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Reverse Customer Service Strategy

Posted By Diane Helbig On October 12, 2012 @ 2:00 pm In Management | 15 Comments

I recently had a fascinating experience with my cellphone service provider that was a great example of reverse customer service. And it went a little something like this. . .

upset customer cell

My children and I started experiencing call and text interruptions over a couple of days. These breaks in service were happening in my house. We’ve had this service for many years and have never had a problem like this.

Over a two day period I texted, visited and called the provider about this situation. Apparently they were working on a tower in my area and this was causing the problem. I mentioned to several people what I thought was a common sense customer service tactic that would have helped:

“Since you have all of our cell numbers, why not text us when you are going to be working on a tower? Then we’d know what was going on in the event we had reception issues.”

No one I spoke with thought it was a good idea. Frankly, I don’t think they understood what I was trying to tell them.

Guess what happened a day later?

I received a text message telling me I’d be receiving a text survey about the customer service I received.

Seriously?

They could use the text messaging feature to find out how my experience was with their customer service department but they couldn’t use it to keep me informed about the use of the product I was paying them for?

We Can Learn A Lot From This Experience

It shows that companies often spend more time thinking about what THEY need instead of what their CLIENTS need. That’s backwards. I know it may seem like they care when they want to be sure the customer service experience was good.

However, if they would focus on how their clients are experiencing the product or service they’d have fewer problems to handle.

Put Yourself In The Client’s Shoes

At the beginning, not at the problem stage:

  • What might they want to know?
  • What might they need to know?
  • What information do you have that if shared with them, would make their experience better or not bad?

I think we are trained to offer our product or service in its most basic form. Then we establish a system for dealing with issues when and if they arise. We consider ourselves stellar if we then add in a follow up to that customer service experience. See, we really care!

Hold the phone! If you really cared you’d make sure my experience with the product or service was stellar; not the follow up to the complaint.

You can work on this backwards and implement a strategy that will prevent the reverse customer service experience described above. Think about your own business. Think about any and all situations when clients called or emailed your customer service department:

  • What was their issue?
  • Was it something you were aware of?
  • Could you have avoided the call by sharing information?

If so, implement a communication strategy for reaching out to your clients. Don’t be afraid to tell them something if that knowledge will help them understand their experience. In all honesty, they’ll love you for thinking about them instead of yourself.

That is true customer service.

Upset Customer [1] Photo via Shutterstock


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[1] Upset Customer: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-20843854/stock-photo-a-woman-talking-on-cell-phone-with-upset-expression-shot-outdoors.html