Customer Service Tip: How to Treat Your Customer

Image result for customer serviceIn many industries the key to creating a great experience for your customer is the communication that takes place between the employee and the consumer. Taking the time to understand your customer’s needs is critical in gaining their trust and loyalty. If a customer has a problem, do not ignore this. Take the time to listen to their complaint and find the most efficient and genuine way to come to a conclusion. These decisions will be beneficial for your company as well as the consumer and the likelihood of them recommending your brand.

I recently came across a great article published by Help Scout, “How To Talk to Your Customers.” They discuss many great tips for focusing on the communication aspect of customer service. The dialogue between the employee and the customer is a key component in deciding whether the customer will walk away angry or happy.

“Great Communication is an art. Honing it to a keen edge is a science. (Help Scout)”

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As you can tell communication is not only critical, but can be difficult to master. One of the biggest takeaways from this article was the necessity of companies treating the customer as a human being. Consumers do not want to be treated generically. Taking a little bit of extra time to understand the customers’ point of view can make a world of difference. Help Scout broke communication down into three different segments, but I will just be focusing on the first piece, which is the tone of voice and message.

Here are some of my favorite tips from their article:Image result for customer service

  • Use positive language
  • Be brief but not brusque
  • Reply in a timely manner
  • Always use your customer’s name
  • Build templates for saved replies
  • Offer to help further
  • Show, don’t just tell
  • Talk to your customers like people

I think one of the most crucial communication tips is replying in a timely manner. No one wants to feel as if their problem is being ignored and that they are not a priority. A customer wants to know that you listened and are doing what you can to fix the complaint in a timely manner. Being brushed off is one of the fastest ways to make a customer angry, and more likely to have a poor experience overall with your store.

Another key to success is saving templates from previous replies. Most likely your employees will receive a similar type complaint more than once. Saving these replies will help to increase timeliness, while also allowing the employee to tweak the message to the customer specifically. With new employees joining the company these can also be used as training tools to bring new employees up to speed on your customer service expectations.

 

If you’d like to read more articles like the one I mentioned from Help Scout, follow me on twitter @britsly. I love to post great articles about customer service, experience, stories and tips from other great #cx bloggers!

Photo Credit: Service, Smiley Face, Thoughts

United Airlines: Customer Service and PR Crisis

Image result for united airlinesCustomer service and experience are key elements for a company to remain successful. With the rapid spread of news through social media platforms and websites companies can no longer hide if they make a mistake. Many people carry smartphones with them and with the press of a button can record or take photos of a situation that can drag a company’s image down in a matter of hours.

A couple of days ago United Airlines was faced with this issue. Videos went viral of a customer being forcibly removed from a flight. Even if the company felt that they had valid reasons for the passenger to be removed, the way in which they removed the customer was extremely harsh. In a matter of hours United Airlines was faced with a public relations and customer service nightmare. Damage control in this kind of situation needs to be quick and customer oriented. If you have not seen a clip of what happened here is a link: Passenger Video by The New York Times

The statement to the right is one that @united tweeted on April 10 in the aftermath of the incident, showing a statement by the companies CEO, Oscar Munoz:

An article by Julie Crewsell and Sapna Maheshwari published in The New York Times listed some of the facts about this case. The passenger, Dr. David Dao, is now being treated for injuries in a Chicago hospital. He is already represented by attorneys who will undoubtedly be pressing charges against United Airlines. Not only will they face a lawsuit, but face complaints about the company changing their stance about this incident.

The company has since taken a hit to their stocks and have received rapid complaints and criticism through different social media platforms. Many consumers have gone to Twitter to complain about this incident. Not only did United Airlines mistreat this paying customer, but they have now also ruined their reputation regarding customer service. In my previous post about social media backlash I listed some ways that companies can recover from these sorts of situations, with the example of Pepsi who also recently faced social media criticism for their advertisement.

Physically abusing a customer is not the answer for a situation where the plane was overbooked. Companies like United Airlines will end up paying millions in a lawsuit like this, instead of offering rewards to incentivize customers to take the next plane. Taking volunteers and providing a guest service attitude of making the customer happy is the way to go in these sorts of situations. Now United Airlines will most likely be paying out millions for this situation, which could have easily been avoided with the right policies and procedures.

 

What are your thoughts on United Airlines treatment of this customer? Are you likely to travel with them in the future? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit: United Logo, CEO Statment

Cartwheel: How to Increase Your Experience at Target and Save Money

Image result for target Target is a great company aiming to exceed customer expectations. Whether you’re shopping in their store, online, or even placing an in-store pickup order, they go above and beyond to ensure you have a memorable experience. With the impact of the Social Age, Target is a company that knew they needed to keep up with the impact of smartphones and social media platforms. Making the shopping experience easier for customers’ as well as helping them save money is one of Target’s goals.

In comes Cartwheel! (Target’s Mobile App). Easily downloadable onto any smartphone (just head to the App Store or Google play) and you will instantly start saving money on your next trip to the store. From its launch date in 2013 to present day Cartwheel has saved Target customers a whopping $931,146,057. This number will continue to rise with the plethora of offers uploaded daily to the app.

Here are Target’s three main goals for Cartwheel:

  1. Choose offers on the things you love (5-50% off the price of hundreds of items)
  2. Scan your barcode at checkout
  3. Save money, feel good

For those of you who do not currently have the app, I’ll break it down a little further on how you can start saving today and increase your overall experience:

  • You can choose to sign in with Facebook, Google, or create a Target account
  • Once you sign in the savings begin
  • Tabs are broken into three groups:
    • For You: Suggests discounts based on previous purchases
    • Categories: Fast and easy way to sort through discounts
    • Collections: Featured discounts like; Easter, Hot Deals, Top Grocery
  • If you want to add an item just select and it’ll add to your checkout cart
  • Want to see if an item has a discount?
    • Click the scanner on the top of the screen and scan the barcode of the item
  • The more you use the app the more offers you will be allowed to add to your cart
  • Check the My List tab to keep track of your offers as you shop
  • Ready to checkout?
    • Just hit the bottom checkout button and the cashier will scan the barcode
  • Now you just saved some money in a simple and easy way with the app

Target is creating a great shopping experience, and tailoring deals and discounts to the needs of their customer. The more you shop and use the app, the more specified your deals will become. It is clear that the customer is one of their top priorities.

Next time you’re on your #targetrun make sure you download Cartwheel. You’ll save money with this user friendly app, and have a great shopping experience!

Photo Credit: Target, Cartwheel, Phone

Jamba Juice: Great Customer Service and Healthy Choices

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I have been a fan of Jamba Juice for many years, with their great service and different options for healthy drinks and snacks. I have always encountered friendly and knowledgeable employees, who are willing to help and answer any questions you may have pertaining to the companies menu options. Jamba Juice is not only committed to providing great products, but is also committed to their customer. Their FAQ’s site covers many questions a customer may have, and improving the overall customer experience. They stand by their statement:

“Our customers have always inspired our quest for the perfect products and experiences – and we’re downright passionate about improving the little things”

Jamba Juice also provides a Jamba Insider Rewards program, and here are just some of the perks:Jamba Juice Rewards

  1. $3 off with every 35 points
  2. Personalized offers
  3. Free small Birthday smoothie
  4. $3 off your next visit, just for joining!

As you can tell they are committed to satisfying their customers, and offer incentives for brand loyalty. Even today I was offered a perk I wasn’t aware of: “Thirsty Thursday.” What did this mean for me? My medium smoothie was upgraded to a large at no extra charge! This made my experience that much greater.

Jamba Juice does not only have an array of smoothies to choose from, but also has expanded menu options including; Energy Bowls, Shots, Juices, Tasty Bites, Jamba Kids, and Boosts. One thing I always wanted to try was a Wheatgrass Shot, which I did today and was pleasantly surprised. The employee recommended taking the shot with an orange slice on the side, which was much needed. Here are some of the benefits of each of the shots they offer. I will definitely be trying the Orange Ginger Cayenne Shot next time.

Wheatgrass ShotWheatgrass Shot

  • Non-Gluten
  • Non-Dairy
  • Vegan
  • No artificial preservatives
  • No artificial flavors
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • 0g trans fat
  • Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Iron

Ginger ShotsOrange Ginger Cayenne Shot

  • Fresh Orange Juice
  • Fresh Ginger Juice
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron

 

This is just a highlight of the Shots that Jamba Juice provides. Their website provides so much more detail and information on all of their tasty and healthy products. Their amazing menu coupled with the customer focused attitude of the employees, guarantees a great experience when you walk through their doors.

 

Are you a fan of Jamba Juice? Next time you are on your smartphone, sign up for the Jamba Insider Rewards program and start receiving perks today!

Photo Credit: Jamba Juice, Insider Rewards, Wheatgrass, Orange Ginger Cayenne

Can Controversial Advertisements Affect Customer Loyalty?

Image result for pepsiThe Social Age leaves no room for mistakes for many companies. In the past a company’s advertisement may have not reached a huge audience. However, with the magnitude and influence social media platforms provide, a company’s image can be damaged in 24 hours once backlash is picked up by consumers who slam the company immediately. These advertisements become viral and are picked up by main stream news channels and from there can affect consumers’ thoughts about the company as a whole.

Image result for kendall jenner pepsiI thought about this topic with the recent backlash that Pepsi received with their new advertisement featuring Kendall Jenner. If you’re interested in watching the commercial here is the link: https://youtu.be/dA5Yq1DLSmQ.

Just doing a quick search of this commercial on Google I found many articles discussing the negative thoughts surrounding this ad. Just a few of the headlines are as follows:

  • “Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial pulled from air: ‘Clearly we missed the mark’”
  • “Pepsi’s commercial falls flat – it was a marketing nightmare”
  • “Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi Commercial Draws Controversy”
  • “Pepsi destroyed for Kendall Jenner Protest Commercial”

As you can tell Pepsi is now facing a social media nightmare, and will most likely be doing damage control in the coming weeks. Understanding your audience is a key element to success for many companies. Most likely Pepsi will not just be receiving negative feedback from customers, but also take a hit financially. This much negativity allows a consumer to question their loyalty to this brand.

