After a particularly challenging time trying to fly home on Delta (NYSE: DAL) this past weekend, followed by my observation of countless disgruntled users on Twitter (@modernmarketeur) Friday morning as they reacted in real, albeit overly punctuated, time to today’s HostGator outages I finally caught the customer service blog entry inspiration the universe had laid at my fingertips. I wonder, where are businesses going wrong with customer service?
So, assuming you’ve figured out how to get people to notice your business maybe there’s been a purchase or two. Yes, Delta, when I purchased with you I wanted a flight home. You were cheaper than my normal JetBlue ticket and the times worked better for my schedule – point and click, you made the sale and got a chance to take a customer from your competition. However, BIG HOWEVER, what I didn’t want was the added purchase of being delayed five times in twelve hours. Ever notice how after the fourth time that automated voice calling your cell phone gets awfully smug? Not to mention there was nary a promise made to right my inconvenience by receiving an eventual upgrade to first class or even an extra bag of peanuts (Seriously, JetBlue is serving triangular pop corn, take a flight in from 1972 and join us) but instead, a verbal war with the car service driver as he drove his way back and forth to my pick up location that rivaled the healthcare requirement ping-pong ball bouncing in Barrack Obama’s head during reelection time. Let’s fast forward past the Carolean death march that boarding a plane has become and beyond the occupationally regretful stewardesses who accidentally on purpose took turns spilling water all over me to getting home – Ahhhh…. And the follow-up email survey that burst my comfort bubble received from Delta the next day.
I contemplate whether I should even open it, teetering between the inevitable guilt I’ll feel for the poor soul whose job is reading these things to wondering if Delta even has someone to do that or sends out the surveys purely as a passive aggressive way to say “Your opinion means about as much as the obligation we feel to give you what you paid for.”
I know the point is here somewhere and that is this: customer surveys have become a catch-all tactic for the end result of evaluating an experience with a business. It’s a good tool to keep in your “customer satisfaction strategy,” but it can’t be the only thing you’re doing to improve satisfaction and loyalty. More than ever, I find myself as a consumer wishing businesses took more time to proactively think about what I want and less time asking me if I’d spend even more time with them after the face (see: after the problem) by completing this brief survey. Here are a few ways your business can improve their customer satisfaction strategy:
- Create touch points in various places on the customer experience timeline. Avoid automated calls or mass texts and consider sending out surveys beforehand – wow, what a concept! Let your customers tell you what they expect so you can set yourself up for success.
- Be accessible and proactive. Delta has people on the plane through every moment of the customer experience, and yet, they only come when you push the button! Again, service after the fact. What if stewardesses walked around the plane asking each person how their experience was going? What if they then took the time to turn that data into something tangible a customer could walk away with that day? Could be as simple as a pre-printed card from Delta apologizing for the bad experience and providing a phone number to speak with a live person upon landing. Maybe that live person even offers something as a thank you – coupon, partner coupon, verbal handshake?
- Keep an eye on your competition. Two words: triangular popcorn. A competitive business analysis is not that hard.
- Reward loyalty, but also reward those who are disloyal. I’m trying you for the first time and you don’t know it? You’ve got your big chance to turn me! Do something, anything to keep my business!
- Try making a meaningful connection with your customer. If you’re sending out a survey, multiple choice shouldn’t be your first choice. If you want to hear what people want to say, you have to give them the platform to say it in their words. Ask open-ended questions and use the poor soul reading the surveys to rate them.