“Think of Yelp or TripAdvisor,” says Kathy Cuff, coauthor of Legendary Service: The Key Is to Care. “You can go online and read hundreds of experiences other people have had with individual employees at thousands of restaurants, resorts, and other companies. What does this mean to you? It means that one customer’s good or bad experience with one of your employees can become front page news for other prospective customers at precisely the time they are considering buying a product or service from your company.
In an interview for this month’s issue of Blanchard Ignite! Cuff explains that, “Today’s customer has a big megaphone in that small mobile device and isn’t afraid to use it. Here’s an example: I was on a flight recently that was delayed because of weather. Finally, at midnight, the flight was canceled. As the airline was trying to rebook all of us, a young man behind me logged into Twitter and started tweeting about how frustrated he was with the airline and how horrible they were.
“I got on standby for the first flight out in the morning because I had mileage status with that airline, but the young man was rerouted on a later flight and wouldn’t get to his destination until 24 hours later. I settled into a chair to take a nap until morning.
“When I got in line for my flight, I was surprised to see this man at the gate. I asked him what had happened and he said, ‘I’m on this flight—my tweets did it.’ So apparently as a result of the man’s incessant negative tweeting about his experience, the airline put him on the same flight I was on.”
Any experience a customer has with one employee suddenly can become accessible across the entire mobile platform, says Cuff. This means that now more than ever, every employee has to be responsible for customer service—and that can only happen if you build service into the culture of your company.
“The best companies exhibit a service mindset throughout the entire organization. It’s not just a frosting of friendly people on the front lines,” explains Cuff. It’s baked into the entire organization.
“It’s great when an organization has good people dealing with external customers on the front lines. The problem arises when those people need help and are not supported by their coworkers or managers. Colleagues don’t return phone calls or are short with each other, or managers are unresponsive.
“If you want a true customer focused organization, start internally. You can’t just have a few people out there serving the customer. Today’s customers interact with all aspects of your organization and you need to be strong at all levels. Directly or indirectly, everyone needs to be serving someone.”