Name: David Aloisio
Bio: I joined the BurrellesLuce team right after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University. I started in our Media Directories (now Media Contacts) department before switching to News Express. In the past I have worked as an account manager and the supervisor for Express. I am currently the Vice President for Client Services. I would like to use my background in account management to provide input and opinion on the best and most effective methods of customer relations in the modern workplace. LinkedIn:daloisio Twitter: BurrellesLuce Facebook: BurrellesLuce
Posts by David Aloisio:
In the past 30 days I’ve been on the phone with a cable company, a cell phone company, a bank, a law firm, two kinds of insurance companies, plus a pet store. The only time I was actually patched in directly to a live person was the later – the pet store – although they weren’t particularly helpful and I should really be adopting from a shelter anyway.
In any case, I submit that few things are more annoying than punching through a handful of phone prompts, listening to hold music, then stumbling through more prompts before realizing what you need isn’t one of the touch tone options and that you’ll have to wait for a human anyway.
Please allow me to introduce you to Gethuman.com. This is a directory of companies, phone numbers and reviews, compiled by for and of the people, which offers not only a guide on how to bypass phone prompts, but details the best way to get the most out of any listed companies customer service department.
From their site, “The GetHuman™ movement has been created from the voices of millions of consumers who want to be treated with dignity when they contact a company for customer support.”
The GetHuman site was created by Paul English (also the co-founder of Kayak.com, a site that lets you search flights, hotels and cheap travel deals all in one place) in the mid 2000’s and has grown through the hard work and diligence of their team as well as the support and input from readers like you.
Using the recommendations on the site, I rarely get stuck punching through phone prompts anymore. I’ve also gathered a healthy respect for those companies that patch you straight through to a human representative. I hope that as time passes, consumer feedback and experience leads to a friendly sea-change in the service industry.
Robot vs. Human?
Human > Robot.
I have an old phone.
I know it’s old because I’ve kept it longer than the service agreement I signed when I bought it. I know it’s old because it still has the logo of a now defunct cellular company on it. I also know it’s old because of my inability to download apps of any kind.
However, despite my phones technical limitations, it appears that I may not be the only one hasn’t been filling their phone with the all the latest available applications.
According to Mark Welsh’s recent story on Mediapost.com, Pew: Only Two-Thirds Of Cell Users With Apps Use Them, only four in ten mobile phone users have apps on their phone. And just two-thirds, of that 40 percent, actually use them.
(Not sure which apps to choose for the Droid? Check out this post from my BurrellesLuce colleague Johna Burke.)
Welsh notes that the download and use of applications is “still not among the most popular mobile data activities, with only 29 percent of mobile subscribers having downloaded an app…” In fact, “People are more likely to use their phones to take a picture, text-message, browse the Web, email, record a video, play music and send instant messages than they are to access an app.”
Does this mean that downloading the latest apps for my mobile device isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be? I have to admit; it’d be nice to have sporting event updates or get restaurant reviews before leaving the house and then be able to accurately calculate a good tip.
However, like many of those surveyed, I use my phone as, well, a phone. The reliability of the service is paramount. Anything beyond that is just gravy.
Of course, there are always benefits to owning an older phone. For one, unlike so many people, I can break my cell phone contract without a penalty. Also, I never get frustrated with my phone because I really expect nothing from it other than the most basic of services.
Confidentially, though, I’m really just waiting for my birthday present iPad anyway.
How about you? Have you been quick to download apps? If so, do you still use them? If you haven’t added any or no longer use them, why?
Is it really necessary for companies to monitor social media in order to interact with their customers? Or is there a better way to observe and report on your client base?
Rick Mans believes this to be so in his blog post entitled, Why Companies Should Not Invest in Online Monitoring, featured on Social Media Today. He writes that “If companies really cared about what was going on, they would have invested in such a social infrastructure that complaints/news about their products and services would come to them in no time.”
He goes even further by stating “…monitoring tools are a poor man’s solution to engage with your audience… when you are in touch with your audience and your audience can find you and you have created a group of loyal people (brand ambassadors / evangelists) around your online presence, you won’t need monitoring tools to discover complaints.”
This runs counterpoint to a contention of the modern business age that all social media must be monitored in order to truly be in touch with all of your customer feedback.