How to Recover From Social Media Fails” by Dominique Jackson lists some keys for companies to follow when faced with backlash from consumers:

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  1. Fix the problem
  1. Act Quickly
  1. Admit you made a mistake
  1. Don’t become defensive
  1. Put procedures in place to prevent a repeat

Recovering from a social media nightmare can be difficult for companies, but following some of these tips will allow the company to fix their image more quickly. Pepsi is not the only company that faces this current issue, and definitely will not be the last to deal with damage control. However, brand loyalty is what makes a company survive, and listening to your consumer is key to fixing a mistake.

 

How do you feel about this recent Pepsi advertisement? Are you more or less likely to purchase this brand product? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit: Pepsi

Photo Credit: Pepsi Commercial

Photo Credit: Social Media

Showrooming Has Changed Customer Service

Image result for showroomingThe Social Age has changed the way many consumers shop, and compare prices. Competition is heightening, and companies need to step up their game in order to compete. Now more than ever the service a customer receives in a store will determine whether they will walk through your doors. Online competitors like Amazon are dominating and changing the way customers shop.

In comes the concept of showrooming:

Showrooming is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store or other offline setting, and then buying it online, sometimes at a lower price

A company now doesn’t only have other brick and mortar retailers to compete with, but online competitors as well. Showrooming has gained traction over the past five to ten years, changing the industry forever. With many people carrying their smartphones with them, they have the tools they need to compare prices at their fingertips.

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Now customers aren’t using your company to buy your product, but using your store to see their desired item in person before making their purchase online. No longer does the customer have to deal with in person interactions, when they can just hop on their phone, compare prices, and purchase. With this change in technology and consumer buying behavior comes many company policy changes. Numerous companies have changed policies and introduced “price matching” in order to restore their customer loyalty.

Price matching is just one of many ways companies can combat showrooming. Here are some other strategies that companies can use that Rhonda Abrams listed in her article for USA Today:

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  1. Offer benefits
  2. Hold events
  3. Create a membership program
  4. Engage with customers on social media
  5. Provide great service

Providing great service is more important than ever. If a customer has a negative experience in your store, then they are much more likely to turn to online retailers. Providing an excellent customer experience is what will keep a customer loyal, and offering things like memberships, price matching, and events will keep your customers coming back for more.

 

How likely are you to use the showrooming technique? What kinds of items are you more likely to compare prices on; electronics, clothing, home goods? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photo: Showrooming

Photo: Showrooming Cartoon

Photo: Price Match Guarantee

Uber & Lyft: Changing the Customer Experience

Image result for uber and lyft changing customer experienceI have to admit initially I was a little skeptical about how Uber and Lyft could change the industry. I wasn’t even sure if I would want to hop into someone’s personal car and trust that they would take me to my destination. However, that left me, along with many others with the only other comparable option; a taxi. Taxi’s have dominated the industry for years, but with the disruptive technology that Uber and Lyft brought to the market, taxi companies are losing their competitive advantage.

In the Social Age, almost everyone has access to a smartphone. Making the dominance of Uber and Lyft that much more present. All you have to do is log into either  of their apps, press a button to get picked up and you are on your way. I try to avoid getting into a taxi at all costs anymore. These two companies have changed the industry as well as the customer’s overall experience.

Here is a little breakdown of Uber, “Sign Up to Drive or Tap and Ride”:

  • Download the app and create an account
  • Choose your ride and set your location
  • 24/7 availability
  • Rate your driver (I’m sure most wish they could have rated a taxi experience)
  • Levels of experience:
    • Economy (UberX, UberXL, UberSELECT)
    • Premium (UberBLACK, UberSUV, UberLUX)
    • Accessibility (accessible for wheelchairs, or carseats)
    • Carpool (UberPOOL)

Here is a breakdown of Lyft, “A ride whenever you need one”:

  • Download the app and create an account
  • Choose ride, set location, and see the cost before committing
  • Option to tip your driver in the app
  • Amp: Light up emblem that sits in the dashboard
  • Levels of experience:
    • Lyft Plus (6 or more passengers)
    • Lyft Premier (luxury sadan)
    • Lyft Line (Carpool option)

Image result for uber and lyft car decalsAs you can tell both of these companies provide similar services, and many drivers are registered with both companies, which you can tell by the posted emblems in their cars. I think the competitive advantage these companies provide compared to taxi’s is the option to differentiate your experience. There is a car available for every situation, as well as different sized groups. I have used both Uber and Lyft and have never been disappointed by either company.

Next time you’re on your smartphone download the Uber or Lyft app, depending on your preference, or if you prefer to sign up online they both have great websites. Your ride experience will be much more pleasant, and make traveling around that much easier and enjoyable!

Photo: Uber/Lyft

Photo: Car Decals