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Tag: customer service

Paperchase & The Increasing Voice of Social Media

Paperchase have finally come clean.

And not before time.  I’ve already said that this was an issue which they could and should have handled much better.  CEO Timothy Melgund’s apology falls short of what I believe is in order, namely a full apology for and retraction of his comments to the newspapers about Twitter and its user community, but it is at least an acceptance that Paperchase did not handle the situation at all well.

Hidden Eloise writes some Final Advice To Paperchase which includes the following:

“Here is what I propose instead to Paperchase.
  1. Make a clean and public apology for the bad research that led you to the conclusion that no copying was ever done.
  2. Acknowledge publicly that the plagiarism was real and my allegations correct.
  3. Retract publicly the damaging comments you made regarding me and all the Twitter users.
  4. Put the infringing items back on sale and give all profits from this range of products to a charity of my choice, supporting something that we both hold dearly: independent artists.”

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How Not To Do Automated Answering Services

I’ve written about call centres and automated answering services that do nothing more than irritate the customer. With the amount of time I spend and have spent on the phone, both personally and professionally, you would think that someone somewhere would have an answering service and call centre that didn’t have any elements of irritation.

I’m still looking for that organisation.  I’m wondering if it actually exists.

Too often ideas about simple, quick, customer focused service get hidden behind clouds of fog caused by “Strategy Boutique” style thinking about brands, sub brands, corporate cultures, organisational concepts driving change, cost savings, et cetera when what is really needed is less pretention and more real world thinking.

Here’s an example of a poor answering service.  This is a slight exaggeration (and I mean only a slight exaggeration) of a answering services I have experienced.

Too many people who plan, design and implement automated answering services and call centres seem to have forgotten that it is the customer to whom they are supposed to be providing a service.  One simple rule needs to be written large on a poster and nailed to the walls of every room in which these systems are designed and planned:

Keep it simple, stupid!

This isn’t rocket science and it shouldn’t be overcomplicated.  But as you may already know, so many of these answering services are.

Let’s create a fictitious scenario which will serve as an example.

You want to call a software company, Troutsoft.  A former colleague who you respect has spoken highly of their products and services and suggested that you could garner some brownie points by investigating a partnering arrangement with them.   The contact your former colleague had at Troutsoft got hit by a bouncer in a local cricket match the other day and is currently in hospital.  That rules out talking to him.   So you take a look at their website.  It doesn’t say too much and doesn’t have any kind of general contact e-mail address or web form. You do have the contact’s name but not his direct phone number.

Not wanting to judge a book by its cover or blow a potential improvement to your company’s products you pick up the phone and dial…

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On Reputation, Perception and Branding

In a Twitter message on February 23rd I wrote:

Reputation takes a long time to build, so little time to lose & is something we can’t control as we would like

Quite profound for a 140 character limit, the point it makes is a valid one.  Reputation is like trust: it takes a long time to build yet can be lost so quickly and, whatever we might think or do, is something that we cannot control as we would like.

Another saying beloved of leaders is the old favourite “perception is reality” although in my experience that phrase is used by some to apply to everyone else without it being applied to them.  Surely if the saying “perception is reality” is true for one person then it must be true for everyone.

A few recent events and an article got me thinking about reputation, perception and branding.  Not forgetting rebranding, which looks to be a good industry to be in.  I think it is fair to say that bad news travels faster than good news and gets more exposure and attention.  We learn from all our experiences but bad ones tend to live longer in the memory, so the negative things tend to get remembered more.

So let’s look at a few recent examples and see how such things affect perception, reputation and branding.

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