However, I believe the point Mans attempts to make is that if the proper feedback infrastructure is created internally, then the monitoring of online media will only be redundant. Moreover, no news should be breaking in the world of social media that you shouldn’t have been made aware of and are already working towards either finding a solution or a way to profit from it.
In a perfect world this may be so. Even if companies create their own customer feedback rail network, they still must possess the ability to anticipate the response in the social media world in order to best deal directly with their client base. After all, if a customer truly cares enough, they will vent or praise in their preferred online outlet (be that Facebook, Twitter, or some other forum) regardless of whether a company maintains a presence there or not.
Thus, it is imperative that we do both – monitor online media and genuinely listen to and engage with constituents. That is why BurrellesLuce is working even harder to create even more tools to help you listen, manage, and respond to the activities taking place in both traditional and online news, social media, and broadcast. Stay tuned in the coming month(s) as we unveil new ways for you to effectively take charge of your WorkFlow.
In the meantime, what do you think? Is it critical to incorporate online monitoring into the larger engagement funnel or is it merely a show put on by companies? How are you using online monitoring in your public relations and marketing efforts? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of Fresh Ideas.
Not long ago, there was little recourse for poor customer service. Sure, you could bite your tongue while waiting in line or demand to see a manager. Really though, the only way to get your point across would be the old-standby, the “dissatisfied customer letter” sent to management. If you were lucky, you might receive a reply back with their apologies and a coupon for $20 off your next purchase of four new tires.
The emergence of social media now presents an engaging and provocative problem for customer service. A client’s recourse is now immediate and omnipresent. Companies better be on their toes at all times or they run the risk of angering the wrong person with the right medium.
In his Adage story “Are Major Marketers Training John Q. Public to Whine on Web?,” Michael Bush states that customers are becoming used to quick responses to their posted complaints. He goes further than that saying, “… magically resolving complaints broadcast to the world by social media raises a question: By rewarding complainers with lightning-fast responsiveness, are marketers training consumers to publicly flog them rather than take the discreet and often-frustrating route of calling customer service?”
So as a company, not only do you now have to respond quickly to an upset customer or risk their issue going viral, you also have to worry that in doing so, you’re just setting yourself up for similar actions down the road.
Your clients can now use their phones to tweet their dissatisfaction with your service while they’re in a line experiencing it. This is all happening in real time. While the days of mailing out an angry letter may be nearing an end, we’ve just begun to feel the impact of the angry posts: You neglect to monitor your company’s online profile at your own peril.
How has social media and online communications affected the way you interact with clients? Do you think it’s true that customers who complain openly in public forums receive faster and better service than those who choose to complain privately via letter, email, or telephone? Share your thoughts with the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.
Is it possible to guarantee your availability to customers each hour of each day? Don’t your responsibilities end at 5 P.M. on Friday afternoon then resume at some point Monday morning? Perhaps at one time it may have been the case; however, as public and client relations increasingly rely on digital communication, there is less of a distinction between “on” and “off” business hours.
Recently, I received an email from a client on a Sunday morning. It came in around 10 A.M. and was marked as “urgent.” This was not a new client, nor one that I would consider to be “high-maintenance.” Upon closer examination, it became clear that the issue was one that could not be solved until Monday morning. In short, it was a typical client inquiry on an atypical day. I debated how best to respond…
I only caught this client’s email because I have a Blackberry that I routinely check. Several years ago this would not have even been possible, but now I am unable to resist the urge to check it dozens of times a day. This affords me the option to respond and deal with issues both on my company’s time as well as my own.
While there may be some added stress caused by my involvement in customer relations on my own time, I’ve found that I like the “head’s up” it affords me. I’ve also found that clients appreciate the timely response. After all, clients are using the same technology I am and often for the same purpose.
In his blog post “Starting Over With Customer Service”, Seth Godin writes,
“The internet has taught us to demand everything immediately (and perfectly).” He goes on to say, “We expect instant results and undivided attention.”
So, not only are client’s using the same technology we are, but they expect us to be available whenever they are. Good, bad or indifferent, that’s how it is.
How then did I handle my client’s inquiry? By responding to their email shortly after receiving it, of course. I advised my client that BurrellesLuce was aware of the issue, that we will do our best to have it rectified ASAP, and to please let us know if there is anything else we can do.
How are you handling the demands of 24/7 customer service? Do you, your company, or team have an official plan in place? Or do your individual representatives act accordingly on their own time? As a customer do you expect your account managers to be on call every minute of every day?