Updated 2012.05.20 22:53 +0200 |
Sunday May 20th, 2012
Disclaimer: I'm not in an official PR position myself and I may not know the correct terms to use, but I hope you understand my blogpost anyway. That said, I would argue that we all are in a PR
scenario ourselves. You have to deal with the information you're giving - to friends, family, colleagues, customers etc.
Imagine that you're offering some sort of service to your customers. All companies do this. Otherwise it wouldn't be a company ;-). When
your service is discrupted either planned or unplanned, you (hopefully) would like to give information to your customers. Treating customers good is the best way that they stay as customers or
comes back to you as a customer; aka. customer loyalty. It is much cheaper to keep current customers than trying to get new customers.
When you plan for a maintenance or an outage of some sort in your service you'll need to give information (in good time) to your customers. But what kind of information should you give for satisfying your customers?
I've compiled the below best practices - just on top of my head. Someone in a real PR postion would hopefully be able to express these more specific and clear. Maybe with time I will update them
for just that.
Best Practices for PR information statements during maintenance/outage:
- Give information in time - so that customers have time to react. Better sooner than later (proactively). Better later than never.
- Tell what the reason/cause is for the maintenance/outage. Do not just call it regular/exceptional maintenance. There is always a reason. If you do not know about the reason, then tell it and say
you're investigating. Describe the reason/cause in laymans terms so that customers can understand the reason/cause of the maintenance. Customers are not studpid. If the cause of the outage is an
human error, then say so and make an apology. It is human to failure. Everybody understands that.
- Tell your plans for what you're doing to solve (remedy the situation) during the maintenance/outage. If you're working on it - then tell it. Be specific - but not too specific (don't be
technical. use general terms).
Rationale: Customers knowing that you're working on it feel much more sure that you're dealing with the problem (so is your colleagues, boss and the rest of the company). Otherwise they may
think you are ignoring the problem - or ignoring them.
- Tell when you have planned to do it. Plan your maintenance time/outage carefully (if you can). Choose a timeframe that limits the impact on customers. Describe contengigency plans and what customers
can/should do to follow these.
- Give a planned ETA (estimated time of arrival) for when the maintenance/outage is fixed and systems are up-and-running again. Point out that ETA is an estimate. It may take shorter - it may take
longer - but it is the best current estimate. If you have a hard time giving an ETA, then you'll have to state that you're working on it and will come back as soon as you know more. You can always
give a new time for when you will give new information.
- Give customers a place in where they can get information about the maintenance/outage. This place is by itself a service so please keep the same rules for that place. I.e. do not ignore it and
ensure to keep it up-to-date.
- Give information about how (where/when) customers can contact you if they have questions in relation to the maintenance/outage.
- Prefer no information over incorrect information. There is nothing more devastating than giving incorrect information that you either have to react to and deal with later or it causes you a PR
- Be friendly. Be sorry (of the inconvenience). Be frank.
- After the maintenance/outage, follow up on your plans and update them with improvements. You should asks yourself and your customers what you can do better.
Examples of bad PR information level management:
- DSB's (Danish Railways) statements to passengers when trains are late or have problems. Over the years they have improved, but they still make lots of mistakes.
- Blizzards handling in server maintenance of Diablo III (May 2012).
Customer Service Facts
I found these floating around on the internet. More for fun than anything. They are probably correct. At least they do have sources included.
- 68% of customer defection takes place because customers feel poorly treated.Source: TARP
- It can cost five times more to buy new customers than retain existing ones. Source: TARP
- 1% cut in customer service problems could generate an extra £16m in profits for a medium-sized company over 5 years.
- Why customers quit:
- 1% die
- 3% move away
- 68% quit because of an attitude of indifference towards the customer by the staff.
- 14 % are dissatisfied with the product.
- 9% leave because of competitive reasons.
Source: How to win customers and keep them for life (2000) – Michael Leboeuf
- For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent. Source: Lee Resource Inc
- It takes 12 positive service incidents to make up for 1 negative incident. Source: Lee Resource Inc
- The average "wronged customer" will tell 8-l6 people about it. Over 20% will tell more than 20. Source: Lee Resource Inc
- 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again. Source: Lee Resource Inc
- 70% of complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favour. Source: Lee Resource Inc
- 95% of complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint instantly. Source: Lee Resource Inc
- Reducing customer defections can boost profits by 25-85%. In 73% of cases, the organization made no attempt to persuade dissatisfied customers to stay; even though 35% said that a
simple apology would have prevented them from moving to the competition. Source: NOP
- 80% of complaints received by an organisation are likely to have poor communication as their root cause, either with the customer or within the organisation itself. Source: Unknown
- 56%-70% of the customers who complain to you will do business with you again if you resolve their problem. If they feel you acted quickly and to their satisfaction, up to 96% will do
business with you again, and they will probably refer other people to you. Source: the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC.
- A dissatisfied customer will tell 9-15 people about it. And approximately 13% of your dissatisfied customers will tell more than 20 people about their problem. Source: the White
House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC.
- Happy customers who have their problems resolved will tell 4-6 people about their positive experience. Source: the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC.
- It costs five to six times as much to get a new (first time) customer as it does to keep a current one. Source: the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC.
- Customer loyalty can be worth up to 10 times as much as a single purchase. Source: the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC.
- It costs 6 times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an old one. Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
- Customer loyalty is, in most cases worth 10 times the price of a single purchase. Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
- A typical business hears from only about 4% of its dissatisfied customers. 96% just go away and 91% will never come back. Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
- 13% of the people who have service problems tell 20 others. Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
- It takes 12 positive service incidents to make up for one negative incident. Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
- 7 out of 10 customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favor. Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner