Communication is important in customer service

Aileen Bennett recently wrote a blog post at theadvertiser.com looking how communication changed her experience with a certain local store. She was very impressed with the in-store customer service, but was not impressed with the lack of communication that ensued after she left. There was a void in communication, leaving the customer in the dark when it came to finding out information that was not in the store.

What do you think? Communication is important, and customer service occurs more places than just in person at the store. How can companies ensure that they’re effectivly communicating with their customers both in and out of stores?

Be where your community is

Amy Gahran recently posted a great post about forming online communities. If you’re looking to start an online community for your business, start by joining the other communities out there. Odds are the group of people you want to communicate and network with already have a place they frequent online. Join that space and begin interacting now so that when it comes time to build your own network, you have the thoughts and opinions of others in your community. You should also be allowing your employees to frequent these spaces online and communicate with others in these social networks.

What do you think? Do you have an example of joining a network and communicating with them before you start your own? Also, do you think your employees should have access to these social networking tools so that they can begin to build an online following and join the communities?

Market research helps measure progress

We know that market research is a vital part to any business, as it can help you understand what your customers need. It can also help you create benchmarks that to tell you if you are meeting your goals when it comes to your customers needs. Robert’s Atomic Blog looks at why market research is important in terms of measuring your success.

Market research creates benchmarks and helps you measure your progress
‘ Unless you measure you will not be able to properly gauge how well your business is performing. Early research can identify flaws in your service or areas where a product needs to be improved, by conducting regular market research it will identify if improvements are being made and, if positive, will in turn help motivate a development team.

Delta Arms Customer Service Reps with Red Coats (Again)

Facing a high rate of customer service complaints, Delta Airlines will reequip its customer service representatives with red coats. This move will hopefully enable flyers to easily locate customer service representatives to assist them with their travel.

Charisse Jones of USATODAY reports that, “the agents returned to New York’s JFK airport last summer and made their debut this month at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson. By summer’s end, 600 agents will be walking the concourses and gate areas of 14 airports, including LAX, Orlando and Washington’s Reagan National. The return of the elite agents is perhaps the most visible sign of an airline ramping up personal customer service rather than reducing it at a time when self check-in is the norm and passengers often have to pay extra to have an actual person book their flights.”

What other efforts, fashion aside, could Delta do to enhance its customer service teams to better serve its flyers?

Moms Using Social Media Grows

According to Mike Shields of Progressive Grocer, moms–especially new moms–are flocking to social networking sites. In a report by BabyCenter, moms of young children have reduced their time with magazines and newspapers and converted to the online networking sphere. Shields reports that many times moms have two sets of friends, the online group of peers and their friends and family. “Because these women are so social, and so information hungry, they often meet other mothers in similar child-rearing stages on sites like BabyCenter and all sorts of mommy blogs.”

How can social networking sites cater to new moms?

Real Life Social Media- Lessons learnt from Paris Hilton

I just saw Paris Hilton talking about her show “My new BFF” at the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Now I don’t have much in common with Ms Hilton. If I ran a show like my new BFF, I’d probably have to bribe my friends to be the contestants. But then, lately, I have had my share of ‘hungry tigers’ in the reality show that is my life.

I spent time with all of them (at many occasions – unreasonable amounts)- mostly because I felt I should if I could, and sometimes because of my foolhardy enthusiasm to meet people. (I forget I am not Paris Hilton with the luxury of riches).
And what inevitably happens is this: People contacted through referrals and friends or social networks- mostly looking for quick assistance- professional or otherwise- and then disappear- as if a literal vanishing cream has come out in the market that does the trick.

Now I do not expect anything from them. And am surely not fishing for gratitude or anything. But it had started happening too often in the past few months. And it seems being ‘professional’ and being ‘social’ are two mutually exclusive things.

Now here is the funny part- many of these guys are from the digital marketing industry or belong to a ‘social media marketing’ set up.

Read more on the funny but ironical escapades with these guys- and if you have had your experiences with these people.

What Not to Do with Online Marketing

Guy Kawasaki of Entrepreneur.com offers 13 tactics to avoid when trying to make your online marketing a success. What other points can you offer to keep online marketing a valuable resource for your business?

1. Forcing Immediate Registration: Requiring a new user to register is a reasonable request’after you’ve sucked him in. The sites that require registration as the first step are putting a barrier in front of adoption.

2. The Long URL: Say a site generates a URL that’s 70 characters long or more. When you copy, paste, and e-mail this URL, a line break is added. Then, people can’t click on the link or it only links to the first part of the URL.

3. Windows That Don’t Generate URLs: Have you ever wanted to point people to a page, but the page has no URL? Did the company decide it didn’t want referrals, links, and additional traffic?

4. The Unsearchable Web site: Some sites don’t offer a search option. If your site goes deeper than one level, it needs a search box.

For the rest of his theory, be sure to check out his original article here.

What does your business use Twitter for?

This post on USA Today discusses how many companies are taking advantage of real-time capabilities of Twitter to foster customer service. Comcast, PepsiCo, JetBlue Airways, and Whole Foods Market are some of the companies which have begun to take advantage of twitter and opening up direct communication with customers.

Elissa Fink, vice president of marketing at Tableau Software mentions, “The more ways you provide customers to contact you, you’re more likely to satisfy them.”

Consumers have become increasingly frustrated with wait times in call-centers, maybe it’s time we took another look at the traditional call-center and incorporate social media strategy in some of these older-styled companies.

What does your business use Twitter for?

This post on USA Today discusses how many companies are taking advantage of real-time capabilities of Twitter to foster customer service. Comcast, PepsiCo, JetBlue Airways, and Whole Foods Market are some of the companies which have begun to take advantage of twitter and opening up direct communication with customers.

Elissa Fink, vice president of marketing at Tableau Software mentions, “The more ways you provide customers to contact you, you’re more likely to satisfy them.”

Consumers have become increasingly frustrated with wait times in call-centers, maybe it’s time we took another look at the traditional call-center and incorporate social media strategy in some of these older-styled companies.

Customer service expectations changing with generations

Recently at the Kansas City Star, Steve Rosen recently wrote about the expectations that different generations have when it comes to customer service. His generation is used to kind customer service where employees are ready to help upon entrance to a store. But today’s youth looks to sales team as people who are there to check them out. He pointed to a survey done in 2007 that found that some companies actually discourage customer service due to the fact that customers will spend more with their company if they aren’t available through medians such as telephones.

What do you think companies can do today to change the attitude of the younger generation’s view of customer service? Will this generation be able to change their views of customer service as a hassle in the future?