customer has said while placing emphasis on one part of it. The main purpose of restating is to get prospects to give more information and to let them know you are listening. Additional information can be the difference in making a sale or not.
  5. Ask pertinent questions.If you understand correctly, the customer will agree. If not, he or she will have a chance to clarify.
  6. Summarize. Active listening involves mentally summarizing points that have been made. Try to state these brief summaries at key moments in your presentations. Summarizing also lets you take charge of the direction of the conversation.
  7. Try to avoid arguing.A good listener is there to find out what the customer thinks and where she or he is coming from. If the customer wants to hear your opinion, he or she will ask. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to remain silent, especially if a customer is venting.
  8. Empathy is key. The way we do this is by mirroring one another’s behavior and language. Use the same words your customers do, in the way they use them, so they are assured you really understand their problems.
  9. Simplifying terms for self-service. If you want to help customers help themselves, don’t be fancy with the language. Drop the brand voice and mimic your customer’s approach.
  10. And the best advice of all…Remember the golden rule of listening. It’s possible to say too much. It’s rarely possible to listen too much.

 

 

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Customer Service Gone Wrong

What You Need to Avoid

 

 

Why does negative news spread so much faster than positive?

Because we all love a good story! But when it happens to you, it’s not so funny.

People love reading about bad customer service stories. They go viral because we’ve all been there – on the phone desperately needing help from customer service, or waiting in an endless line at the airport.

When you read about a bad customer experience, you feel empathy (and maybe some outrage) on behalf of the wronged party. It’s maddening when companies disregard the same customers they’re meant to serve, and it’s a near-universal experience.

Check out these five horribly bad customer service examples and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Walmart’s Pricing Blunder

You walk into your local Walmart and see a Lego set you want to buy for your son. You notice that the item at the store costs 35% more than the same exact Lego set on Walmart’s own website. What? Yes really. That’s exactly what happened to Clark Howard. But when he asked the team to meet their company’s online price, Walmart refused to price-match.

So he pulled up his phone and ordered the product online for an in-store pick-up. Howard says, “My son and I stood there and watched as a different employee came a few minutes later, picked the item up off the shelf, and brought it back to the holding spot for pickup.” Because Howard didn’t receive the email confirmation from Walmart.com until the following day, he couldn’t bring the item home that day. Instead, Howard had to go back to the store the next day — inconvenient, to say the least. Although Walmart doesn’t require that store managers match online prices, it would have been the best (and only) response in this scenario.

Takeaway

When companies prioritize a policy above the needs of customers, it shows. If you’re not sure how to respond in a scenario, think about what’s the kindest, most honest thing to do. This can easily prevent really bad customer service stories from happening on your watch.

2. Comcast’s New Low

There are lots of reasons not to like cable providers. You always have to argue for a fair rate, and most of the time, you don’t get what you need. But even in this not-so-helpful industry, Comcast is America’s most hated company.

In 2015, when Lisa Brown called to cancel the cable TV portion of her service, she was transferred to a retention specialist specifically trained to talk her out of it. She didn’t back down, though. Much to her surprise and agitation, the next service bill she received was addressed not to her husband, Ricardo Brown, but to “Asshole Brown.”

Just days after Brown’s story went viral, three more customers of the TV cable provider came forward reporting their names had been changed to derogatory words. Although Comcast leaders apologized to the customers and offered a two year refund, the incident still made waves. Because customers hate Comcast’s pricing model, and so many people can relate to the frustration, the story resonated with millions.

Takeaway

This bad customer service example typifies a work culture where employees are so fed up, they’re willing to sacrifice their jobs to make a point, and get a laugh. The best way to cultivate an empathetic customer service team is to treat the team with empathy, too. This sense of shared appreciation and respect will naturally extend to customers.

 

 

3. Target’s Trolling Incident

Not too long ago Target announced that they were changing how girls and boys items were advertised in their stores. In an attempt to create a more supportive and open environment for children, Target removed gender-based signs in some of their kids’ sections. Although a lot of people appreciated the change, some customers saw it as a move away from tradition for the sake of “political correctness” and commented on Target’s Facebook page.

Soon after, a Facebook user pretended to be Target’s help desk and trolled these unhappy customers. The Facebook user changed their name to “Ask For Help” and used the Target bullseye as their profile picture. They wrote snarky replies which did not bode well with the already livid customers. The perception was that Target didn’t care about their views.

Takeaway

As customer service expands into social media, there’s an increased risk for fake accounts that enrage (rather than delight) customers. Vigilance is the key to preventing a bad customer service example at your business. Always keep an eye on social media accounts. Although it can be difficult to stop these scenarios from happening, the quicker you shut them down, the better.

4. United’s Big Goof Up

United Airlines’ first big goof up happened in 2008 when United employees recklessly damaged the guitar of musician David Carroll. Sitting in his airplane seat, Carroll saw employees throwing around his guitar on the tarmac, powerless to protect his property. Like any concerned customer, Carroll went through the proper channels to report both the behavior and subsequent damage. “I notified three employees, who showed complete indifference toward me,” says Carroll.

