Friday, May 11, 2012

Bad News Travels Fast--So Be Good

News about bad customer experiences travels faster and farther on social media than ever before. A new American Express survey shows that people who use social media will tell 53 people about a bad customer service experience but tell only 42 people about good customer service.

The top four complaints about customer service: (1) rudeness, (2) being passed from department to department without resolving the issue, (3) having to wait too long for resolution, and (4) forcing consumers to repeatedly follow up to get a problem resolved.

This global survey revealed the increasing use of social media worldwide for customer service. In India, for instance, more than half of the respondents have tried social media to get attention for a service problem.

Take a cue from Zappos, which has a dedicated Twitter customer-service account, and more than 12,000 followers (and following). When problems crop up, as they do, Zappos uses every communication tool to inform and reassure customers. After Zappos was hacked and millions of customer names were exposed, the company first alerted employees to the problem and then publicly posted reports about what had happened and what the company was doing to fix things fast.

The bottom line for company bottom lines: Do your best on customer service and when problems arise, get them resolved as quickly and politely as possible.

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