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Winning the Heart of the 21st Century Customer

Customer Experience

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I tried to avoid picking on customer service in the airline industry.  Believe me, I tried pretty hard.  But there are so many problems with the industry (with some exceptions) that it is impossible to ignore (incidentally, airlines ranked in the bottom 3rd in Forrester recent Customer Experience Index survey).  For example, in my recent flight from San Francisco to Boston, everything that could go wrong went wrong.  First, we were delayed by 2 hours because the airplane had mechanical problems which required maintenance.  .  When we were finally in the air, we were notified that 2 of the 3 toilets did not work.  And then to add insult to injury, the airline apologized (in advance) that they would not have enough food for all of the passengers on the plane.  In fact, they only had enough for about one lucky quarter of the plane’s passengers.  Mind you, we’re not talking about free snacks or drinks, but the actual meals for purchase.  The thing is, all these problems could have been avoided if the airline had really tried to be customer-centric.

Clearly, plenty of companies have far to go when it comes to customer-centricity and social media customer engagement, and that’s all the more reason I urge you to watch the replay of our latest monthly webisode on The Customer Edge, “Winning the Heart of the 21st Century Customer.” In this episode, we focus on how companies should reexamine what it means to provide a consistently strong customer service, particularly in the age of the “social” customer.

Our digital TV show opens with a trend segment, in which Host Butch Stearns of The Pulse Network and I discuss the latest data and news reports on the use of social media to provide great customer service.  Highlights include Twitter’s announcement that it would enable sending private messages to non-followers, John R. DiJulius’s blog post (guest post on Shep Hyken’s site) that claims “everything is our problem,” and an account of a Netflix customer service agent turning a complaint into a positive experience by taking an entertaining approach to online chat.

Next up, we welcome guest Brent Leary, cofounder of CRM Essentials, who along with Social Media Today have conducted the Social Customer Engagement Index survey every year since 2010. Leary provides a sneak peek at this year’s survey results, including findings from over 1,000 respondents on how social media has an impact on  customer engagement.  One highlight: A speedy response is vital to meeting expectations, even if you can’t fix the problem right away.

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Our third segment features “Five ways to create amazing customer service,” from Shep Hyken, well-known author and speaker on customer service. The five tips are designed to help companies provide better than average customer service, consistently and predictably, and to embrace a philosophy of customer service throughout the enterprise.

In our fourth segment, we talk with Krissy Espindola, director of Knowledge Management and social customer support at T-Mobile USA, which has seen 845% growth in its social activity and a 30% increase in customer service efficiency. Espindola shares the story of why social media is now integral to T-Mobile’s customer service strategy, its approach of “listen, engage, resolve” and how the company has transformed the customer conversation on social media.

It is up to every company, in every industry, to ask themselves:  Are you winning the heart of your customers? If the answer is no – and / or you are simply passionate about becoming or remaining a customer-centric organization – please tune into this month’s webisode on Customer Edge TV and share your favorite tips or story.

This post was originally published on The Customer Edge.

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