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Mayday! Customer service guaranteed to rescue users in times of need

Amazon is stepping up the customer service game for users of the new Kindle Fire HDX. For those of us who might be a tad technologically challenged or for any problem that might occur, Mayday is a built in remote support and instant helpline available to the consumer 24/7/365 days a year. So if you’re confused by the predecessors and have used YouTube videos or Googled your questions for years, the new age of customer service may be setting Amazon apart from their competition.

With just one button found in the tablet’s Quick Settings menu, the Kindle Fire HDX will summon an Amazon employee who is able to help solve any problems – from the simplest to perhaps the most complicated. Within 15 seconds, the Kindle owner can see the representative in a small window of their screen and the representative can even see the apps, and if necessary can draw on the Kindle to help the customer. Amazon assures us that the representative can not see us, but with the customer’s permission, can control the tablet remotely much like LogMeIn or TeamViewer.

The new Kindle Fire HDX offers double the memory, is 34% lighter, and has 11 hours of battery life – especially helpful when reading one of those extraordinarily long suspense novels you just can’t put down, but putting all technological help aside, the customer service aspect is a win, win, win. Since Amazon doesn’t have the convenience of a brick and mortar store like Apple and their Apple Geniuses, this free service guarantees a place in customer service heaven for so many users over the age of 25 who weren’t weaned on iPads and tablets. Amazon states their profit margin for the sale of Kindle tablets is slim, however they admit to raking in the profits in the sale of their devices.

Criticism on the downside of this customer service technology focuses on the possibility of Amazon reps having access to passwords and sensitive information. You can ask them to disable their screen however, but there are still some who are wary of security issues. It’s been said that 95% of the issues happen when devices are working as they should, but Amazon reps will be logging in every question and problem which will help to determine improvements in the future.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos easily stands by the side of such geniuses as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Larry Page. Bezos, as he rescues us from our customer frustrations, works on “customer delight.” Tech people who have tried out Mayday thus far have been pleased, but will Bezos’ promise that Christmas morning, my mother will be able to get live tech support within 15 seconds and a tech will be available to instruct my mom step by step? I guess it all remains to be seen.

How not to act when customer service fails miserably

This week was a drama-filled example of a customer “gone wild” when an incredibly frustrated customer service recording from Reddit was made public on YouTube. Picture a client, who for three hours tried in vain to get an issue resolved at an alleged home security organization, and went from agent to agent until finally customer service representative Michelle left a number for the client to call. The problem with that however, is that Michelle was nowhere to be found, and as the customer’s anger escalated, his behavior became inexcusable; pity the service representative named Mark who finally answered the call.

As we all believed once upon a time that the tooth fairy really existed, and the money left on our pillows in the morning came from an unbelievably beautiful princess with a magical wand, we all want to believe that organizations really want to keep our business and ultimately a customer service representative will come to our rescue. Of course, minus the magic wand, and too many times the long hold period with the repetitious sales pitch and elevator music, the transferring of one’s call to another representative, or the even more fearsome threat of being disconnected during call transfers, inept customer service can push the buttons of the most patient and optimistic soul.

It seems this in particular recording, allegedly from four years ago, pushed this customer’s sanity, because he curses, screams, and even threatens violence by coming to the customer center and using a machine gun. Customer service representative Mark who answered the phone at tech support was instructed by the customer not to put him on hold or even transfer him to another representative for fear of being disconnected again. Mark obliged the customer; we don’t really know why because without the necessary information from the customer as to the problem or even the customer’s identity, how could any questions be resolved? Was the customer service rule at the company never to hang up on anyone or be fired?

Regardless of the hysterics caused by this week’s ballistic outbreak from an out of control customer, it’s a good platform to help all of us not overreact to poor customer service. Not too long ago, most of us remember the airline attendant who went ballistic when a rude passenger angered him; he told the person off and then proceeded to slide down the emergency chute and exit the plane. We’ve seen customers break expensive china, throw diamonds into the rivers, and act so much out of control, we either cringe with fear or laugh hysterically, but a lesson for all of us lies somewhere beneath all that anger and the frustration.

Even if it means walking away from your computer or putting your IPhone away for a rest, stay calm. Most companies do allow their representatives to hang up when a customer calls and is profane or threatening. Have a clear, concise summary of your problem, and leave out the emotions. Be polite to the representative, and try to remember that person is there to help and has no preconceived notion to want to hurt you or not resolve your problem as quickly and effectively as possible. Of course, it’s no surprise when we reach low-level employees who have no discretion as to making exceptions or much talent in the problem solving issues, so be prepared to be transferred when dealing with certain companies. Too many companies don’t put the time or effort into proper training.  There’s nothing wrong with asking to speak with a supervisor, and sometimes it does take time for a return call, but try the obvious remedies first and make sure you hone in on the particular department applicable to your problem. Keep good records of everyone you speak with, and be persistent; again without being rude, and when all else fails, never be afraid to turn to government agencies, Better Business Bureau, or social media.

Everyone agrees poor customer service is frustrating, and as hard as we try sometimes, failures happen. Let’s just hope businesses have enough wisdom to want to keep you as a customer and resolves the issue before it is too late.

Here’s the video:

More to customer loyalty than just having a great product

Lizzie #265Most of us take great pride in the excellent products or services we provide, but let’s face it – there are many great organizations and service providers who do the same thing. So  how do we set ourselves apart from our competition? Better yet, how do we deliver customer service above and beyond; services and products which shoot us out of that “good” box and upward towards the big blue sky of “great”?

At one time, the only way to really figure out what customers wanted was through either the customer service help desk or via telephone. The task of customer feedback however, has now taken the social technology route – namely Facebook and Twitter. It’s easy for businesses to connect with customers, and we have the extra advantage of gathering information about our clients and customers – making it easier for us as business owners to fit their needs. Consumers readily tell us what displeases them, which for the astute listener and passionate organization owner, then helps us to analyze our strengths and weaknesses.  That encompasses listening to feedback very carefully and making adjustments when needed. For instance, if a customer complains on Facebook about a faulty product and the problem is addressed immediately, those wrongs become tools to turn the negative into the positive. If the problems with the faulty product are solved, it implements positive feedback, and as customers realize they are actually dealing with real people eager to help, we garner brand loyalty.

On the other hand, organizations can become victims of smear campaigns. Sometimes it happens because of rival competition while other problems may have arisen because of an unfortunate run of inadequate services or an inferior product. The best solution is to address the problems accordingly since negative accusations can certainly tarnish a business’ reputation. Whereas loyal customers statistically allow four tries to rectify a problem before moving on to the competition, shouldn’t a company just “fix it” in no more than two tries?  Acknowledge mistakes, apologize, and fix it. Those are the loyal customers who will speak favorably about an organization, thus encouraging others to speak out about their own favorable experiences. It may not always be a complete win, win, win; unfortunately social media also attracts a few less than desirable critics who for unknown reasons may just lash out for the sake of creating havoc. Again identify and address concerns, and just move on when indicated.

Brand loyalty develops deeper meaning as current customers continue buying our products or using our services year after year. What has commonly happened however, is the obsession with finding new customers. Too many times the old customers are ignored. We advertise great offers and customer service excellence for new customers signing up, special discounts, and promo packages. Meanwhile the “regulars” may have to tolerate poor support and lose out on the benefits offered to new consumers. Don’t get obsessed with finding new customers; it’s much more expensive to lose those loyal clients who year after year have helped your business to grow. Be fair, be honest, be gracious, and treat each customer as a respected individual.