Customer Service / Online Marketing – One Rock at a Time

How to move mountains – eCommerce & eMarketing strategy for success!

I’m a Wells Fargo customer (as well as having other bank accounts) and I like their online banking because it’s obvious they put a lot of thought into the customer experience.

Usability is key to customer satisfaction, and in the case of online banking, key to customer confidence.

With all the offline ‘crap’ going on in the financial world, it’s nice when a company makes little gestures to reassure.

Wells Fargo adds this little message on login:

Wells Fargo "one moment please" messaging

Is it really necessary? Of course not. A blank screen would suffice from a technology standpoint. But incremental reassurances are good practice and good customer service.

My other bank, who shall remain anonymous, but rhymes with a killer whale at Seaworld, throws the customer right into their account (at least they did last time I checked) – same for my credit card company.

signoff

Wells Fargo even sends you to a sign out confirmation page when you’re done. With simple observation, you’re out… if you want back in you’re going to have to login again. And it gives you a link back to the sign on page.

Good usability. Good reassurance. Good bank.

My cup doth not runneth over… and neither did my bowl the other night at California Pizza Kitchen.

To my regular readers who may think I’ve turned all “culinary” due to some recent posts’  focus on food and cuisine – I offer no apologies, I am guided by experiences in real life, and we all need to eat, don’t we? (Don’t answer if you’re on one of those body-flushing binges of pureed slop and green tea enemas, I don’t want to know. Seriously.)

Any hoo… this happened last week here in beautiful downtown Encino, at the local CPK, a mixture of California cuisine (whatever that is) and Italian pizza house, with a distinct twist of “whatever we can get away with“.

I love their split pea and barley soup. It’s pea-y and has lumps of carrots and barley and is (normally) thick enough to be filling and hot enough to “warm the cockles of your soul” – it’s that good IMHO.

So I order it and it arrives.

As the waiter puts the bowl down on the table, I immediately see something is wrong.

Whereby in “normal” circumstances my “bowl runneth over“, in this particular case, the ‘soup line’ was a clear 1/4 inch below the rim of the bowl.

Being the loud-mouthed Englishman I am, I immediately said to the waiter “Are you guys cutting back on the soup, or what?”

To which… he laughed. He LAUGHED! He freakin’ laughed

As I’m used to misunderstandings and certain blank stares due to my accent, I passed it off as “he-didn’t-understand-I’m-pissed” and asked to talk to the manager.

Manager comes over, and I ask him if they’re offering smaller portions of soup, due to the economy, an unannounced pea shortage, or a smaller ladle...

He said “No, but make sure next time when you come in they fill it to the top.”

Now I must add, I had taken a few spoonfuls, but the ‘soup line’ was still obviously ‘volume challenged’ and this manager appeared to understand my English fine.

I was out for a quiet dinner with my mother-in-law, so didn’t want to make too much of a scene.

Ate my soup. Came home. Called CPK customer service.

The well-trained customer service rep was suitably aghast at my lack of soup fulfillment and promised to look into it and get back to me. I’ll update with any update or resolution.

Lesson of the day.

The best solution to good customer service is often the simplest. Fix the problem. Then and there.

Offering to fill my bowl, or give me another bowl would have saved my ire (though, arguably given me nothing to blog about).

Online, it’s not always easy to fix a problem as it happens. Most interactions are live but without life (human interaction). The next best thing is to offer a toll-free support number, and actually have someone there to answer the calls when they come in. After that, as far as email support, set an expectation and exceed it. i.e. post you respond within 2 business hours and get back to them in 1 OR call them back.

Let my soup experience be a learning experience for better customer experience.

Fix a problem as soon as you can. Don’t leave your customers high, dry and starved for soup!

The Best Analytics Program in the World is

Your ears.

Talk to your customers, elicit input, provide mechanism for feedback, test vigorously, beta updates to internal and external audiences, listen.

Analytics isn’t just about seeing who visits your site, it’s about ensuring the experience when someone arrives exceeds their expectations.

By consistently polling your customers, site visitors and prospects, you’ll have much of the information you’ll need to support your online success.

I am the most important person in the world!

At least I should be to any business where I spend a buck. I am a customer and I should be treated as if their business depends upon my satisfaction because ultimately, it does!

So here I am in a particular today and nature calls. Actually nature yells and I answer her with a quick trot to the mens room. (Note, this is probably too much information, but I’m painting a vivid picture, I hope.)

This particular establishment perhaps encourage dalliance with advertising and marketing posters in the little boys room (great brand association??), and after skimming over their messages I reach out and gingerly feel the bathroom tissue. With my eyes closed, it could be mistaken for medium sandpaper and, after a quick shudder, it got me thinking about what this roll of one-ply brand messaging says about customer appreciation and service.

I won’t bore you with the details of what happened next but afterwards, at home, I looked up the relative cost of one-ply vs two-ply bulk purchase;

one-ply = 0.114c per sheet

two-ply = 0.144c per sheet

[source: http://www.bettymills.com]

Doing the math… net 0.03c per sheet savings by using the one-ply variety.

Let’s say this equates to an approximate net savings of 2-3 cents per customer per “visit”

Net pain in the butt (figuratively) experience for customer, a helluva lot more.

I’m certain an accountant somewhere is adding up these pennies and rubbing their hands gleefully, but at what price?

When I spend a penny at a place when I spend my bucks, I’d like to be treated like royalty from top to bottom (pun intended) and at every customer touch point (still going with the puns).

Before you attempt to save pennies with one-ply customer service, think of the net effect and spend the extra time, energy and possibly money to deliver a two-ply experience.

Customers appreciate the little ‘extras’, and that’s sure to help your bottom line! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist it!)

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