This is a short blog, am sure there is something I can develop as a longer article here, just don’t want to forget it all…
I work in social media networking and I have very many conversations everyday, like everyone, we are always talking on the phone, on email, on text, and now online with Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and any other social network we are on. Sometimes I think its more conversations now more than ever. In a shift that’s been happening and is growing globally and here, Social media or social networking is becoming a critical element of our day-to-day business and especially I think with customer service and relationship management and how we relate to organisations and how they or their representatives engage or enrage us. Am committed to transforming customer service here, even if it takes one agent and one company at a time.
One of the things I noticed recently was that I had made a shift from making customer complaints and enraging companies to engaging in customer conversations and building relationships. And the result has been both interesting and continuous. See before the shift a typical conversation with a customer care agent would have been me ranting and raving, being demanding and eventually hanging up the phone and never getting anywhere or anything resolved. I can only imagine what it was like for the agents or representatives.
As a Trekkie, I love Star Trek, and a great analogy for me these days is The Borg. They are an alien race that believes in one thing and one thing alone, taking over everything and everyone. they say Resistance is Futile! Now lets look at this with the situation of customer care agents and representatives. Resist what they say and you will not get anywhere. Give up and you will become assimilated into not making any difference and constantly changing services, companies or suppliers. See sometimes, the agents really and truthfully do not know what is going on,and they need to tell us that honestly and truthfully too versus running through the script, we are there, human, and human conversations matter more than scripts. There may be technical managers and technical issues they don’t know or how to handle. In my experience, we need more technical managers on customer care calls than ever before, too many times when I have called and been informed of technical problems, rarely, very rarely do technical managers come to the phone or return calls. The assumption is that they will fix the problem and you will find out and be ok with it when you find out.
If all customer care agents and relationship agents can do is keeping to the script they have, then something needs to be done to make the scripts more user-friendly, more organic and evolving. Saccharine sweet agents and responses will not engage me, they will enrage me and make me hunt your supervisor, manager, general manager, and even CEO down and write to him making your life as an agent that much more difficult. This is the beauty and danger of social networking and new media, any company or organisation worth its weight in advertising is now online, and its staff, whether sanctioned or not are also online and in real-time on the same networks as we are. Welcome to the era of digital footprints – you are no longer alone, unknown or unheard of. If you ever even sent 1 email we will find you.
So part of my shifting was to get out of this loop-de-loop and actually get answers for concern and complaints I may have , and that I figure other people may have. So stop with the complaining and start with the conversations. I have discovered that if you actually take the time, as cliché’, as it sounds and had conversations, engaging conversations where you partner the agents you will get more, faster, better results.
Engaging person is far more effective than enraging them. And it goes both ways. Customer agents to us, as well as us to the agents. And when you do find that person, nurture the relationship, they are your best partner for future. Now unless they genuinely don’t care about you, I promise you they is someone to engage with and solve your problem.