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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Industry Shifts in Customer Service: We're important again

From a consumer's perspective, it has been interesting to watch industries change over time to meet changing expectations.  With social media coming into the mainstream, companies have had to think about customer service on multiple levels.  Gone are the days where customer complaints are ignored.  These days, top companies need to be proactive, open to feedback, and transparent.
Chevy is no stranger to this.  After having launched their social media campaign just 18 months prior, I am seriously impressed.  Not only do they hang out on mainstream social media channels, but they also monitor and participate in over 100 freestanding communities.  I used to be a member of several of those car communities, and brands used to never participate.   Communities and brands didn't live together in harmony; rather, they lived in their own worlds.  It is very refreshing to see that Chevy is making efforts into being an active member in the community in a non-salesy fashion.
As Jim Maloney, GM General Director of Customer and Relationships, put it, "We'd be ignorant to ignore customer needs."  When it boils down to it, we're all customers.  As a customer, do I want to spend my money with a brand that takes care of me or do I want to spend it on a brand that doesn't value my business. 

Chevy is driving internal culture change through talent acquisition.  They've hired a team of support specialists to provide customer support.  Getting support isn't talk to a 1800 number, rather it is a living breathing human being that is trained to brighten your day.  They can be likened to customer services at the Apple Genius bar, even going as far as meeting customers at their workplace to provide technical assistance.  Their teams even go to training at Disney.  I kind of want to go to Disney. 

One of additions to their call center is the "Infotainment" center, which is where you would call in if you had some issues with your Volt or other technical issues.  See photo above.  There is a console/dash replica for each vehicle along with a plethora of gadgets that can be used to recreate problems customers are having when it call in.  

Providing this level customer support is no easy feat.  We're also told that this level of customer service also helps tighten the feedback loop in implementing fixes and bugs.  Congrats to Chevy for jumping in headfirst into customer support. 


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