Monday, March 30, 2009

Verizon's Online Community Forums

In a press release issued today, Verizon said that its new online community forums have proven to be a great place for customers to connect about service issues and even to reach the customer service department. According to the release, one of the growing base of super users is Justin McMurry of Keller, Texas, who describes his involvement as growing from a natural interest in Verizon's FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services. Formerly a technical support expert for many years at a major technology company, McMurry said he enjoys solving problems and answering questions for others who visit the Community Forums in search of real-time feedback from fellow customers.

Are online forums a passing fad or here to stay?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Waiting on hold

Any customer knows what it's like to call a company just to be routed through directory after directory. VoIP-News recently published a list of ways to get around waiting for a customer service representative.

So what are the right characters to push:
  1. Press zero. Pressing zero will often result in a direct route to a live person. Continue pressing zero until you're put through. You may need to try combinations such as "0#," "#0," "0*" or "*0."
  2. Memorize prompts. If you're unfortunate enough to have call about the same issue on a regular basis, memorize the prompts that work for you.
  3. Press the pound key. Skip to the next message or just confuse the system by pressing this character.
  4. Press the star key. Again, the star key can open up system tricks or simply make the system give up on you.
  5. Press everything. By pressing multiple numbers, you can trick systems into thinking you're on a rotary phone — or that you're crazy. Either way, you're in.
  6. Go through the phone prompts. Sometimes it pays to work with the system.
  7. Press any digit repeatedly. You may land in the wrong department, but you'll end up at beginning of line when you're transferred.
For the complete list, read the article here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Twittering Your Customer Service Woes

According to,, the Web-based customer relationship management service that says it has more than a million subscribers, has legitimized the tweet as a cry for help by incorporating Twitter into its system. Now, when customers gripe on Twitter, Salesforce can automatically log a support request, and then post a human response back onto Twitter. Zappos, and Comcast are just a few of the companies using Twitter for customer service. Do you think more companies will follow suit? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Animal shelter promotes better customer service

In Billings, Montana, the animal shelter is looking to create better service that will both help its customers and the pets they take care of. The city of Billings handed over the animal shelter to a private organization which will focus on customer service in order to save lives of animals. They'll be open longer hours and more days in order to allow more people to come in to adopt the pets. They'll also focus on recruiting volunteers and promoting foster programs with animal rescue groups. This case of customer service not only helps out the animal shelter's customers, but also serves in providing the pets with a better life.

Source: Billings Gazette

Friday, March 20, 2009

Balancing Customer Service and Satisfaction

Harvard Business Publishing recently ran a post on customer service and the balancing act that corporations must do to earn both customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. According to the post, managers often view service efficiency and customer satisfaction as incompatible goals. But they don't have to be. By maintaining customer service during a slowdown, companies with a strong core of loyal customers position themselves for growth and gain a competitive edge. What do you think is the key to balancing these two customer service goals?

Be sure to check out the rest of the post here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Win your customer loyalty the old fashioned way

Over at Customer Think, Kevin Stirtz recently looked at two simple ways you can continue to keep your customers loyal to you: know what they want, and know what you are best at. It's vital that you keep communication roads open, and that it is easy for both your customers and employees to give you feedback. If you make a goal to listen to their feedback and begin to use it to improve their expreience, customers will keep coming back to you.

What do you do to encourage feedback from both your employees and customers?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How To Not Fail At Customer Service (Kudos to Canon)

Brad Moon, at Wired's GeekDad discusses in his blog post how companies can excel at customer service. Moon uses a recent transaction with Canon's customer service as an example of stellar customer service. Moon writes, ... the company identified an issue with its products and it's standing behind them, taking the responsibility for ensuring customers aren't left holding the bag. Sage advice for any customer service executive or representative. Lead by example, and as Moon says, retain customers--perhaps one of them will write a successful blog touting your product!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Too much customer service?

I came across this article at MSNBC, which asks the question "Can there be a thing such as too much customer service?". Some of the responses, which were collected from Twitter, included:

Katie_Traut: Yes, I think so. Take Martin+Osa. I love their clothes, but dread going in b/c the salespeople all harass you and stalk you.

apfriedman: yeah ... my dealership insists on calling my cell & sending an email survey every time I get my oil changed.

What do you think? Can there be a point when there is too much customer service?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Customer Service Overkill

Eve Tahmincioglu of, recently did a small survey via Twitter about customer service that's gone overboard. In her piece, Customer Service Overkill Can Kill You, she asks, "Can there be too much customer service?/is too much attention a miss?" She received a varied response from her Twitter friends, including a few about stores or salesmen that shopper's avoid. We enourage you to check out Ms. Tahmincioglu's piece and see if you agree with her thoughts on customer service? What do you think--can customer service go overboard?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Invest in your employees

The 1to1 Blog recently wrote an article that once again placed customer service on the shoulders of the employees. When a company invests and trains in their employees, the customer experience is ultimately a better one. A great example is this one from PetSmart:

Molloy explained that employees are trained, for example, to move dog owners shopping for dog food "up the aisle" from grocery brands to mid-priced "bridge" brands to premiums brands. Since pet food accounts for the bulk of PetSmart's revenue, having engaged employees who are comfortable with and trained to move customers along the value chain can make a significant impact on the bottom line.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How do you create loyalty?

The Sacramento Bee recently wrote an article on how companies should be continuing to create great customer service. However, with dwindling customers, how are they going to do this? They're also facing fewer working staff to give the customers the service they truly deserve. The news article collects thoughts from store owners and customers from around the country.

How are you continuing to give your customers the great service they deserve, even though you may be a little short handed?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Best and Worst Small Business Customer Service Rankings

Angie's List recently compiled a listing of the best and worst customer service small businesses. As reported in, based on a survey of its more than 750,000 members by Angie's List these members attached grades to companies in more than 425 service categories, judging the companies based on overall experience, price, quality, responsiveness and punctuality. The best small business with customer service is the piano and the worst are bridal shops. Interesting finds. Check out the entire list here and let us know your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why Customer Communities Work

The 1to1 Blog welcomes guest blogger, Natalie Petouhoff, Ph.D. do discuss why customer communities work and how to make them work for your company. Here are a few snippets that we saw of interest to our community:

Customer service communities are being deployed differently than most technology applications. How?

1. The focus is on the customer
2. Executives are talking directly to the customers
3. The focus is more on strategy and management (people part of business) than technology
4. The customer experienced is mapped before designing and deploying the community
5. Voice of the customer is honest, transparent, and direct

Dr. Petouhoff discusses other ways in which customer service communities are being deployed, check them out on her original post here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Improve your customer service right away

Over at the Customers Think blog, they address how you can start improving your customer service right away in a inexpensive, and relatively fast, manner. Recognize your employees for their great customer service you observe. When you see them do something outstanding, reward them for it. Positive feedback is a great way to encourage your employees, and as a result have happier customers. For more tips on improving your customer service right now, read the post here.