Come with me if you want to #custserv

Some movies are iconic and have created their own myths about where the world and humanity is headed. The Terminator series certainly fits this category! Arnold Schwarzenegger presented a character that was terrifying to me when I first saw the original Terminator. He was physically huge and his acting was appropriately robotic. I bought into the idea that computers were advancing at such a pace that they could take over once they became self aware. I still see that as we cling to our smartphones and live in a hyper connected world with Glass and Gear. The world of Customer service is just as huge and perhaps in danger of becoming as robotic as we move further into the digital world. Here’s what the Terminator had to teach us about Customer Service in the original trilogy.


The Terminator

Kyle Reese: Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

If you have been in social media for any length of time, you have at least heard of trolls. These individuals seem to embrace the pain and hurt they inflict on others with the aid of the anonymity the internet provides. Trolls do not feel pity, remorse, or fear from the brands they try to disrupt online and with social media.

Kyle Reese: Come with me if you want to live.

Servicing Customers with sensitive issues often requires the privacy social media can’t provide. So, we take our Customers to a place we can help. The only option is to lead them somewhere they can be properly serviced in the privacy and security offline channels can provide.

Ginger Ventura: That bum. So what if he has a Porsche? He can’t treat ya like this. It’s Friday night, for Christ’s sake.

There is a lot of talk about influencers in Social Media. They are the ones with a large following and some try to leverage that into getting more than they deserve. Affluent Customers should be given more options, perhaps even allowed to skip the line, but ALL Customers deserve to be given the best service you can provide. Their money is the same as the Influencer, perhaps they are even giving you a larger portion because they don’t make as much.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

John Connor: The whole thing goes: The future’s not set. There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves.

Mistakes happen. Yes, even brands make mistakes. In social media marketing, it’s an ill-advised hashtag campaign or posting promos on days of remembrance. Social media Customer service teams can also make mistakes. We are, after all, still human. It’s how we adjust course and learn from the mistakes that can save a relationship with a Customer. Be able to adjust rules or decisions if something didn’t quite happen the way you planned it.

John Connor: We’ve got company!… Police!

Sarah Connor: How many?

John Connor: Uh… all of ’em, I think.

Allow your servicing teams to communicate and be empowered to reach out for assistance. There will come a time when a Customer needs something even your best agent will not be able to solve on their own. If your team isn’t allowed to work with other teams to get a timely resolution for your Customers, you are doing something wrong. A good friend, ROY ATKINSON, has often tweeted that “Silos are for Corn”. I firmly agree with him!

John Connor: You just can’t go around killing people.

The Terminator: Why?

John Connor: What do you mean why? ‘Cause you can’t.

The Terminator: Why?

John Connor: Because you just can’t, OK? Trust me on this.

As much as we may want to, we cannot block out negative social media comments if we are going to improve as a brand. This is actually the worst thing you can try to do in the social space. Instead of trying to block out the negative, engage it. Learn from it. Once you learn to turn a negative voice into a positive one, you might find a new brand advocate that is well worth the effort to create!

The Terminator: The more contact I have with humans, the more I learn.

So many brands still use social media as a megaphone for marketing. They are missing the point! Social media is a chance for brands to get to really know their Customer base, to talk with them and not just at them. The more you interact with your Customers without directly trying to sell them anything you will find out what they really need from you and how they really want to get it.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

John Connor: Do you even remember me? Sarah Connor? Blowing up Cyberdyne? Hasta la vista, baby? Ring any bells?

Terminator: That was a different T-101.

John Connor: What, do you guys come off an assembly line or something?

Terminator: Exactly.

John Connor: Oh man, I’m gonna have to teach you everything all over again.

This is an accurate portrayal of many Customer service interactions. Far too many brands are not ready for the latest buzzword: OmniChannel service. Customers are forced to provide login credentials or retell their stories to every new representative on every new channel they use. It is frustrating and not in the best interest of the Customer or the brand. Both are losing valuable time and money with each new retelling of the tale.

John Connor: No, you shouldn’t exist. We took out Cyberdyne over ten years ago. We stopped Judgment Day.

Terminator: You only postponed it. Judgment Day is inevitable.

It is inevitable that a Customer will have an issue with your services. It doesn’t matter if the issue stems from a misinterpretation or bad placement by an over aggressive salesperson on your staff. how you work with the Customer will determine the outcome. You may not be able to stop Judgement Day completely, but you can overcome it. Listen to the Customer’s position and work to repair the damage. That is winning Customer service and creates loyalty that will spread.

Special Thanks:

This movie suggestion was courtesy of fun, quality, engagement with the Sprinklr Twitter team. I appreciate the challenge of creating content people want to read. I hope you enjoyed it and the others I’ve written and will continue to write!


Photo: IMDB

Quotes: Terminator, Judgement DayRise of the Machines


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