A little research today although frankly it falls into the range of that common sense thing we talk about from time to time. The good folks at American Express have published some findings on how social media raises the stakes for customer service. You can read the full release herebut I wanted to focus on one aspect of their work in particular.
Not surprisingly, Americans are growing more frustrated with customer service and businesses are hearing about it as consumers tell an increasing number of people about both their positive and poor service experiences. How many of the folks you follow have reported on an interaction with a company? What I found of particular note were the things Amex cited as the big four service gripes:
- Rudeness: An insensitive or unresponsive customer service representative – 33%
- Passing the Buck: Being shuffled around with no resolution of the issue – 26%
- The Waiting Game: Waiting too long to have an issue resolved – 10%
- Being Boomeranged: Forced to continually follow-up on an issue – 10%
They’re all sort of cousins in the “we just don’t care about you as much as we do our own bottom line” family. The key is to align the interests of the folks providing customer service of any sort with the customers themselves. Pay them based on positive feedback, not on incremental sales. Nearly half the respondents said that they will use social media to praise a company for a great experience (which sort of flies in the face of the widely held assumption that only complainers go public). Nearly an equal number will vent publicly about a negative experience. With other research telling us how most folks now do their pre-purchase research about brands and companies using social tools, none of us can afford to have anything out there that convinces consumers to do business elsewhere.
The study shows that folks who have used social media for customer service in the last year are willing to spend substantially more with companies they believe provide great service. They are also far more vocal about service experiences, both good and bad. Why aren’t we doing everything we can to be sure about the outcome? Given the above “Big Four,” there’s still a way to go.