If you haven’t noticed lately, it’s a new age for Customer Service.. where “complaints management” alone just won’t cut it. It’s a Customer Experience Economy, competition is fierce and you just can’t afford to become the next “United Breaks Guitars” viral video.
Imagine a little “hick-up” in your customer service.. and the next thing you know your now poor brand reputation is being circulated and further ridiculed by 10,468,616 people. Can you afford that type of humiliation targeting your brand?
What’s your SHOUT Score?
Before getting down to some fundamental Customer Service basics, the context of this post is the danger represented by the “social media reach” or “influence” consumers have these days.
I’m hoping, especially if you’re in the e-commerce sector, that before you even start a traditional Customer Issue Resolution process your systems are giving you a “social media influence” pulse-check. In essence, if this person remains upset, how loud can their voice reach? What’s their “SHOUT Index”?
In social media circles most people are aware of the KLOUT Score (The Standard for Influence). The “SHOUT Index” is a similar formula I use to gauge how much pain an upset customer can create for me.
- Quick Google search.. and where does this person rank?
- How many on-line profiles (including YouTube) do they have.. personal & professional?
- How many people are they connected to?
- If they have a Twitter account, how frequently do they tweet & how many people are following them?
Basically you want to know how much negative impact this person can have when unsatisfied so that you can escalate / prioritize their situation accordingly. It’s no longer just about the level of pain or inconvenience someone is suffering, but as well how much pain they can create for your brand in return.
Beyond the fix
One of the most difficult things to teach call center & customer support reps is how to go “beyond the fix”, but it’s accomplished when you focus on the real pain that’s been caused to your customer, and how can you fairly make the appropriate reparations.
It starts with “listening” and letting the customer voice their situation, perspective and the impact that it’s had (having) on them. It’s then moves to acknowledgement of the situation and validation of the individual making the complaint. Note that we have not yet established where the blame or responsibility lies.. in the early stages we should simply be absorbing the information available to us so that we can take the appropriate measures.
This step of going “beyond the fix” and allowing the customer to be heard is enough to defuse more than 80% of the hostility of the complaints being lodged.
Hopefully during this time you’ve registered enough details about the person making the complaint, the situation / circumstances surrounding the complaint and the pain felt by the customer so that you can continue with “your (example) process”.
Yes, it’s all about building a “Customer Care” culture formed by ingrained habits practiced over & over again instead of becoming expert fire fighters. It’s about empowering Customer Service agents, with a budget if necessary, to learn from experience.. theirs and others.. and then apply logic in parallel of a proven process. Most importantly, it’s about understanding the SHOUT Index of the client on the other side of the complaint.
There’s 6.92 billion people on the planet at the moment, and +2 billion of them are online! “I’m mad as hell & I’m going to do something about this” carries a whole new set of implications in a connected world these days.
How are you increasing the risk of becoming the next “United Breaks Guitars” viral video?