Customer service. The term is thrown out like freebies,
party invites, pitches and proposals at NADA. Customer support? Customer
satisfaction? Customer focused? What do your vendors call it? Does that come
after reviewing how many days or weeks they’re allowed after you open a ticket
for something that should be a 1-2 hour operation? Customer service should be
about the…wait for it, CUSTOMER!
What we call customer service has morphed over the years, likely more based on
scale, capacity, programming and software than the requirement to actually take
care of the customer. Very few businesses, still today, put the customer first
however their marketing screams service.
And not following any of the “blueprint” norms really comes
through. Does your website, SEO, SEM, mobile, call tracking and chat companies
really show an amazing zest for paying attention to you? And back you up? And
surprise you from time to time?
Recently my experiences with a couple airlines showcased, in
more detail, what happens to really separate customer service from promises of
service and marketing. With the changes that Delta Airlines has applied to its
SkyMiles program to qualify for 2014 status, the reduction of benefits for my
level (Silver Elite) of status including the amount of complimentary bags you
can check in (now one, so “bag” is more appropriate) and, seemingly, the
ongoing increase in SkyMiles it takes to book an award ticket, coupled with the
number of flights I’ve taken on Alaska (claiming Delta SkyMiles) over the past
couple years with great on-board experience the decision to switch programs
happened last month.
While I’m no social media superstar or influencer, Delta has
followed me on Twitter for quite a while and has, for the most part, responded
to my tweets and mentions whenever they happen. My tweets talking about my
switch to Alaska Airlines resulted in no mentions from Delta’s online teams
(including @Delta and @DeltaAssist) to keep me loyal, however Alaska Airlines
(@AlaskaAir) followed immediately and has mentioned back as well as sent direct
messages. And that is on top of the significantly better experience when flying
On my last flight, Alaska’s ticket counter staff was fantastic,
accommodating my bag without question (my previous flight they accommodated
two, one more than Delta and I didn’t have MVP status on Alaska!). My bag,
which was checked in 32 minutes before the flight made it and the gate agent
addressed every customer when boarding by their first name. Class acts for sure
and to top it off, the counter agent matched my Delta status on Alaska
effective immediately; One person, empowered to make that happen, however the impression
and experience did so much more. With a smile on her face making me smile and
thinking about how to make our customers’ experience even better.
So what does this make you think about? Your investment, or
lack of, in customer service? Whether you have a satisfaction agent or not?
Many companies wrap themselves in customer service; however
when was the last time they paid you a visit entirely based on anything but a report,
pitch, upsell or because they were asked to?
Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results