Fresh from a trip to Europe, I'm reminded of the importance of customer care to help humanize business once again. Here are ten ideas for your consideration.
1. Use the information you have to surprise your customers pleasantly, for example giving them the forms in the right language. This may seem common sense...
2. Answer the toll free customer service/reservation number, or stop publicizing it.
3. Understand that having a fun promotional account on Twitter will actually damage your brand if you make no effort to @ reply to your customer inquiries (note that often they have already exhausted normal channels provided by you).
4. Start thinking that your super powers are those of making the customer feel respected rather than a hassle.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate - it costs you nothing extra, it earns you business. If you wait until the line forms, you failed to be proactive.
6. Imagine what happens when a new entrant who gives a damn takes the market you take for granted.
7. Empathize with the owner of the bag you're inspecting by throwing its contents in a heap on the table, it could be you.
8. Look the person you're frisking in the eyes, he's still a human being, just like you. And you might learn a thing or two about them by having an actual interaction.
9. Remind yourself that customers are the life of your business. Somehow, when it comes to air travel, this doesn't seem to make an impression.
10. Consider what happens every time any one group starts behaving like the other doesn't have human rights. I throw this in for good measure as the customs agent who took my documents seemed to relish his position of power.
A couple of days ago, we remarked how @AirFranceUS Twitter stream is just a promotion after the other, while @Lufthansa_USA showed good balance of information and conversation. In fact, Lufthansa @ replied to my tweet within five minutes, while I never received a response from AirFrance.
There are many more things we could add to the list. What ideas are on top of your list?
[image by Kvatch]