Medium 9781605099750

Wired and Dangerous

Views: 1309
Ratings: (0)

In an era of economic stress, rapid change, and social networking, customers are distracted, disgruntled, and harder to please than ever. Picky, Fickle, Vocal, Wired, and Vain – they have very little tolerance for error and are ready to spread the word quickly over the internet when things go wrong. If a companyÆs customer service doesnÆt adapt to these new conditions, they will get burned by bloggers and viral videos that can severely damage their reputation. This book describes exactly what todayÆs customers expect and how to give it to them. In Wired and Dangerous, Bell and Patterson provide a tested formula for restoring balance to the customer relationship by establishing what they call \u201cService Calm\u201d. The three steps to Service Calm sound simple, but they draw on sophisticated psychological principles and are profound in application: 1) Deal with Self, 2) Deal with Customer, 3) Deal with Context.

List price: $19.95

Your Price: $14.96

You Save: 25%

Remix
Remove
 

14 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Contents

ePub

 

Chapter 1 How the Service Covenant Became Corrupted

ePub

The service covenant has been around for centuries. It is grounded in the concept of the direct or implied pledge of fair bartering—a merchant provides a product or service in exchange for some type of remuneration. Energy might be spent on either side of the covenant as to the fairness of the exchange (server spending energy on promotion; customer spending energy on getting perceived worth), but the essence of the agreement remained intact. There was a promise implied on both sides of the encounter

The covenant for a product was different from the covenant for a service. Customers gave the product provider license to make the product without their participation, or even observation. You did not need to watch the maker of your basket or your dishwasher; you could trust it would be as promised. The tangible nature of an object made the determination of quality easier. As customers, we expected the product would be as described and we had recourse if it was not—typically the object could be returned for a replacement or our coconuts or coins would be returned if it failed to meet the value we were promised. Replacement meant another object like the one we purchased was taken from inventory and given to us. In this fashion the covenant could be restored.1

 

Chapter 2 Picky: Why Today's Customers Are Finicky

ePub

Customers today want the very most and the very best for the very least amount of money, and on the best terms.

Brian Tracy
Now, Build a Great Business

Chip recently fired his insurance agent—and hired a new one! “The old insurance agent did absolutely nothing bad,” Chip said, “and the office clerk was always friendly when I called.”

It’s just that the agent never did anything other than write my insurance policies and send me annual bills. The agent never called to thank me for my business, opting instead for a form letter only at renewal time. And, this is a small insurance office in a small town, not some mega-business with a gazillion customers!

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I called one Wednesday afternoon just minutes past noon to inquire about getting a new umbrella policy. I heard a recording stating that the agency office always closed at noon on Wednesday but would reopen at 9 o’clock on Thursday morning. There was no answering service to channel my call should this have been an insurance emergency. So, I considered sending an email. I Googled the agency name only to find they had no website; there was no email address on any of their correspondence. If this were 1950, such practices might have made more sense.

 

Chapter 3 Fickle: Why Today's Customers Are Capricious

ePub

Worry about being better; bigger will take care of itself. Think one customer at a time and take care of each one the best way you can.

Gary Comer
Founder of Land’s End

John and his wife Katie were driving home to Atlanta on a Sunday evening after watching one of their children play soccer in North Carolina. “We were looking for a good place to stop for dinner after a long day of travel,” John said.

We eagerly exited the Interstate when we spotted an Outback Steakhouse sign. It was a little before 9:30 when we walked up to the front doors. The doors were locked! The restaurant’s sign stated closing time on Sunday to be 9:30. All the exterior lights were still on. NOT FAIR!

Katie quickly located a Longhorn Steakhouse two exits away and called to make sure they were open. She mentioned our disappointment at the Outback to the gentleman answering the phone at the Longhorn. He assured her they were still open, took our name, suggested we take our time, and promised her they would be waiting for us even if we arrived a bit after their 10 o’clock closing time.

 

Chapter 4 Vocal: Why Today's Customers Are Noisy

ePub

If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO
Amazon.com

Insight came from a late night game of “Trivial Pursuit Goes to the Movies.” It was being played by a group of business leaders after drinks and dinner at the two-day retreat we were facilitating. The object of the game was for one team to read a famous movie line and for the opposing team to name the movie in which it was spoken and the actor who said it. The one with the most answers at the end of the deck would be the winner.

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate,” one team member read from the card. Before anyone on the other team could give the correct answer (Strother Martin in Cool Hand Luke*), someone on that team shouted “Revenge of the Customers!” It was a humorous response, and very prophetic! Consider the following facts:

• While 95 percent of firms surveyed indicate they collect customer information, only 10 percent actually “deploy” a change in policy based on customer feedback. And, only 5 percent of firms tell customers that they used their feedback.1

 

Chapter 5 Vain: Why Today's Customers Are Self-Centered

ePub

There are two kinds of egotists: Those who admit it, and the rest of us.

