Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service’
If something comes down your chimney on christmas eve, it could just be somebody’s else bank statement courtesy of Santander Bank who have admitted sending 35,000 customers to the wrong addresses following what they termed a printing glitch. “Glitch” is the banking term for a monumental customer service cock-up from the bank with nearly the worst customer service reputation in the UK. Santander is the Spanish bank that seems (“seems”) to have avoided the Spanish property meltdown and has gone on a bit of a buying spree since 2007 buying the UK bank/building society Abbey. Since then it has managed to obliterate the bank’s customer service reputation regularly polling at the bottom of customer service surveys.
You really wouldn’t want to be a reputation manager at Santander. The bank has failed to deliver on many of its promises and the brand has picked up little traction since the massive rebrand over the past few years. Of course, bank reputations have not really recovered since 2008 and for most customers, one bank is equally as bad as another. However banks try to position themselves as a “friend for life”, most customers know that the friendship does not extend beyond the first second of an overdraft and they know that all banks are exactly the same!
Santander are likely to be fined heavily by the regulators at the FSA for their latest failing, but it would change the core challenge for banks to make themselves more central to their customers’ lives in a positive way.
It amazes me that Google still gives DMOZ so much weight, it’s free and incredibly difficult to get a website listed on it. Of course DMOZ editor’s responses more often than not is the reason you are not listed is because it did not meet the criteria.
If DMOZ is overrun then the simple solution is to start charging for listings like many other directories.
I’m no rocket scientist, but the questions they ask are not exactly tough. In the good old days, sure you could get sites listed on DMOZ, but either they are over whelmed, badly managed or ran by people who only have self interest.
Here are the questions DMOZ ask to get listed:
- Site URL:
- Title of Site:
- Site Description:
I have tried to add loads of different sites over the years and like many other site owners have given up even trying. I am not interested in listing in DMOZ as a site as it does not generate much traffic. The problem is just how much weight Google gives to this directory, for this reason its the only good reason to get listed.
When I add a site I will look for where my competitor is and then request inclusion there because I know its the correct location, but still…. after 5 years still many of these sites are not included.
So Google should either offer to buy DMOZ and do a better job or drop it from its algorithm, because in my opinion if you don’t know a editor who will accept payment to get your sites listed then you’re not getting in.
Google does not need a directory because it’s search capability is so amazing why bother trying to run a primitive directory like DMOZ. It’s like comparing an Iphone today to an old red telephone box!!!
Last week, I was considering whether to move the company’s email services from our own server to Google professional applications; was, until I considered whether I would trust Google’s customer service to support me effectively. Instead I am moving to Rackspace that offers 24 hour phone support. I bring this up as a preface to a review of Google’s problems with customer service for the Nexus One handset.
Two weeks after launch and online forums are filled with complaints about technical issues with the Nexus One such as spotty 3G connectivity and the lack of support from Google. (see Google’s own customer support forums) The Nexus One like the iPhone is already attracting “fanboy” status with owners decrying vehemently any critics, but with sales of 20,000 (supposedly) and the forums containing 1000s of questions, it does look like there are some problems.
There are two tactical issues for Google to address:
- what the change in business model means for the business as a whole
- how they will address their new requirement for consumer customer service support.
and one wider strategic question:
- what impact this will have on their brand and reputation.
There seem to be two divergent views on the impact of the challenges on Google:
“Google tends to have a bit of a Teflon coating,” says Golvin. [Forrester Research] “People tend to cut them a lot more slack — as they do with Apple — than they do with their mobile operator.”
“It may be unfair to predict doom for a handset that came to market just two weeks ago, but it’s becoming clear that taking on the role of mobile retailer was a mistake for Google. It’s too early to predict that Google will kill the Nexus One, but it’s not too early to wonder whether it should.” [GigaOm website]
Although Google has been a consumer brand for a long time, they don’t strictly speaking have consumers as their paying customers. It has had a business to business model based around advertising, like many media companies. As such it has had modest customer service issues to manage and has developed sophisticated tools to support those businesses via Adwords accounts. Now with the Nexus One they are selling directly to consumers but they do not seem to have developed the same sophisticated tools to identify or support those handset users.
Consumers are tough cookies when it comes to demanding support for their idiocy and expect a voice at the end of the line, something Google does not do and something Google seems to have an antipathy for. So, if Google does not want to customer service, maybe they should not do retail at all. For the first time they can directly damage their relationship with vocal consumers who will begin to see Google as a whole in a different light. It is somewhat similar issue to Virgin: if your trains don’t run on time, what does it say about your bank or your airline?
Google does have a great opportunity by going direct as a retailer, but it will need to use its formidable brainpower to develop a customer service algorithm every bit as sophisticated as its search engine if it is to make a success of it!
It’s funny how the simplest lack of customers service or badly run service can get round the Internet. There are some people you just want to avoid offering bad service to like Matt Cutts, check out his U.S Airways Frequent Flyers Programme post.
In todays world of instant communication, it does not take long to get word out and if you have a massive following like Matt Cutts or Stephen Fry even quicker!!!
Hopefully U.S Airways will pick up on Matt’s post and respond accordingly. The airlines seem to really suffer when it comes to customer service, British Airways is great at loosing bags, Delta Airways serves pizza and lands at the scruffiest terminal in JFK. I think the airlines need to work harder on their reputation both on and off-line.
Reputation management and customer service run hand in hand, It’s simply because customers are turning their backs to businesses that do not deliver value and good customer service adds value. There’s no way around it. It’s not about being cheap or their would not be business and first class, it’s about looking after your customer.
Here are some Do’s
- If you promise something to a customer make sure you come through, if you can’t take the time and effort to explain why and offer an alternative or full refund.
- Keep customers informed and make it personal
Here are some don’t s
- Avoid not communicating with customers, even if just to say sorry no update
- Don’t give bogus reasons, be honest
- If a refund is due, don’t drag it out, just pay it
By no means is this an exhaustive list of costumer service points, just the ones that really annoy me.