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In late 2007, when I launched my last company, HARO, I wanted to disrupt how journalists found their sources, and more importantly, how companies were able to get publicity. It seemed to me that the old ways of doing things (either paying for publicity, or journalists frantically calling sources to beat their deadline) was ripe for a change. As it turned out, I was right, and HARO blew up beyond my wildest dreams, to be acquired just a few short years later.
Well, it’s time for my next big disruption, and I’m thrilled to be able to announce it here.
In the past 30 or so years, we’ve watched the downfall and eventual demise of customer service. For those old enough to remember, when you brought your car to the gas station in the 50s, four attendants, (in clean uniforms, even!) would rush out – One would check your oil, one your tires, one your windshield wiper fluid, and one would actually pump your gas. Amazing! Good luck getting that now, in our “self-serve or pay more” world.
Let’s face it – Customer service in this country has gone to complete hell, and sadly, we accept that as normal. We go to a fast food restaurant and expect to be treated like crap. Our dry-cleaning isn’t ready when they say it will be, and come on, let’s not even get STARTED on airlines or wireless providers. Companies don’t bother giving better customer service because they see it as a waste of money. “Pennywise, pound foolish,” seems to be the motto, as companies focus short-sightedly on “this quarter’s revenues,” and not “long term effect.”
Here’s what companies big and small aren’t getting though – The game has changed. You got screwed by a company in the 1980s? What were you going to do? Write a letter to the editor of your local paper? Tell a few friends? That was it. I challenge you to find ONE PERSON today who doesn’t have a camera in their phone, connected to the heartbeat of the world via multiple channels in real time.
We’re a new economy. We’re a conversation economy. Your customer service strategy can no longer be “we’ll wait for someone to complain on Twitter then we’ll placate them.” It has to be about your company having stellar customer service in the real world that’s so amazing, it’s talked about by every customer you have. And we’re not talking “oh, we’ll upgrade everyone on every flight to first class,” or some other irrational plea for attention. No. We’re talking about teaching you how to run your business in such a way that terrific customer service is the norm. Do that, and your customers return with friends. Do that, and your employees never leave. Do that, and you’re light years above the rest.
With that, I’m proud to say that I’m launching a new customer service consultancy with my good friend and colleague Rachel Honig, called, simply enough, Shankman|Honig. Our mission is to do one thing: Teach companies big and small how to improve their customer service with an end result of higher revenues, increased profits, and elevated brand awareness.
We haven’t even launched yet, and we’ve got a handful of clients in our stable, including Westfield Terminal C, (the company that manages the giant mall that is Terminal C at Newark Airport,) Steiner Sports, and several others.
If the last ten years were about social media, the next twenty are going to be about customer service, and only companies who truly embrace that will remain standing. Want proof? It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one, and 89% of customers are likely to leave a brand after a single unresolved bad experience. That tells you to get it right the first time.
Want to learn more? Think we can help you? Just want to chat? Go for a run? Skydive? (Just because it’s a new company doesn’t mean my personality has changed…) Then shoot me an email, leave a comment, visit the new company, or simply click “contact” above.
The new economy is going to be based on Customer Service, on the art of “helping” without “selling.” If your help rocks, the sales will come. Or, to put it another way, if you focus on providing exceptional service to the customers you have, you’ll easily get the customers you want.
With that said… How can we help you today?
TL:DR: My next venture is launching a new consultancy designed to reinvent customer service.