Unfortunately, it’s a fact! People are more likely to take the time to complain about unsatisfactory customer service or products than they are to share a good experience they’ve had with either. An American Express Survey found that Americans tell an average of 9 people about good experiences, and tell 16 (nearly two times more) people about poor experiences. And yet, especially if we’re shopping on line, we’re all hoping to find a product with positive reviews for performance and customer service. Positive reviews provide valuable information to clients, to consumers and to those who provide the products and services.
I’m often guilty of not taking the time express a positive reaction, unless it’s in person (e.g., the furniture salesman who spent a lot of time helping us to find just the right furniture and area rug for our very small living room), or on the phone (e.g., when after a third phone call to my cable provider, a very nice woman was finally able to locate the problem.) One recent exception was when I bought a new wall oven in spite of a couple of negative online reviews. I took the time to write an online review to contradict the negative things I’d read and to note how quickly it was delivered and installed.
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. ~ Mother Teresa
In person or on the phone are easy but very effective ways to thank someone for good service or to give an employee positive feedback. Saying something immediately, in real-time, after noticing exceptional service or performance is the best time to maximize the value of the comments and encourage a repeat performance of similar acts. When feedback is given long after the fact, the positive effect is lessened. If you’re complementing an employee, do it in public when you have the chance. Everyone likes to be recognized in front of their peers.
Personal notes used to be one of the few ways we could express gratitude for good service. I’m guessing not many people take the time to hand-write a note and put it in the mail. (Although, I did find a website that offers templates for hand-written thank you notes about customer service.) The exception might be when a neighbor, friend or family member does something especially kind for you. An elderly woman in our neighborhood is known for her notes of thanks and appreciation. Some might say, “Yes, but people of her generation seldom even use the computer!” Still, think how meaningful such a note could be to someone who only gets a digital response, if that, for the service they give!
A complimentary email can make a person’s day and encourage him or her to want to make an even better impression on you the next time. As a freelance editor for The National List who works several states away from the home office, I am thrilled when one of my “co-workers” writes an email saying something positive about a project I’ve completed. I have learned that praise is an important part of the corporate culture at The National List. From my observation, the entire staff very seldom complains about performance in any way, and they are all quick to praise anything noteworthy.
Twitter and Facebook are being used more and more to say both good and bad things about products and services. Mason Mittelstaedt, CMO at RightNow, said, “Friends and colleagues’ endorsements, discussed in real life or through Twitter and Facebook updates, are more likely to drive sales than even a positive user review posted on a site like Yelp or Amazon (but those matter, too).” Businesses are finding that they have to follow what’s being said about them on Social Media in order to get the feedback and make the changes that will keep them successful. A tweet or a post can be shared very quickly. If you want to promote a vendor’s excellent customer service or product, tell your Friends on Facebook or Twitter!
Online surveys offered by a vendor after a customer service experience or a purchase make it easy to give measurable feedback that can be shared with others. I have to admit that I sometimes avoid them because what is billed as “a short survey” can sometimes take up to 10 minutes to complete. I also don’t like to rank a service or a product on a scale from 1 – 5. “As compared to what?” always goes through my mind. I know the value of surveys to those providing the service, but they don’t make me feel warm and fuzzy. Maybe that’s because I’d rather use my own words to describe my experience. Do you fill out surveys?
Report it to The Better Business Bureau. When most of us think about checking with the BBB, we want to know if any complaints have been filed, but that’s not all you’ll find there. Your BBB helps with business and charity reliability information, complaints, and dispute resolution services as many as one million times a year. Not every business is eligible for BBB Accreditation. Businesses must be able to meet, maintain and agree to the BBB Code of Business Practices. The BBB has determined that The National List of Attorneys meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. Reporting your positive service experiences to the BBB helps to promote your favorite businesses and send others in their direction.
You might enjoy checking out this website that has compiled “75 Customer Service Facts, Quotes & Statistics.” Here are some highlights:
- 3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.
- When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better.
- Customers overwhelmingly show appreciation for great service with their wallets.
- 58%of Americans perform online research about the products and services that they are considering purchasing.
- 24%of American adults have posted comments or reviews online about the product or services they buy.
- Over 1 million people view tweets about customer service every week. Roughly80% of those tweets are negative or critical in nature.
The introduction to How to Give Positive Feedback says it all: “Don’t ever underestimate the power of positive feedback. We are quick to point out to someone when they make a mistake. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge them when they do something right. Giving positive feedback can be a powerful tool for…motivation.”
By Marti Lythgoe, Editor