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Customer Service is the New Marketing

csitnm_badge I’m proud to be involved with a conference that will be going on in San Francisco in February called Customer Service in the New Marketing. It is a one day summit that focuses on customer service and its convergence with marketing.

The summit is being put on by the company behind Get Satisfaction (reviewed here). I’m helping to organize the event and it has been very exciting.

So far, we have a lot of great speakers lined up. We have leaders from companies like Zappos.com, Ning, Virgin, Timbuk2, Flickr, and more speaking at keynotes and participating in two great panels. As someone involved with helping to line up speakers, I can say that we put a lot of effort into putting together a terrific (and industry / job diverse) speaker lineup.

The summit is a really great opportunity to not only learn about customer service and how it is extremely relevant in today’s business world, but also to meet a lot of interesting people. I’m really looking forward to meeting a lot of executives and leaders that believe in the importance of customer service.

The summit is being held in San Francisco on February 4. If you’re interested in speaking or sponsoring the event, post a comment here and I can put you in touch with the right people.

If you’re interested in attending, you can use the code SUBL to get 15% off the ticket. All the details of the summit and the link to register can be found at the summit’s web site. This isn’t an event you want to miss.

Thanks HostColor!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and has been enjoying their weekend.

It is the time of the month where I must say a special thanks to HostColor for advertising on Service Untitled.

If you are interested in hosting with HostColor (their plans start at $25 a year), just send them an email and let them know that you read Service Untitled – you’ll save 20% on your first order. Click here or their logo above for more details.

If you are interested in advertising on Service Untitled, please contact us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving A very Happy Thanksgiving to all Service Untitled readers in the United States. For readers outside of the U.S., a very happy November 22!

Take some time to give thanks, have fun with friends and family, and of course, eat turkey!

There won’t be a new post on Service Untitled today, but we’ll be back tomorrow with some tips for handling Black Friday customer service.

Comment and Win!

This week started off with part one of a three part interview with an executive from SupportSoft, the company behind Support.com.

To add a little interest and excite, anyone who comments on any of the posts involving Support.com and/or SupportSoft, will be eligible to win a free USB massager. It is a neat little gift that makes a great gift for you or even a customer service stocking stuffer.

Service Untitled has been given a couple of massagers to giveaway, so get commenting! (And expect some more giveaways in the future!)

Directory Assistance Service

Here is a funny video about customer service to lighten up your weekend a little bit:

There is some bad language (briefly). If you are having any trouble viewing the video, just click here.

Thanks to Workforce Developments for pointing it out!

Happy National Customer Service Week!

388197432_f33a941ab8 I’d like to wish a very Happy National Customer Service Week to everyone. While I never advocate customer service being a weekly, monthly, etc. theme for your company (it should be permanent), there is nothing wrong with a week to recognize customer service.

The official web site has some tips here. As my friend and fellow customer service writer suggests, just take a few moments and say thanks! Thanks to your customers, friends, employees, and so on.

Here are some helpful links:

Thank you for reading Service Untitled! Thanks for telling your friends and helping to spread the word. It has been (and continues to be) a lot of fun.

Photo/image courtesy of juniperberry.

Advertiser Day at Service Untitled

I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday!

A special thanks to HostColor for advertising on Service Untitled.

If you are interested in hosting with HostColor (their plans start at $25 a year), just send them an email and let them know that you read Service Untitled – you’ll save 20% on your first order. Click here or their logo above for more details.

If you are interested in advertising on Service Untitled, please contact us.

The Ringing

Everyone has called a company and gotten what I call “the ringing.” It is when you call and the phone just seems to keep on ringing. No phone menu, no answering machine, just lots of ringing.

As a customer, this makes you rather nervous or frustrated. If something is going wrong, then you are obviously quite nervous. If you are just a potential customer or have a casual question, it will probably frustrate you.

Regardless of who you are, you aren’t happy when you just get the ringing. Thoughts about the company’s possible technical incompetence, lack of financial stability, or even continued existence probably pop into your head. A company like that certainly isn’t one you want to buy from. A company like that certainly isn’t one you want to continue doing business with.

As a company, you should work to avoid the ringing. Not just the actual ringing that is likely caused by a problem with your IVR, but all types of similar problems. Little things that can quickly frustrate a customer that are probably completely accidental. Things like:

  • “The ringing”
  • Getting disconnected during transfers
  • Getting disconnected at all (when the customer knows it isn’t their fault)
  • Errors when a customer tries to do a live chat or submit a ticket online
  • Looping / repeating IVR menus
  • Little errors on your web site that make it impossible to navigate to a page or login

All of these are little things that drive a customer crazy. They may instantly turn the customer off. At the very least, they will cause the customer to think about other companies and re-evaluate their current deal with you.

The easiest way to prevent things like the ringing are to watch for them. Call your phone number to make sure it’s working. Check the status of your web site. Have representatives browse your web site and call your company when they start their shift. 5 or 10 minutes and it could save you a lot of upset customers.

Then, if you do notice a problem: fix it. When you fix it, make sure it won’t happen again. If it only happens once, the customer will probably forget about it. If they notice “the ringing” every time they call, chances are they won’t be happy.

On this very same note, my sincere apologies about the downtime yesterday evening. There were some technical problems. I bet when you try to visit a customer service blog that is down that you don’t think too highly of it! Well, we certainly dropped the ball and don’t want Service Untitled to be down any more than you do.

What similar things to the ringing can you think of? How does your company deal with them?

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