We've all had good and bad shopping experience, and if you'd like to explore the topic, Planetfeedback.com has the statistics on shopping experiences. Though it's not a research company, it can show you the kinds of feedback each company gets. For better or worse, consumers are talking about human relations, like customer service or staff attitude. If you communicate poorly with your customers, your business will be ruined. If you do a great job in customer relations, your business will rock'n roll.
You know Larry King, don't you? I know him, even though I don't have a TV. (Sorry, Larry.) He didn't become a great newscaster accidentally. There is a reason for his success. He pays attention to his guests. Ted Koppel told Time magazine years ago, "Larry listens to his guests. He pays attention to what they say. Too few interviewers do that." This is the key. If you want to make your customers happy, you must pay attention to what they say or what they want. Pointless reply e-mails do nothing but irritate your customers. But pointless messaging isn't the only e-mail mistake you can make.
Your enthusiasm also makes big difference. When you talk to a person face to face, you can pick up on many things other than just what is being said. That can't happen in e-mails, but you can still make difference.
Let's say you are looking for RAM for your computer. You send an e-mail message to two different companies to see if their RAM fits your computer. Here are their replies:
Thank you for your e-mail.
The RAM is compatible with your computer. If the RAM doesn't work, call 24/7 Tech support at 1-800-555-5555.
This reply isn't too bad, is it?
Yes, our RAM fits your computer. If you have any trouble installing it, don't hesitate to call our tech support at 1-800-555-5555. Our technicians are ready to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will not leave you alone.
How about that? Which guy are you going to give your money to? Both want to give you the same deal, but the messages make you feel very different, don't they? If you can feel the difference, your customers can feel it too. The tone of voice can't be attached to your e-mails, but your enthusiasm can be sent.
Reply e-mails are a big part of customer service. You can make customers angry, or you can make them happy. Pay attention to what your customers want, and write e-mail messages with enthusiasm. The technology gave us a new way to communicate, but computers don't read your message. The human being reads your e-mail. You are still talking to REAL people. Whether they become angry or happy is a direct result of your willingness to take the time to communicate.
© December, 2001