The simplest and most powerful customer service secret of all: tell your customers what’s going on.
Or better yet, give them the ability to tell themselves.
Refer back to my joyful travelogue recently. The #1 thing the airline could have done to make everyone’s wait easier would have been to provide more timely information.
If I could have checked a visual status board, I could have at my convenience and known whenever I wanted what was happening with my flight. The Type A personalities who were shouting at the gate agents on the rare occasions that they were available could have instead compulsively checked the board every 15 seconds.
If I never have to guess what’s going on, my imagination never has to cook up imagined slights against me. I never have to believe that your employees are lazy or uncaring.
If you’ve got a server down or a datacenter experiencing problems, show a status dashboard. Heck, put up a webcam so that customers can see employees working (assuming you have good looking, hard working employees, of course). If you’ve got shipping delays, let people see that information and make it as clear as possible what’s happening. Google, for example, does this brilliantly:
Don’t believe there’s a demand for that information? Go check the iOS or Android app stores for status apps.
You’ll find people paying good money for third party apps to keep an eye on you. Better that you provide the service, don’t you think?
Tell people what’s going on, provide them with the best available information, and you’ll earn much more customer loyalty and retention.
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