Thursday, November 4

Excellent Customer Service Analysis: Great Takeaways from #custserv Discrimination Chat

3 Great Takeaways from #custserv Discrimination Chat

We regret we were unable to participate in eBay guru Marsha Collier’s customer service Twitter chat (hashtag #custserv) last night.  Even though we missed it, the post chat transcript made for some great reading, including a B plot on discrimination! There were a lot of good points raised, many of them quite unexpected. While a lot of the talk pertained mostly to brick and mortar store policies, the advice could be just as useful to all the ecommerce sellers out there!
Dressing Down

@bevhillsporsche says, “We don’t judge “dress code” either. Our richest customers dress down when car shopping.
You never can tell who your best customer or client will be. Even that one guy who comes in every Friday and just buys a stick of gum might sell his business or win the lottery the next day and buy half of your merchandise just because you were nice to him. To discriminate based on what your customers buys or, worse, what you think they MIGHT buy based on appearance will bring you big problems.
Online sellers have a unique advantage in this regard – there’s no telling what their customers look like unless said customer updates their avatar every time they change their clothes. However, have you ever had problems giving customer service to someone who bought a low price item from your store? Or perhaps you have several people who buy loads of items – do you pay more attention to them? Should you?
Empowering Your Customers

@marshacollier says, “Empowering the customer with facts (any business can do this) leads to a more educated customer at any age.”
This came from a brief aside about the age of customers, especially when it came to providing or receiving customer service through social media. The general consensus was that the majority of the customers you encounter (especially offline) are not exactly “social media mavens” and are more inclined to do things the old fashioned way.
This is especially true with people 45 and older. So making sure your customers have all the information they need to get right to you when problems arise can only help. As an online seller, you might be unintentionally discriminating against your older customers by only offering online support but foregoing an 800 number.
Is there any way for you to further educate visitors to your store on how to get customer support?
Nobody Likes Being the Laughingstock

Another topic of discussion included several stories of being ridiculed by customer service reps for having outdated technology. I can personally attest to this; I was trading in an old phone at a store and the clerks chuckled at how old it was. They even took out the SIM card and marveled at the ancient civilization that created it.
While I wasn’t completely offended (it was a super old phone – it worked fine for my needs dang it), it was slightly unprofessional. It made me feel like they were part of some secret club and just because I didn’t have a phone that had been released that day that I wasn’t invited (@marshcollier said the rep in her case made her feel “like I was an alien”).
You may or may not agree with the old adage that “there is no such thing as a stupid question,” but when it comes to your customers you have to adhere to it. Discriminating because of lack of knowledge or preferring older/alternative products might lead to poor customer service and even loss of sales.
Essentially, if you want to make your business feel like a secret club, make sure your customers are invited, too!
Please join us on Twitter for the Tuesday night customer service chat. Search twitter for #custserv. Live chat Tuesday at 6p PT/9p ET