Customer Service Training: Don't Let Your Bad Service Moments Go Viral
Posted: 09-05-2013 08:55 PM
Synopsis: Have you ever had a bad experience with customer service, bad enough to sour you from going back to the establishment? It is important for an organization’s employees to know the meaning and value of customer service, in order to keep the most important aspect of their business healthy: profitability.
Have you ever had a bad experience with customer service, bad enough to sour you from going back to the establishment? It is important for an organization’s employees to know the meaning and value of customer service, in order to keep the most important aspect of their business healthy: profitability.
What Is Customer Service?
Though some departments in an establishment may carry an official label of “Customer Service,” the best overall definition is “the assistance a company provides to those who buy its products or services.” Every representative of the company that interacts with the customer is providing a form of customer service.
How Is Customer Service Important For Business?
One of the main objectives of customer service is solving any problems or issues a buyer may have. If a problem cannot be solved, the business faces the potential to lose out on a sale, accrue a negative reputation, or a combination of both. Sales and branding are the essence of a business, so great customer service is extremely important.
How Can Poor Customer Service Affect A Business?
Bad customer service can quickly unravel a business. If patrons are unsatisfied with the service they received, it causes a snowball effect: First, less profit will be generated from said patrons. Next, the customer may stop taking their continuing business to said company, and go to another company where they’ll be treated better.
It costs a business less to keep customers coming back than to attract brand new ones, so advertising and branding expenses will go up. These customers that are leaving aren’t exactly going to be singing the bad company’s praises on their way out, so expect sales generated from word of mouth to go down.
That said, customer service remains an area in need of improvement for some businesses. Some industries are more susceptible to poor customer service than others. A company offering a mostly automated service or product would need to worry less about customer service than a more interaction-heavy company like a restaurant.
Customer service in a restaurant is integral to its success. Everyone from the hostess to the servers and bartenders need to be performing at their best or they risk sullying the customer’s dining experience. The massive integration of social media has made running an interaction intensive company like a restaurant a delicate operation.
Anything can ruin a dining experience: One rude remark from a server (even if the customer is being rude), a neglectful hostess, an overwhelmed bartender who takes a long time serving a customer, even an accidental overcharge of a minimal amount. A small mishap and bam, the restaurant gets a scathing review from an entitled, overzealous customer on Yelp.
What Are Some Instances Of Poor Customer Service That Went Viral?
Those are just small examples. Some businesses gain widespread infamy for dropping the ball on a much larger scale. These events usually set off a firestorm of bad press, and run the risk of alienating an entire demographic of customers.
Each business has its unique way of failing on a viral scale. Some business entities don’t believe in the old adage that “the customer is always right,” and some businesses believe a little too much in that saying. Surprised that the latter can be a detriment? Let’s look over an example:
A Buffalo Wild Wings in North Charleston, South Carolina saw some viral backlash after asking 25 African Americans to leave the establishment. Their reason for asking was because one customer felt uncomfortable with their presence in the restaurant.
Instead of the shift manager telling the patron that 25 paying customers is more valuable than one bigot, the woman obliged and asked the large group to leave. Needless to say, this particular Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant had more to worry about than a bad Yelp review.
Other notable bouts of insensitivity that went viral:
· Charter Communications coerced victims of a tornado to search for their cable boxes in the wreckage of their neighborhood. The tornado victims were threatened with fines if they could not find the cable boxes and return them.
· Toyota not only manufactured a faulty vehicle which killed 34 people, but waited a week before issuing a hastily prepared 75 second apology. The recall also cost Toyota just over $20 billion in market value.
How Can an Organization Avoid Bad Service that goes Viral?
Training. Comprehensive and consistent customer service training is the number one most effective way to engender great customer service throughout your organization. Service training cannot be a one time training class during an employee’s orientation; it has to be consistently taught on a daily basis to both veteran and rookie employees. Exceptional customer service skills are the lifeblood of every great organization and the only way to achieve a high level of skill in workers is training.
Accounts of poor customer service can easily go viral locally or nationally. As important as customer service is, big companies never miss a step, unless lives are lost. It’s the small and medium companies who can be sunk by one or two bouts of bad press. Firms and corporations have adapted over time, seeking a deeper relationship with their customers and becoming more invested in social media.
Like poor service, accounts of great customer service also have the ability to go viral. Take a quick glance for any stories floating around social media and bookmarking sites. You’ll find stories of a discount for a person clearly in need, companies going above and beyond to help the community, and much more.