Laurence J. Peter
The Peter Principle

It recently made business headlines: The most popular brand in the world focused on the experience, not just on their long-famous product. Coca-Cola introduced their “Freestyle” vending machine.1 Their ad copy described the machine as “all packaged in an innovative and interactive fountain experience.” The machine was designed with help from automobile manufacturer Ferrari! Step one, pick your favorite Coke beverage—Fanta, Sprite, Minute Maid lemonade, Coke Zero, or whatever. Step two, pick your favorite flavoring. Want a raspberry-flavored Coke, a peach-flavored Fanta, or coconut-flavored lemonade? More than a hundred combinations are possible. The vending machine fills a plastic cup with ice and your special concoction.

Now, here is the best part. At the end of the day the vending fountain electronically sends all the combinations chosen to the R&D unit at Coca-Cola headquarters. By watching patterns of purchases, Coca-Cola is able to introduce new products tailored precisely to customers’ latest whims. Who knows, a revolutionary new Coke product may be coming to your zip code soon! So, what’s the point? If the Coke vending machine down the street can do that, what will your customers expect next?

 

Chapter 6 How the Service Covenant Can Be Rebalanced

ePub

“There is absolutely no ambiguity about the true meaning of a back blast,” barked the Army sergeant as he cautioned recruits in boot camp to avoid getting behind an anti-tank bazooka (now the M72 LAW) about to be fired. How many things in life have “absolutely no ambiguity about their true meaning”?

It got us thinking about the true meaning of “customer service.” If the restaurant has salt and pepper on your table, is that customer service? What if they gave you an air-conditioned room in which to dine in the summer? Would you call the elevator in the office building customer service? How about the ATM machine?

Some might say yes to all. They would broad-stroke it all, from condiments on the table to the concierge in a five-star hotel. But, that covers a lot of ground. It not only waters down the concept to be practically meaningless, it leaves a lot of room for ambiguity. This vagueness contributes to leaders’ believing their customer service is good when their customers think it is poor.

 

Chapter 7 Grounding: How to Balance Yourself for Partnership

ePub

You can tell you are about to meet a carrier of balance and tranquility when a colleague’s face lights up as he announces “Let me get David for you.” The coworker’s animated look lodges your eager anticipation somewhere between “You’re in for a treat” and “You ain’t gonna believe this!”

Then it happens. You come to face to face with a person who has fallen hopelessly in love with his role!

We were staying at the Marriott Oak Brook near Chicago and were having drinks with a client before going on to a nearby restaurant to meet another client for dinner. Running a bit behind schedule, we were anxious about making our dinner reservation in time. The restaurant was beyond walking distance but an insultingly short haul for a taxi driver. Fortunately, the hotel van was available and bell stand attendant David Harris could transport us. Rather than abandoning our half-finished drinks, we had elected to take them with us, especially since David was to be our designated driver.

Now imagine this. You can “feel” David emotionally long before he shakes your hand. His enthusiasm is so apparent that his style and spirit meet you before he does. The first thing you notice is David’s glowing Steinway smile—like he just unexpectedly encountered two long-lost boyhood friends. The second thing you notice is his gait; it reveals a man extremely eager to connect and raring to serve. Finally, you witness how his gusto infects every single soul within earshot with a robust case of the grins.

 

Chapter 8 Connection: How to Help Customers Feel Like Partners

ePub

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.

Donald A. Adams

How many times have you looked at a product or service and said to yourself “I wish I’d thought of that”? Today’s winning organizations—the ones with the endearing and enduring products and services—design them “with” customers rather than “for” customers. The “for” group creates a product or service and then conducts market research, including focus groups to get customers’ reactions for refinement. “I prefer the blue one over the green one” or “I would like it better if it was sweeter or faster, or whatever.” The customer is viewed as judge and jury, not as partner.

The “with” group, on the other hand, views and treats customers as true partners in the product or service life cycle. Their work starts with customers: they learn about their customers’ hopes, habits, fears, and aspirations and then go to work designing. They spend time trying to get into the customer’s mind—thinking deeply about the life of the product or service through their customers’ lives. They include customers at early drawing-board stages, get reactions to possible product or service variations, and keep customers posted on progress from idea to implementation. They ask customers for advice on all the tough decisions. And when the product or service is finally launched, it feels to the target market like “our product.” Think beta groups on steroids!

 

Chapter 9 Bad Connections: How to Turn Angry Customers into Partners

ePub

Service is a performance, much like a stage play. Put yourself in the audience of the one-act service play to follow.

Act 1, Scene 1:
The Service Desk at Acme Encore:
Used Computers, New Software & Fast Repairs

“I bought a new accounting software package and I can’t get it to load,” the well-dressed, gray-haired gentleman confided to the twentysomething service tech behind the service counter. John was behind him in line waiting to pick up a repaired laptop computer left the previous week.

