Everybody has had a bad customer service experience. We’ve all called and heard the old, “Your call is important to us,” and after waiting for wait seems like an eternity we come to the conclusion that the call couldn’t have been any less important.
I’ve got bad news for the customer. You might be getting fired. You see, even organizations like Zappos and Amazon will fire a customer. Even these great customer-centric companies have realized that not every customer is worth keeping.
Do a quick search of Twitter and you’ll find hundreds of complainers and whiners looking for something. Are some of these complaints valid? Of course. But the fact of the matter is the Internet has given everyone and anyone a megaphone to lodge their complaints and criticisms.
There are a couple things I want to make note of…
1) It’s up to organizations to sort the valid criticisms & feedback from the invalid. When I’m asked to speak on a topic like Online Reputation Management (which is silly in itself because you only have ONE reputation… they aren’t separate entities) I’ll often spend a little time talking about how you do this and how you respond accordingly to both the valid and invalid.
The default solutions suggested by most of the “social media strategists” are always always based on contingent actions. What actions can we take once the fire has already started?
2) Recognize that it’s OK to fire a customer. Some customers are simply impossible to satisfy. Others are looking for something for free. While others, with a valid issue, are looking to be heard and recognized.
Those same ‘experts and strategists’ often spread the gospel that the only way to do business in 2013 is to be prepared to bend over backwards for everyone with a complaint. Again, focusing on a contingent action in hopes they don’t say anything negative about us.
Instead we must ask ourselves – what can we do to prevent a valid criticism from being an issue again? Preventive actions are far more important than contingent.
How can we resolve the issue at hand?
Does this customers have a history of this before, and if so, should she be fired?
I’m not suggesting you transform your customer service team into Donald’s boardroom, but I am suggesting that not every customer is worth keeping.
It’s OK if you have to let one go.