“Thank your customer for complaining and mean it. Most will never bother to complain. They’ll just walk away.”
I recently experienced not one, but three examples of appalling customer service from a major Australian retailer which has prompted me to reflect on what really is “customer service”. I ‘phoned 2 different stores and got the same result – the ‘phone was transferred through to the appropriate department until it rang out. I then ‘phoned head office to seek assistance and was transferred to one of the stores again and after waiting for at least 5 minutes, a counter staff member picked up. He was most embarrassed and offered to get the department to call me. I refused! I had had enough. My complaint via email to head office went unanswered.
Did that surprise you?
Recently I had a business colleague tell me the story of why, after 12 years he had decided to sever the relationship with a major service provider and partner. Despite being a loyal and longstanding customer who always paid within terms and his company being one of their largest customers, he had never met the CEO. When problems arose over service, they the customer, were accused of being inefficient and unreliable. This certainly appears to have been management denial as covered in one of my earlier blogs.
To cap it off, when the service provider finally met to discuss the less than satisfactory service with the wronged customer, she was told how busy he had been with other customers.
As a customer, do you care about a supplier’s other customers and how busy they have been?
No! You only care about your own requirements as you are the one paying for their services. You are not interested in their excuses (they are not reasons). Such excuses make you feel as though you are not to be important enough to generate a relationship with. You certainly don’t want to know that they were too busy taking care of another client!
Let’s put it another way, no man (apologies for being sexist) would come home late for dinner and use the excuse:
“Sorry I’m late for dinner dear, I just caught up with a girlfriend for a quick drink”
Like all relationships, whether family, social, personal or business, the principles of common courtesy, respect, manners and decency apply.
They are just as important in the professional or commercial world.
So how are you going to prevent this occurring in your organisation…………..??