Today’s customer service extends far beyond just the one-to-one relationship businesses have with their customers.
20+ years ago when I was being trained for a retail job at the mall (Sock Wear Consultant at Boston Socks) we were warned that happy customers will tell three friends but angry customers will tell dozens. Now angry customers can tell hundreds or thousands with a few key strokes. When combined with entertaining or aggravating images, videos or recordings, those complaints can go viral because they resonate with a common experience.
We experienced our own frustrations with Comcast when we opened our first AM:PM PR office in 2010. We couldn’t get anyone to talk with us at Comcast until we posted about our experience on Twitter. We got a call the same day and our issue was resolved by the following week.
Comcast appeared to handle this recent public customer service embarrassment well by:
- Taking responsibility;
- Apologizing; and
- Taking steps to get it fixed.
Time will tell how far Comcast will go to actually fix the problem. Pay policies at Comcast are coming to light that show the incensed employee on the recording is likely one of many and a symptom of a much larger customer service issue at Comcast. No one is surprised.
Comcast’s teachable moment demonstrates that brand damage can be substantial from one small incident involving a single employee in a large organization. Every customer interaction is an opportunity and a vulnerability. Customers want attention, honesty and efficiency. As long as you abide by those guiding principles, your reputation is protected.
Comcast and every business with customer service should assume every customer has thousands of social media connections and any interaction is being recorded. Today’s customers have the power and are enacting change – even in monolithic organizations. I like this trend. I know I’m inspired to hit “record” more often. I wish I thought to when going back and forth with a relentless car salesman last week…