The Customer Support Weekend Roundup #8

Every week, there’s some great articles out there on customer support and the overall customer experience. Most of us working on support teams tend to be busy helping customers so we don’t have a chance to go scouring the web for them. So I round them all up for your reading pleasure here.

If you’ve got any articles or links that I’ve missed, make sure to let me know in the comments.

A Second Spring of Cleaning

Google shuts down Google Reader, a favorite for keeping up with sites via RSS feeds. Google threw it in with spring cleaning, i.e. shutting down other apps.

The Anatomy of an Apology

A solid look at what goes into saying “I’m sorry” to your customers.

The words “I’m sorry” can be very powerful and carry great meaning. However, if you don’t have three important elements in your apology, your words may sound hollow. They might also tarnish your reputation, and, quite possibly, end a valuable relationship. Just stating, “I apologize” or “I’m sorry” is not enough today.

Don’t Compete on Features

Customer support can help you set yourself apart from other companies in your space.

Most markets that you can enter right now, are already quite saturated and you’re likely to face existing competition. Due to the very low barrier to entry to build a new SaaS / web / mobile app, you’ll also find that the competition’s offering is mostly the same as your solution.

How to Handle Customer Threats

The one you’ll commonly see in the SAAS world is that they’re going with a different competitor. Adam’s got a few tips for interacting with them.

Being threatened is not a pleasant experience. Even lesser threats like the loss of business are inherently tough to receive because there is a part of all humans that respond on a visceral and emotional level to being threatened.

Helping your team members understand the different types of threats and how to handle them can give them the ability to stay calm under pressure and how to hopefully turn the situation to a positive end result.

Walmart’s Dismal Customer Service Scores Drive Customers Away

Prices are the only reason I shop at Walmart. If I even think I might need help with a product, I’ll go somewhere else and buy it. But for quick in-and-out shopping at really low prices, Walmart has that. Just don’t expect good customer interactions.

Many Walmart customers opt for one-stop shopping, especially as the gas tank prices continue to rise, but is it really worth the long wait, the rude staff, and the mere frustration of seemingly no solutions to certain product deficiencies? Even Walmart’s e-commerce scored a low 78 out of 100 for performance during the 2012 holiday season.

Everyone’s Customers Are Wrong and Their Data Is Lying

Evan’s talk from Startup Product Summit. You’ll definitely want to look through his slides. He’s got a ton of great stories in them.

Did I miss one from this week? Leave a link to it in the comments or get in touch with me here. I’ll include it in next week’s support roundup!