Customer service used to be a cost killer that most companies had to absorb. Pre-internet boom, we outsourced a call center or hired minimum wage workers to pick up the phones. That was when one unhappy customer equaled about one to five unhappy customers. If someone was displeased with a company or product, they may tell a few friends and maybe a family member about their bad experience. A displeased customer had a very small reach, so it didn’t pay for some companies to have an excellent customer service team.
That was before the world turned digital. Now we live in 2014 where a customer can spread their negative reviews to thousands of people in a matter of seconds. Don’t like a product, service, or company? Review them on Yelp, send them a public tweet, tag them in a Facebook post, or get to them on any other platform you can think of. That five person reach has now turned into hundreds, thousands, and even millions of reachable people. In 2014, if you called Samsung customer service about your broken phone and they say, “Sorry, buddy! We can’t do anything for you. Too bad.,” that’s like saying “f**k you!” to thousands of people, potentially.
That one unhappy customer writes a post on their blog about how “Samsung is the worst phone company ever.” Let’s say this blog post has 2,000 unique views due to its natural following. 2% of those people tweeted the article and another 2% shared it on Facebook. “Samsung sucks..” shows up on 40 Twitter feeds and all of their followers’ feeds (plus possible retweets) and 40 Facebook timelines and all of their friends’ feeds (plus possible shares, comments, or likes that will make it reach even more peoples’ feeds). As you can see, this can easily start a snowball effect and spread to many, many people. This is also why every few weeks we see how some company messed up and their mistake either went viral or got a good amount of people angry.
ALL OF THAT could have been avoided with a polite customer service representative that gave them a ‘no questions asked’ replacement piece that ends up costing Samsung $50. Instead, they kept $50 of their multi-million dollar company and put negative thoughts about Samsung into the heads of thousands. Let’s say .05% of all of the people that read or glanced at the article don’t buy a Samsung phone for their next phone upgrade because they remembered that “Samsung has terrible customer service.” If they lost any sales or turned a repeat customer against them, then they already misused that $50. If they chose to provide great service and replace the phone with no questions asked, they would then have spent $50 to put positive thoughts of Samsung into the heads of hundreds or thousands of people.
This is why companies like Zappos and Sweetwater are so popular (and will continue to be popular). A lot of companies sell shoes and audio equipment online but what sets them apart from the others is the excellent customer service they provide. So then why isn’t your business doing it?
Comments? Send me a tweet @joekrug
Please note: I have nothing against Samsung. They were just used as an example for the article. I’m not a customer myself but I’ve heard they have great customer service ☺