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Customer Service Will Impact Your Bottom Line

Yes, customer service can and will effect your bottom line. In this day and age, you’d think this statement would be common knowledge.You’d also think that all companies would not only understand what this statement entails, but also put into place measurable and actionable steps to ensure their customer service efforts increase their bottom line. Unfortunately, this is not the case. With Generation Y starting to make big purchasing decisions, companies that are ill prepared in this respect, will have a rude awakening with our generation – who will take their money elsewhere, if not treated properly.

I’ve personally dealt with poor customer service experiences online and offline, which (whether they knew it or not), has directly affected the bottom line of those companies’. Not only did I choose not to enlist their services, purchase their product, etc., but I have no interest in giving those companies a second chance. Additionally, friends and family have heard of my experiences and, as a result, their purchasing decision toward these companies have been swayed… affecting their bottom lines even further. From auto dealerships to cable companies, my purchasing decisions are greatly influenced by my customer experience. Why? If they can’t get their act together, when it comes to how they treat potential or current customers, I can’t imagine what a train wreck their products or services must be like.

These conversations are happening online on social media, blogs, etc., and offline (possibly the most scary of all). If damaging conversations, from unhappy consumers, are happening online, at least your company has another outlet to right the wrong. If these conversations are happening offline… you’ve lost. In this respect, let’s focus on what you can control, or at least sway in your favor: online conversations.

  • Crisis Management Plan

Before you play the game, know the rules. Have a step-by-step actionable plan in place for your Social Media Manager. Do not be one of those companies where the social media department is completely siloed. If this is the case, any social media strategy you had hoped to achieve will fail. Your social media department should be integrated with every single department within your organization. No, I’m not kidding. Without taking the time to build crucial plans internally, how do expect your customer to feel like your organization is working together in their best interest?

  • Make Smart Decisions

Take time to think, before taking action. If your crisis is happening on YouTube, don’t issue a traditional press release – release a video addressing the issue, where that audience actually is. If you’re issue is happening on Facebook, address the problem with a Facebook post. Duh! Right? Well, not all companies make that connection. Domino’s Pizza didn’t realize this Pizza-Prank video {*Hyperlink display = Warning: This video may make you feel queasy.}  was going viral, until a blogger reached out to them. They then followed up with a traditional press release… not a video.

Flash forward to the FedEx social media crisis, where an employee was filmed throwing packages into a FedEx truck. What was FedEx’s move? Two days later, FedEx released a 30-second video on their YouTube channel, in which a FedEx Executive apologizes for the incident and addresses the resolution to the problem. This positive FedEx video now has close to the same amount of views as the negative video. Well done, FedEx.

  • Take Action

Deal with the smallest complaint as a crisis. An unhappy customer’s tweet can reach thousands of people – instantly. Don’t treat that interaction with any less care than you would a damaging video. Address each and every compliment, question or complaint, promptly, respectfully and gratefully. All press is good press. Think of negative comments as an opportunity to put your customer service in front of customers that may have overlooked you in the past, and let your brand shine for the stellar company it is.

Lastly, and I can’t stress this enough – whether you work for a law firm, a celebrity or a mom-and-pop shop, make sure you get the input of your key stakeholders. They’ve likely been a part of the brand longer than your Facebook page, and will be able to provide invaluable feedback and guidance when you need it most.

Conversations about your brand are going to happen, if they’re not already. How you choose to act, engage and connect with your consumers is ultimately up to you. It will never be easy, but the decisions you choose to make will ultimately affect your bottom line, for better or worse. Best of luck!

 

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