Want to Excel at Customer Service? Be Better than Most

Social media is all the rage.  Between the changes to Facebook and GooglePlus, the upstart Pinterest, and the stodgy LinkedIn, social media is everywhere.  Businesses that want to excel in marketing and customer service are flocking to social, in order to better engage their clients and patrons.

But, if you step back, and take a long hard look at customer service, you will find that the majority of companies aren’t embracing all the benefits social media has to offer.

As a customer, I don’t expect to be treated like a king.  I expect them not to bend to my questions and demands, to only do what’s in their best interests.  So, when that doesn’t happen, when the business does more than what’s expected, I’m amazed, and will quickly become a raving fan.

Case in point.  I bring my car to the dealership where it was purchased for service, and in fact, have never serviced it elsewhere.  It’s as if I believe their oil is better than the local service station.  The first golden customer service nugget occurred when my service advisor called to let me know that my front rotors needed to be “cut” and that it would be a bit expensive.  Did I need it?  Do I even know what the rotors do, and how they would be better if cut?  No on both accounts, but I told him to perform the service anyway.  After all, he said I should.   About 2 hours later, I received a call to tell me the car was ready, and I inquired about the costs.  He told me what was done, and how much the total was.  Then, without any delay, he said, “I see you get the car serviced here regularly, so I will put the rotors under warranty.”  Completely unexpected so…wow!

Then, when I went to pick up the car I realized I forgot my 10% coupon.   All I did was ask the cashier nicely if there was anything that can be done (I expected nothing, as it was my fault).  She left to speak to the manager, and when she returned told me they would adjust the bill, and gave me the 10%.  I couldn’t believe it.  That’s customer service.  And, I’ve told several people about it, in just a few days.

I read of a similar situation in a blog post by Peter Shankman entitled, “When You Should Bend the Rules (or, How to Blow a 7-Year Business Relationship in a Day), which spoke of this very situation.  Where businesses don’t take their customers into account but live and die by the “rules”.  Where his previous apartment building refused to rent to a person with his recommendation, who had been sub-letting his apartment for months, and who could not get her previous landlord to sign-off that she lived there (she was involved in litigation with him).  The rental office’s attitude was simple – our rules require this paper, and without it, you can’t rent.

If only they had taken the time to consider the situation.  If only they had taken the time to rise to the occasion.  If only.  But they didn’t, and they have created enemies for life.  You can’t get that back.

If only businesses would rise to our expectations, they would create fans.  Fans for life.  Fans that would scream their praises from the highest mountains.

And, that type of marketing is priceless.

Are you mediocre?  What do you expect of the businesses you engage with?  Has a business risen above the normal for you?


Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you.  He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line.  EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business.  Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.

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Customer Engagement for Small Business

Telling business owners that they need to have some plans for customer engagement is easy. However, once they have absorbed that tidbit of helpful information, many may be lost as to what customer engagement can actually entail. Most likely, there is nothing that you in particular are selling, that can’t be found somewhere else. So what can the small business owner do to show that their product is the right choice for the consumer?

Be a Customer for a Day

Spend a day emulating the actions that your prospective consumers do.

  1. Call your customer service number.
  2. Go through the motions of purchasing your own product.
  3. Fill out your contact forms.

Make sure that your customer experience matches your outlook and ideas.

Build Communication Options

Not everyone uses Facebook and Twitter believe it or not. Make sure you have traditional methods of communication as well as digital ones. List phone numbers and a physical address for your business, even if it is online based.

Exercise and Act on Your Listening Skills

It isn’t enough to reply to customers questions or request with generic terms. When prospective consumers ask for discounts or other beneficial options, show them you are listening by enacting them. You will get no better word of mouth advertising then having a consumer who can say “I asked for a discount, and they gave me one!” This doesn’t mean you have to offer that discount to everyone who asks, but you should never outright ignore those request.

Show Your Integrity

Since bad news can travel with light speed on the internet, you may need to go out of your way to show your customers that not only are you expert at what you do, but that you back that professionalism with personal integrity. Show your customers that the people behind the brand care.

Let Your Customers Advertise for You

Anything that you can do to get your consumers to share their product or service experiences with the public will provide you with two benefits. Obviously it will give you the valuable advertising you are seeking, but it will also provide you with media that you can post to help build top-notch links for your site. Don’t expect your customers to do this for no reward though. Their time is valuable too. Try to run contest for the best written or video reviews of your project. Reward the winners appropriately for their time spent talking about your products and services.

Above all it is important that any consumers approaching you for your products or services walk away with the sense that you are a brand they can trust and rely on.


@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education (dbmei.com). Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.


Can You Hear Me Now? – Good and Bad Examples of Facebook Fan Page Listening Skills [Opinion]

In the past here on DBMEI, I have written on the subject of utilizing listening skills via social networks in order to provide real-time solutions to real time problems on the business end of your customer’s service needs. I’ve openly admitted that these days, I often test those skills before making a serious purchase or committing my loyalty to a brand. It only takes one experience, good or bad, to sway me, or any other consumer to an entirely new opinion of your company. It is up to you to provide the right experience for consumers vital to your businesses growth.

Bad Example of Facebook Fan Page Listening Skills

This past week I had two experiences with online businesses who had Facebook fan pages I had previously ‘liked’.

No More Coffee

Although I will not name the business, I will say that my first product related experience this week centered around a coffee company that supplies auto-delivery options to consumers. I have been a member of this coffee club for quite some time. Before the holidays rolled in I went to my account and canceled it so that I wouldn’t have any unexpected financial deductions from my account during tight holiday shopping times. It appears they suddenly charged me and said that my order would soon be shipped. Within a minute of receiving the email notification, I had emailed them back with a request for a refund and the cancellation of my auto-delivery account.

The email I had received in reply to my problem was incredibly cryptic.
Being almost totally lost on what that meant – I can get a refund but only when it ships? I can’t get one already because it already had? What did that disjointed sentence mean? Was it intended to be as vague as it was? Upset with this being the only response I was apparently to get, I went to the company’s Facebook page and posted.

I checked back on the Facebook Fan page about ten minutes later. My post had been removed and there were no inbox messages for me explaining who would be helping me with my customer service issue.

In my opinion, a complete failure in communication. Not only did their removal of my post indicate that they weren’t willing to allow others to view the possibility of their failure, but that they had no intention of addressing the issue immediately. In the day and age of instant assistance, this displays a disgusting lack of brand responsibility as well. Even more curious was that I had recalled seeing several customer service pleas and complaints on their page before, what was different about mine that it should be hidden. Shady practices are never attractive to your current or possible consumers.

Good Example of Facebook Fan Page Listening Skills

I was so pleased when one of my favorite online stores to purchase from restored my faith in good business practices.

Drive-By Beta Testing for Ozbo

Not every business takes the hide-and-hope-you-don’t-find-us perspective on social media customer service as the aforementioned coffee company that shall not be named does. As I was visiting a site I frequent because of their great prices on pet supplies, I decided to venture through a couple of other categories they sell under. I headed to the Health & Beauty tab and eventually found myself facing a curiosity.

Excuse me? While I was giggling I was already opening Facebook and heading to Ozbo’s Fanpage site in my browser. I had seen their interactions with customers and while I almost felt guilty for what I was about to do, I simply could not resist. After all, even though it may be slightly embarrassing, I was still pointing out an issue that needed to be fixed right?

Not only that, but here was the chance to test a company I had so far felt comfortable with and enjoyed spending my money at. I wanted to know if Ozbo’s impressive branding techniques went as far as having a sense of humor about their own mistakes.

They did. Not only did they have the required sense of humor and self-humility, but they finally bit on my hint to give me a discount (even though I’ll fully admit to pressuring them with the beta testing comment!).

I had hinted with Ozbo before for a promo code or two to no avail, but had not totally given up. So not only are they listening, interacting, and being quite effective in building their customer relationship with me via a Facebook Fan page, but their openness and willingness to address such a simple issue as an improper image placement, shows that the 2 dollar discount wasn’t the real reward in this communication.

If You Take One Thing from This Post…

There is an important lesson here for consumers and business owners alike.

Business Owners – Do not be afraid to own up to mistakes, laugh at yourself, and appreciate those who help to beta test your products or services, and alert you when something may be awry from the consumer perspective. When possible, try to reward or accommodate consumers who are checking your listening skills on Facebook or Twitter. Prove to them their loyalty is deserved and you not only have a fan for life, but you have a fan willing to shout to the skies (and their social networks) about how wonderful and innovative your product, services, and customer service skills really are.

Consumers – Found a mistake on a favorite site’s page? Have you been charged improperly? Find a respectful and humorous when possible, manner to address or alert the business via their social media outlets. Don’t be afraid to use the stage given to ask for action or compensation, but never expect a reward or use that social platform to stage a hissy fit when your requests aren’t immediately met causing a situation that could be embarrassing for you and the business and people you are addressing.




Joy Lynskey is the owner of JRL Solutions, a copywriting and content management company based in Bedford, Virginia. JRL Solutions hosts a Freelance Writers Education Blog that is managed by direct and guest posting. Joy is the consent manager and editor for Puglisi Consulting Group at Digital Brand Marketing Education. Joy has most recently begun freelance consulting  private clients with their social media campaigns as well as freelance writers and business owners who are seeking personal and business growth through Social Media Marketing.



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