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I have posted a fair amount recently about the increasing importance of delivering great customer service - http://bit.ly/nf0or. I was reminded of this again when I came across a reference to what has become known as the "United Breaks Guitars" phenomenon. United repeatedly refused to listen and take corrective action after damaging the guitars of Dave Carroll. He eventually wrote a song in response (see video below), and the rest is history with 6 Million views and untold damage to United.
In a world where consumer and peer reviews are available via social media, positive customer experiences become amplified and produce word-of-mouth referrals. On the flip side, negative customer experiences become amplified as well and can be kryptonite to even great companies. Compare and think about the impact of the two videos below.
Customer Service is the New Marketing
It's not rocket science. Listen to your customers. Try to deliver value to them and give them the tools to share their positive experiences. When they have negative experiences, be the first to hear them, take responsibility, and "make it right". You'll be surprised at how many of them you can convert into advocates.
There are no excuses. There are great tools available that cost almost nothing and enable you to be found, listen, and engage your customers in minutes a day.
So step up and give the gift of superb customer service this holiday season. Your customers and your bottom-line will thank you for it!