For my last post of the year, I thought I'd take a moment to review the Top 5 posts on the Next Level Customer Service blog in 2013. And, I'd like to offer just one customer service prediction for 2014.
Top 5 Posts
It all started when my wife began texting me updates about her delayed United flight. And kept texting. All day.
Since this was my first post of the year, I compared her experience to a few customer service trends I had recently read about. It turns out her experience fit quite nicely. Looking back almost a year later, I don't see any of these trends going away.
Customer complaints are a valuable source of information. They let us know when a customer is unhappy so we can try to retain their business. Complaints can also serve as an early warning system that helps prevent service failures by allowing us to fix small problems before they become big ones.
A lack of complaints doesn’t mean things are going well. This post explores five reasons why customers won't let you know when there's a problem. (You may also want to read my follow-up post about why employees don't pass along these complaints.)
This post summarized a survey I ran in May this year to find out if companies had created their own unique definition of outstanding customer service. The results weren't so great, but they reflected a problem I'd seen many times. Companies and leaders were trying to be good at service, but they couldn't describe to their employees what "good" looked like.
Some companies try to cut corners by emulating a successful firm. One CIO told me he wanted the internal help desk for his global company to be more like the Apple Store. I asked this CIO if he had ever heard of Ron Johnson. He hadn't. (Spoiler alert - Ron Johnson is proof that not every company can be like the Apple Store.)
We've all been hustled by a retail employee trying to get us to fill out a survey. If you stop and think, you'll realize this only happens when the interaction has been positive. I've yet to see an employee say, "Well if you're so upset, why don't you fill out this survey?"
It turns out that rewarding employees for outstanding survey scores takes the focus away from outstanding service and puts it squarely on outstanding scores. There's a difference. Like the barista practically begging a customer to fill out a survey by saying, "Pleaaaaaase fill it out - we're sooooooo graded on this."
My annual email survey showed that we expect faster and faster responses to email communication. This is funny because I know quite a few people who seem to be getting slower and slower at responding.
The scariest part? How quickly we expect a response from a co-worker.
A small prediction
One of my favorite posts of the year was one I wrote for the Salesforce blog. It may have had the fewest readers of any post I wrote for them, but I don't care. I think it's a message people don't necessarily want to hear.
The post was about something called Directed Attention Fatigue. Essentially, our brains are getting worn out and tired from constant stiumlation. One psychologist likened the impact to having ADD.
So that's my prediction. In 2014, I think more people are going to want to hear about Directed Attention Fatigue. Just as soon as people realize they're giving themselves ADD.
Are you still reading? OK, here's a link to the post.