6 Customer Service Insights From Peter Shankman

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Three-quarters of customers in the United States experienced rudeness in an interaction with a customer service representative, according to Peter Shankman in his latest book “Zombie Loyalists.”

Each instance of poor customer service results in $700 in lost sales and an estimated 700 people hearing about it on social.

Not only is that killing your brand, it’s hurting your bottom line. Peter argues that having an audience is a privilege and not a right, and treating your audience well creates customers so loyal that they will use word of mouth to do the most effective PR and marketing your brand has ever seen.

On March 11, Peter will host a free Cision webinar that will help you build a raving fan base through astounding customer service, generate word-of-mouth marketing, and drive sales using loyalty tactics employed by top brands.

Stellar customer service is something that Peter, the founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO), has long had a passion for. Here are some insights from around the Internet.

1. Cater to your audience

An audience is built over time, and on one simple premise: Give them what they want. Audiences today are mobile. They can go anywhere, anytime, by click a mouse or scrolling off your site. Want them to listen to you, or even more, buy from you? Give them what they want, how they want it. — No You Cannot Borrow My Audience

If your audience haunts a particular social network, reach out to them there. If they prefer to communicate via email, let them reach you directly and personalize the interaction. Want to know where your audience lives? Peter says to ask them.

2. Consider lifetime value

3. Just be better than bad

Ok - Customer Service - Word of Mouth Marketing

We don’t expect to be treated well. We go to a restaurant, we expect there to be a delay, our reservation is going to be late. Our flight is going to be late. We’re going to have issues with the TSA. Our room is not going to be ready. The bar is so unbelievably low that we really don’t have to go that hard out of the park, all we have to do is essentially be one level above bad. You don’t even have to be great. One level above bad. Go two or three levels above bad, people remember that. — Best Seller TV: Peter Shankman

Peter uses a famous hotel chain as an example. He says that they don’t hire people for talent because they can train someone to do the technical parts of the job well. Instead, they look for someone with empathy and the desire to help, traits they can’t teach.

Creating empathy, Peter says, starts with the CEO and works it’s way to the bottom.

4. You’re not as good as you think

A study came out last year that said 88 percent of all businesses, CEOs especially, believed they were providing stellar customer service. Then they interviewed the customers of those businesses, 8 percent said the same thing. — Best Seller TV: Peter Shankman

What you consider good customer service either doesn’t cut the mustard or a disconnect exists from what executives see and how customers are treated when engaging employees. Put forth an effort to treat customers better, and you’ll see positive business results.

5. Empower employees

Superhero - Empower Employees - Customer Service

People tend to explore customer service as an afterthought. The problem with using it as an afterthought is you don’t have the ability to fix problems before they become problems. If you rely on customer service as an afterthought, you have to fix the problems after they become problems. If you fix problems before they become problems, you avoid them. — Peter Shankman and Kim Garst Talk Authenticity, Customer Service and Zombies

After a frustrating car rental experience in which five employees couldn’t fix his issue, Peter switched to another brand and never looked back. It didn’t have to come to that, though, he says.

None of the employees he dealt with had the ability to make decisions on their own. Empower your employees, especially those on the front lines, to help customers, resolve issues and keep customers in the future. They should only fear a reprimand if they do not actively try to fix a customer’s problem.

6. Be stellar or whither

Let me be blunt as humanly possible, without stellar customer service your business will die. This isn’t a fear-based phrase; it’s the truth. IF you’re not focuse on whole-heartedly on making every customer experience over the top and awe-inspiring, and if you don’t drill that mentality down the entire line of your business, your business will die. But here’s the funny thing: good customer service is easy to establish and pretty cheap as well—not bad for your most valuable, asset-building calling card. — Nice Companies Finish First

Want to learn about how to turn customers into fervent fans who will do your marketing and PR for you? Sign up for his free webinar now!

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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