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Dave Brock is President and CEO of Partners In EXCELLENCE, a global consulting company focused on helping organizations achieve the highest levels of performance in sales, marketing, customer service and business strategy. He helps individuals and organizations develop and execute strategies to outPerform, outSell, and outCompete their competition. Dave is an internationally recognized speaker, writer, and thought leader in leadership, sales, value propositions, marketing, strategic alliances and partnering, business strategy and management.
This is a really interesting topic. In responding to Robin"s question about whether it's wrong, the answer is it depends.
The issue is really "what do you want to stand for to your followers? For example, I want to "stand for" pointing my followers to quality, provocative, and thoughtful content or points of view. This means, I have to read every piece of content I tweet or RT.
I would never think of tweeting something I haven't read or that doesn't fit my assessment as quality content. Likewise, I would never use any of the automated tools like Triberr, etc. because I would be betraying the implicit commitment I've made to my followers.
Does it pay off? It seems to for me--at least I get feedback from followers who "get" and appreciate what I'm doing. Does it take time, Yes--but if I want to provide quality impactful content to my followers, aren't I obligated to take the time.
Where motives seem very transparent, those who position themselves as "quality content curators," who autotweet a chicken soup recipe, or some other nonsense. They've betrayed the "relationship," and betrayed motives around escalating the volume of noise, etc.
But using those tools, not reading the content, etc. will work for people who have a completely different engagement strategy. And that will attract followers who appreciate that.
Jem, Paul: Great comments and thoughts. I'm a big (now bigger) fan of Dave Carroll.
Jem, in response to your thoughts, all the people were very polite and courteous. They understood the situation and did what the could. I think the issue is more systemic in the informaiton United (and other airlines) give their agents. I think they give agents very restricted information, so the agent's ability to help the customer is limited. For example, when I first learned of the problem and sought to go back onto my original flight, the agent said there were no seats on the original flight and the standby list (even with my high placement on it) made things look very questionable. About 10 minutes before that flight was scheduled to depart, I passed the gate. Out of curiosity, I checked with the gate agent. He said, they had boarded lots of standbys and had I gotten on the list when I originally attempted to, I would have likely been seated.
What happens, is the airlines only make seats available at a certain time. While the agents can see it, they can do nothing with it. I could go on (as you might guess, I had hours of idle time to start researching the airlines). But I really think the issue is more systemic than individual agents.
It points out a fundamental issue on customer service that I think too many companies miss. Regardless how well you train your agents to deal with upset customers, if you don't give them the informtaion and tools they need to be really helpful, then there are limits to what they can do. What's worse, is these poor agents bear the brunt of the customer ire.
Gregory: I'm not sure I agree with you. I think many companies are getting it right--or at least on the path to getting it right. There are examples of large companies that create good customer experiences. Those that are successful have a culture of customer centricity--driven from the top, throughout the organization.
Glen: Great comment and observations. I'm not sure I intended to describe the sales person as a conduit to all customer interactions and experience. I think there are probably many good designs for customer experience. What you do describe--which is part of what I was trying to write about, is that too many organizations design the "customer experience" based on their internal needs, efficiencies, etc, not based on making it easy/attractive for the customer to buy.
If one of our goals is to expand our wallet share of customers, it seems that we should do everything possible to make it easy to be a customer. That's making it easy to buy, easy to get answers, etc.
Thanks Pat, it's a shame that millions of dollars and hours of time are wasted in alienating customers and prospects. When will managers learn?