Customer service? Forget about it!

The third installment of Movie Quotes and Social Media Customer Service brings us to New York and the gangster way of life. Donnie Brasco (1997) had some pretty heavy hitters from the acting community, making language and culture an important part of the movie. This is true with Customer service and social media. Customers often hang on every word spoken to them from a company representative and social media encounters are part of the permanent public record. Here are a few important lessons Lefty and Donnie have for us.

FBI Technician: What’s forget about it?

Donnie BrascoForget about it is like if you agree with someone, you know, like Raquel Welch is one [beautiful woman], forget about it. But then, if you disagree, like a Lincoln is better than a Cadillac? Forget about it! you know? But then, it’s also like if something’s the greatest thing in the world, like mingia those peppers, forget about it. But it’s also like saying Go to hell! too. Like, you know, like “Hey Paulie, [are you short]?” and Paulie says “Forget about it!” Sometimes it just means forget about it.

Not using industry jargon when speaking to a Customer should be included in Customer Service 101, but the rule should be amplified for social medial. When you think about Twitter’s limit to 140 characters, it is too easy to want to use acronyms. CSR (Customer service representative), ASAP (as soon as possible), OBO (or best offer), and IVR (interactive voice response), are some of the more common because they can cross industry lines. Sometimes a Client can be new to a channel, making even those acronyms difficult to use (DM or direct message in Twitter is an example). Know your Customer and your audience before choosing jargon, you may have to send several messages to explain the first one, which can add to your costs.

Japanese WaiterTake your shoes off. Is necessary.

Joe PistoneTake my shoes off? You take your pants off, what the [frick].

For small businesses, this might not be a big issue, but if you are expanding your audience this can be vital to your success.  Be mindful of using local slang when communicating in social media with your Customers. In the United States the terms soda, pop, and generic coke, all refer to a carbonated soft drink. Internationally, spelling differences and verb use might be enough to bother (or lose) a potential Customer.

Lefty: There’s the boss. And, under him, there’s the skipper. You know how this works?

Donnie Brasco: Yeah, it’s like in the army.

Lefty: [BS]. The army is some guy you don’t know telling you to go whack some other guy you don’t know.

Understand the platform you are servicing and how you can use it effectively. This can be huge in social Customer service for some industries. There are privacy rules or complex issues that are too difficult to communicate effectively in a micro-blog. Clients are generally more accepting of the change if you let them know why they have to change.  If you are a truly social business, get creative! You might have to refer to a phone, but you can also create a YouTube channel with animated walk-thrus  or leverage your community with Customer forums.

Lefty: You’re gonna walk out on me? You don’t walk out on me. I walk out on you.

It doesn’t matter how hard you try, sometimes you will not please every Customer. It happens. The important thing is to make sure your brand does not become another viral example of what not to do. There are some simple things to try. Ask the Client if you can speak with them personally. Ask them to email a full description of what happened so you can review it and try to help. Whatever you do, do not get into an argument with the Client in the public view! That’s how bad things happen to good brands.

Lefty: [talking to Donnie] When I introduce you, I’m gonna say, “This is a friend of mine.” That means you’re a connected guy. Now if I said instead, this is a friend of ours that would mean you a made guy. A Capiche?

This is a very common thread, but really is a cornerstone for great Customer service. Not every business will be everything to all Clients. You might not be willing or able to offer 24-hour social media servicing for example. That’s OK, but don’t hide that from your Customers. If you do hide that by not putting it on your website, biography for the team, or however you communicate, then your Clients will most likely expect you to answer them at all times of the day. They need your help and expect you to deliver it as close to immediately as you can get it delivered, that’s one reason they sought out your social media channel. If you tell them you are not going to offer service via the chosen channel during a specific window, they will not expect you to.

[edited for TV]

Quotes found at

Image © 1997 – Columbia/TriStar


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