Category Archives: Customer Service

Customer Evangelists – Viral Sales

by: Anne Haynes

I work at one of the very “few” small to medium size organizations where the company promotes continual growth and learning.

In today’s monthly management meeting we reviewed the highlights of the book Creating Customer Evangelists.

One of the six tenets from the book Creating Customer Evangelists is Customer Delta: create regular and systematic customer feedback. As a group we talked about challenging clients and the importance of being truthful in communication and requesting client feedback.

The very first client that came to my mind was a non-profit client when I worked at a software company focused in the providing website solutions for non-profits

It was my first day at the company and my new boss approached me and requested assistance with a specific client because the company was understaffed at the time. Being my first day and the type of person I am, I stepped up for the challenge. Within a couple of hours I found myself with the CEO and senior account executive on an onsite client visit. The three men had polite conversation and the client mentioned 30-60-90. Because the firm’s software has over 500 turn-on features and modules, I kept listening to the conversation and took notes.

The meeting ended and on my way out of the organization I was introduced to the system administrator, database administrator and several business owners.

In the car on the way back to the office I found out that 30-60-90 was not a module created to help non-profits build web sites, but an ultimatum to the my new employer to get their act together. I was now the project manager for this non-profit and for the next 4 months I met with the client and listened to complaints and needs for 3 hours a week. I took great notes and created an issues list, which at its peek, reached 135 rows in excel. But I listened and I sought to understand instead of being understood. The client appreciated my listening skills, issues tracking and quick resolutions. The turning point was during a weekly meeting discussing issue number 27. In the meeting we were reviewing the class schedules and investigating why registered students were showing up to canceled classes. I asked the client to walk me through the business processes for class registration. As the business owners within the meeting spoke regarding the day-to-day processes, I translated the processes onto a whiteboard. Through listening and breaking down several processes spanning from how to update the web site to a student attending a class, it became clear that the true issue was not with the firm’s software product, but within the non-profit’s business processes. The organization needed a true product owner.

After this meeting my relationship with the client changed from listening to consulting.

Today, July 23, 2007 this client is still with my previous employer and is using the content management and customer relationship management system to manage emails, newsletters, donations, class registrations and an ecommerce store. I’m very proud of this experience in my career and the endorsement I received from the non-profit’s database administrator.

Through listening to clients the feedback comes out and it’s embedded in everyday conversations. Building relationships with clients based on listening and resolving issues creates Customer Evangelists.

Do you have an experience in turning a client into an evangelist?

Customer Service Matters – Anne Haynes

by: Anne Haynes

Today, I did my PR rounds at the agency; talking to account executives and producers. One account executive stood out and he/she turned me onto cli.ent.co.pi.a. After sending the link to my home computer, it became apparent to me after just a few scans with the eye that this site truly represents the world of customer service. As a client and a service person, I see both sides and have several highlighted memories in my mind of being completely and totally disappointed from a client perspective.

Because of this new found site, I must share my own experiences. I was working with a client and was supporting his/her needs to stay on a certain ASP. My client wanted to leverage the current marketing promotion of free internet hours. I drove from San Jose to San Francisco in my VW Golf (killing my clutch) and found myself drinking a glass of Markum Merlot with my client and being placed on hold for over 45 minutes. Finally after almost an hour, a person picked up and to my surprise I was not at the customer support of the ASP, but the customer support for a financial institution. The customer support representative from the financial institution apologized over and over. But I wasn’t done! At this point, my car had concerns, my client was cool, but I was determined to make a difference.

So, I called the ASP back and reiterated the above and the response from the customer support representative at the ASP was, in so many words, sorry but some of the people working at the ASP in the customer support center find it funny to drop clients into the financial partner queue.

I moved my client from one ASP to an ISP and taught him/her to use the internet like it’s supposed to be used.

In summary, don’t discount customer services. When you have a bad experience express yourself and make a difference. Just like the environment and recycling as customers we make change by increasing awareness of these issues.