We recently looked at the power customers hold when they publicly shame companies on social media.
Here, we’ll look at three of these shameful moments, all brought to light by the Twitter hashtag #CustomerServiceFail.
We’re certainly not looking to add to the shame. Instead, we’re going to explain how companies can avoid it. Each of the challenges we highlight below represent a common problem, and each have clear and actionable software solutions that small and midsize businesses (SMBs) can adopt.
Tweet 1: @Virmata Might As Well Talk to the Hand
THE PROBLEM: Customer service queries falling through the cracks
Few things irritate customers more than repeating themselves or needing to resubmit another request for the same problem. Regardless of the apologies that may follow, the customer invariably remembers the feeling of having been ignored or overlooked, and that’s what characterizes their experience. Whether these incidents take place individually or cumulatively over time, these experiences will drive customers away.
Worse yet, when these bad experiences become high-profile complaints on social media, they can “infect” the perception others have of the same company. That’s how social media can amplify the significance of even a single lost query or dropped service ticket. The only real solution is to prevent such oversights from happening in the first place.
THE FIX: Customer service software and staff trained to use it
Of all the amazing things customer service software adds to an organization, the most important thing is organization itself. Ticketing systems are central to most service platforms and they’re what help companies stay organized and prevent requests (like Gauri’s above) from falling through the cracks.
It’s worth pointing out that while organization is its own reward, it’s also necessary to improve efficiency. In fact, companies that request our help choosing their first customer service platform are twice as likely to mention efficiency problems as companies that already have a system in place.
It seems unlikely that a bank wouldn’t have any customer service software in place, so we’ll give HDFC the benefit of the doubt. But then, how can we explain the disappearance of @Virmata’s four requests? One possibility is that they have the software, but haven’t trained staff to use it properly. It’s also possible that the staff is properly trained, yet company culture has failed to incentivize the following of service protocols.
There’s some evidence of this in HFCD Life’s tweets above. Rather than ask @Virmata to recount her problem for a fifth time via DM, the bank could have searched their service software for recent tickets opened under that name. And that brings to mind yet another important reason to have customer service software: the ability to search for past and on-going queries with a variety of search tags and variables.
Tweet 2: @KWilt96 Waits and Waits for Wi-Fi
THE PROBLEM: No communication between service department and third-party partners
As noted in the discussion of the first Tweet above, customer service departments need a high degree of organization. This is so true that an unorganized customer service department could be more accurately renamed as a customer disservice department! Organization really is key.
It’s one thing for large companies to run an organized department internally. What can SMB service departments do when they need to incorporate the activities of their third-parties—such as subcontractors, channel partners and shipping companies—into their organization’s activities? That’s when things get tricky.
THE FIX: Integrated customer service platforms
We can’t say exactly how Krystle’s ISP, Flow, dropped the ball. Nevertheless, there it is, rolling around on Twitter for all to see. We reached out to Krystle and learned she was told by Flow that a technician would arrive between noon and five. After waiting two days, she managed to fix it herself.
“They didn’t let me know they would be late or call to apologize. They followed up a week later […] only after I posted on Twitter,” she said.
Stating the obvious, ISP customer service agents don’t drive around fixing things themselves. They rely on the ISP’s own (and subcontracted) fleets of field service technicians to handle requests like the one Krystle made. Given that, how can a service department (or an individual agent within one) know what has and hasn’t happened out in the field?
The answer, of course, is software. More specifically, the answer is well-chosen, well-implemented software that connects cases across time and space. (Though that sounds like science fiction, that is literally what it does!) Not all customer service platforms can assist with these organizational challenges, but those that do can be lifesavers for companies that need to coordinate multiple schedules and service calls.
With a centralized system, the customer service department would be aware of the fact that Krystle’s tech missed the appointment, twice. They wouldn’t have needed to ask the customer to do their job, as they do below, requesting that she keep them updated on whether or not their own tech showed up!
Tweet 3: @jcara33 Just Wants His Donut Points
THE PROBLEM: Creating a social media account for your company then failing to monitor it
In the late ’90s and early 2000s, social media was just for people. Then later in the last decade, companies wanted in on the fun and signed up for social media accounts in droves.
That fun didn’t last long, as social media became a common place for customers to air grievances. For SMB’s, maintaining an active presence on social media can be particularly challenging. Social media operates 24/7 and billions of people use it. While deep-pocketed enterprises often have internal staff handling social media inquiries and complaints, SMBs need to rely more on the leverage of IT tools.
THE FIX: Social media monitoring and email integrations
Since we don’t know the full facts of the case of Jason and His Missing Donut Points, we can’t offer a judgement on its merits. Nevertheless, any customers who see Jason’s tweets are more likely to pass judgment on Dunkin’ Donuts.
Though Dunkin’ Donuts is a giant restaurant chain, the lesson here is as true if you’re a SMB: If you’re not responding to complaints on social media in a timely fashion, you’re guilty until you prove your innocence or apologize for an honest mistake.
Jason’s tweet accuses Dunkin’ Donuts of three offenses:
- Not responding to emails
- Not responding to tweets
- Losing some of his rewards points
Offense number 1 certainly seems plausible; after all, he wouldn’t have turned to Twitter if he’d received an emailed response.
Unfortunately for Dunkin’ Donuts, the charge behind the second offense seems stickier than a honey-glazed donut. Jason’s Twitter complaint was made on June 6th. As of writing this report, over a month has passed and the tweets still show no response from Dunkin’ Donuts.
Objection! Maybe the Dunkin’ Defendant isn’t even on Twitter! Oh, but they are. More problematically, their account was active on the days when Jason was Tweeting. While they were busy talking about donuts and coffee, what were they busy not doing? Responding to Jason’s tweet, it seems. The jury finds on behalf of the plaintiff: Don’t open a social media account for your business unless you’ll be able to monitor it and respond to the good and the bad.
Many customer service platforms designed for SMBs and their tighter budgets come with integrated email and social media applications.
Conclusion: How to Avoid Your Own #CustomerServiceFails
The three tweets above highlight customer service problems that are common, but don’t need to be. Solutions exist for each of the pitfalls and oversights highlighted above.
Starting with a basic, centralized customer service platform for organization, SMBs can then add other applications as needed, like those for coordination with third parties and field techs and tools to help stay on top of social media.
If you’d like assistance choosing the best customer service software for your business, give us a call at (844) 852-3639. At no cost and in just fifteen minutes, our experts can help you narrow down the right software for your organization.
Or to learn more about customer service software selection and strategy, take a look at the following reports: