The top companies never create doubt with their customers. They provide flawless service of the highest caliber thus creating high levels of customer trust. Not every company can operate as consistently as the Ritz Carlton or Zappos, but positive problem resolution can build customer engagement. Now the question is how can an organization that experiences a problem regain their professional composure and still maintain that ever sought after customer engagement?
In today's market, customers use online and offline engagement with each other or with a company, and with this avalanche of data, customers make their decision where to shop, how much to spend, and who gives the best service and support. Since the explosive use of Twitter, Google, and Facebook, social media has become fully integrated into a customer's overall marketing decision. So when a company's product or service department goes awry, it's likely to cause a cosmic stir.
People don't forget when there's a problem, but rather than accept failure or try to make excuses, an organization should engage in a positive problem resolution. For instance, in the case of Radio Shack when I purchased one of their wireless phones, within two months the phone didn't work. I returned the phone, and the store replaced it. Not one month later, the replacement phone didn't work, so again I returned it, and the store offered to give me a third phone. By this time I didn't want the third phone and just asked for a refund. I felt there was no resolution to my problem, and since that time I have not purchased anything in Radio Shack. They weren't rude; they refunded my money, but they never did anything to show me they even cared about my problem or their product failure.
Organizations that have experienced problems with certain products or service, can actually use their failures to build customer engagement. When companies figure out how they failed, and effectively handle complaints, customers feel they are important. Radio Shack never asked me for any customer feedback; they just exchanged the phone. When the product failed the second time, the sales representative didn't even flinch when I asked for a refund instead of the third replacement. Where were the tools, and why wasn't an employee trained to handle an obvious product failure?
Here is what should have happened. After my first experience with a faulty product, a representative should have asked me for feedback about the product. When the replacement product failed again, the company should have been figuring out what went wrong; especially in light of the sales person admitting other phones had also been returned. The manufacturer should have been working on the obvious design flaw. A different phone should have been offered as a replacement, even if the company had to replace it with a more expensive model. I should have been "wowed" with the customer experience that showed Radio Shack really cared about me. Instead I went to Brands Mart and found a phone that worked.
If you have a product failure or a service failure, research, plan, engage, and measure. Identify and analyze what customers are saying through social conversations. The incoming data can positively fuel the growth of an organization that uses a systematic recovery plan. Even through failures, that bright light of success can shine through.