The customer service experience was so appalling, it inspired Carroll to write and record a song called “United Breaks Guitars.” This musical rendering of his bad customer experience has been on YouTube for eight years, and it’s received over 17 million views! Employee indifference to the company’s mistakes ballooned into a PR nightmare for United.

Takeaway

Don’t you remember the Golden Rule? Treat others how you want to be treated. Empathy is the key to building a successful customer service team. If employees don’t care about the mistakes their company makes — and how they affect individuals — they’re not going to be invested in positive change.

Practice empathy with customers by asking more questions and mirroring their answers. No matter how difficult the situation, they’ll feel heard.

5. Gasp’s Retail Gaffe

Have you ever been in a shop and gotten snubbed by the staff? When Keara O’Neil went to an Australian clothing store called Gasp looking for bridesmaids dresses, the salesperson was pushy and mean, implying O’Neil didn’t have good enough taste to appreciate the company’s dresses.

O’Neil followed up with management over email who ferociously defended the salesperson. The Age reported, “In an email, the retailer asked her to do Gasp a favor, stop wasting the store’s time and shop elsewhere because she was not a ‘fashion forward consumer’ who could appreciate a ‘retail superstar’ with ‘unparalleled ability’.” The salesperson also called O’Neil unrepeatable names in a leaked internal email and and warned other “rude and obnoxious clowns” to stay out.

Gasp thought that this incident was a good thing because of the press the company received, but research indicates otherwise: a horrible customer experience can trigger a negative spiral of bad customer service that perpetuates indefinitely.

Takeaway

The adage “all press is good press” doesn’t apply to customer service — going viral for terrible service isn’t worth the momentary traffic boost. When you try to justify your (or your company’s) behavior, you excuse toxic behavior and set a new baseline for bad customer service.

The Bottom Line: Always Put your Customers First

 

Unfortunately every person has a terrible customer service story to tell. Even when it’s not as dramatic or extreme, customers experience terrible service every day, and it slowly erodes a company’s reputation.

The best way to tackle bad customer service stories is to prevent them in the first place. When you create a supportive environment grounded in respect and customer appreciation, you’ll never find yourself among these negative examples.

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Net Promoter Score & Social Media: A Happy Couple

 

Many companies utilize Net Promoter Score to analyze their customer base. If you’re not familiar with Net Promoter Score, it’s very simple. By asking customers one simple question – How likely would you be to recommend this company to a friend or family member – and using a 10-point rating scale, customers can easily be grouped into three categories:

 

1. Promoters: these customers are typically rating this question at a 9 or 10, meaning that they are loyal fans of your brand. These customers are most likely to spread the word, refer your company, and keep coming back.

 

2. Passives: customers in this group often give ratings of 7 or 8 when asked this question. They may be customers who return on a regular basis, but they’re not tried and true customers. Something is keeping them from becoming true fans and can be swayed to do business with your competition.

 

3. Detractors: these are worrisome customers, as they will typically rate this question with a 6 or below. They have been dissatisfied in some way and their negative word of mouth may hurt your business.

 

We’ve seen this type of question asked of customers in feedback programs, as well as on mystery shopping reports. However, many marketers are starting to realize that this data can also be gleaned from social media research.

 

Incorporating data collected in social media can be helpful in measuring and monitoring your Net Promoter Score. Most programs offer a sentiment rating for each piece of conversation collected. While sentiment is not always 100% accurate when done automatically, manual investigation can be a valuable time expenditure.

 

Social media conversations are unstructured, and people tend to be more honest when sharing thoughts and feedback with friends and family than they might be on a customer feedback survey. This is a great opportunity to find honest feedback and incorporate it into your Net Promoter Score. To improve your numbers, there are some things you can do using social media:

 

1. Seek out those who are in the passive group and find out what might turn them into Promoters. Are there customer service issues or policies that need to be changed? Are your product offerings lacking in some way? By finding these customers online, you can learn more about their likes and dislikes and turn them into superfans.

 

2. Do some competitive intelligence. By researching what customers are saying about your competition, you’ll get insight into what customers want and need from you. In the same vein, research your passive customers using social media as well – what sites do they frequent? Do they talk about your competitors? If so, what do they like more about your competitors? Take time to analyze the information and you may find the key to turning the passives into promoters.

 

3. Compare your Net Promoter Score from traditional methods to that of your social media sentiment.  Often times results from customer feedback surveys will be from the two polar opposites – super fans and those who are extremely dissatisfied. Incorporating social media data and gauging sentiment will let you know if your Net Promoter Score is an accurate representation of your customer base.

 

It’s not foolproof and not a be-all-end-all indicator of customer satisfaction, but being aware of your Net Promoter Score is important. Using social media conversations to complement your NPS collection methodology can increase your odds of accuracy and help you gain the insight needed to ensure that your customers keep returning and spread the word about your business.

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