“You probably loaded it wrong,” the service tech snapped, without looking up from the paperwork he was completing. The customer moved forward, raised himself several inches taller, and peered down with obvious disdain at the young tech.

“What do you mean I loaded it wrong! Young man, I’ve been loading computer programs since the Macintosh in ’85. I think it’s the computer your company sold me two months ago.” His decibel level was noticeably higher.

“Well if you bought it two months ago, the 30-day warranty is up and we can’t help you anyway. You’ll just have to send it to the manufacturer for repair.” The service tech seemed pleased to pass the customer and his problem on down the line.

 

Chapter 10 Wireless Connections: How to Partner with Customers via the Internet

ePub

In cyberspace, the First Amendment is a local ordinance.

John Perry Barlow

Wireless is defined as the transfer of information without the use of electrical conductors. In many ways this definition captures the blessing and the bother of Internet connections. The mobility, speed, and ease of the Internet as a tool for “interlogue” are clearly worthwhile assets. However, robbed of the capacity to read non-verbal information, there is great potential for misinformation and misinterpretation. Without accurate dialogue, understanding can suffer.

One study at UCLA indicated that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by non-verbal cues.1 Another study found that the impact of a performance was determined 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by the non-verbal communication.2 Stripping the lion’s share of the effectiveness features from communications with customers puts enormous burden on those factors that are left.

We elected to devote a chapter exclusively to the Internet customer because it is rapidly becoming the communication conduit of choice. The key to turning this “dialogue in the dark” into a boon for renewing the service covenant requires the application of the partnership principles to the discourse.

 

Chapter 11 Congruence: How to Get the Service Setting in Balance

ePub

Service “interior decorator” is a role every service providing organization should have. Businesses hire interior decorators to beautify their corporate headquarters. These professionals select the right paintings, the correct color for carpet and walls, the proper plants, and the best lighting to accentuate it all. But, who decorates the service experience in a fashion that brings tranquility to a customer?

A service experience is obviously far more than the customer’s interaction with people, products and processes. Harvard Business Review defines it as: “ … the internal and subjective response customers have to any direct or indirect contact with a company. It is all the details the customer experiences that determine the stories they tell neighbors.”1 Drive by a restaurant with a long line of people waiting to get in or see a marquee with a misspelled word and you have an impression. Open a bill from Acme Pyrotechnics or log on to www.armadillosunlimited.com and you are instantly flooded with sensory signals that tell a tale.

 

Chapter 12 Acumen: How to Keep the Customer Relationship in Balance

ePub

Adaptation is the catalyst to balance and tranquility. Relationships are always in motion. Successful ones adjust; unsuccessful ones rigidly polarize or just drift apart. In nature, feedback is the mechanism that makes adaptation possible. We call it the acumen of adaption.

Cows lie down long before a storm appears; cats disappear to a quiet corner. Dogs sense variations in barometric pressure, smell changes in the air, and know to get prepared for a tornado. Elephants feel the vibrations of an impending earthquake long before buildings start to topple. The 2004 tsunami that killed thousands of people in Asia killed few wild animals because of their early warning wisdom made possible by feedback. All these examples illustrate the capacity of animals to read environmental feedback in order to adapt and thrive.

Like the weather, customers are constantly changing. It takes feedback to adjust and thrive. The Internet has made the world smaller and faster, accelerating the change process. Today’s fad quickly becomes tomorrow’s antique. Without perpetually updated customer acumen, the covenant gets out of balance and we wake up one day surprised by how much the customer has changed—and we completely missed it! Amazon.com was surprised, for instance, when a computer hiccup on Friday night caused gay and lesbian books to be deemed pornographic and thus excluded from their offerings. By Monday morning Amazon.com got a wake-up call about the importance of monitoring customer feedback over the weekend. A few bloggers had mobilized thousands in protest.1 Had Amazon had a way to rebalance the service covenant early Saturday, they could have completely avoided a PR barn burning.

 

Flash Drive: Tools and Favorites

ePub

Welcome to the Wired and Dangerous Flash Drive. That small device you plug into the USB port of your computer has two popular names, flash drive and jump drive. All three words–flash, jump, and drive–characterize today’s “wired and dangerous” customers, so we thought Flash Drive a fitting label for the resource section of this book.

This segment offers an assortment of resources designed to help renew and rebuild the service covenant. Think of them as suggestions to help you stay wired to customers. The goal is a service experience energized by a spirit of partnership and grounded in a zeal to stay current on changing customer expectations. The more the customer experiences service performed in a partnership manner, even if the encounter is destined to be a single one, the more trust will be at the front door. The more the customer experiences a partnership tradition, the more likely they will return and become an advocate.

Plug this Flash Drive in your personal USB (“You Serving Better”) port and benefit from the power and capacity of the resources here to enrich, encourage, and entertain.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000023320
Isbn
9781605099774
File size
2.56 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata