The Good and the Bad
Yesterday I was able to experience two very different customer service experiences. It made me really think because in one everything was done right and many things were done wrong. I saw it as a learning experience and one I wanted to share with you. Here are the two scenarios:
Company ABC has had an issue for over 5 months that I have been inquiring with staff when there would be a fix. I had been a customer of this business for almost 3 years. The staff has said in every possible way under the sun “they are working on it”. I inquired again the other day as a client is now wanting to do business with ABC and again got the same answer. Staff would not give info on who to talk to in management at the store so since it is a franchise I called the corporate office for some direction. Needless to say, corporate understood my frustration and quickly contacted the store. But here is where things went further downhill. ABC’s store manager called me and said “are you the one that called corporate?” I said, yes, I did. She went on to say she knew nothing of the issue prior to me calling and that staff shouldn’t have told me what they did. She even blamed one of the staff for the issue when clearly this is a management issue. I explained that I felt that I was not getting a clear answer so I simply needed to know when the issue would be resolved as “we are working on it” after 5 months was not acceptable. Especially since any reasonable company could have solved this issue in less than a month or two. She spent her time on the phone explaining all the issues they had run into, staff issues and on and on. Honestly, they were clearly excuses. She also made me feel as if I was a snitch for calling corporate even though she repeatedly said that she would have never known of the issue if I had not called.
Company XYZ and I have done business together for about 4-5 months. I signed on with them for their product for 4 months. All the while they consistently asked for feedback of how they were doing and adjusted their product accordingly. At the end they offered a new product which piggy backed off the one I bought. I didn’t purchase it. The price was very affordable I just didn’t see the value for me although I felt they had a valuable product for many. I received a recorded video asking me why and would I please provide feedback as they valued my opinion. I gave them my honest constructive criticism. I received another recorded video (these are coming from the lead manager) thanking me profusely for the feedback and letting me know they heard me and that apparently they had not done their job well as I had not purchased so what did they need to provide for me so that I would see the value in their product?
Here are the lessons I learned from both of these customer experiences:
1) Listen more than you talk. Company XYZ listens, really listens. They ask for feedback and then review it not to dispute it but to hear. They truly want to have an exceptional product and they make that known in the customer experience. There hasn’t been any shaming of me as the customer for not choosing them and their product. Simply a request to learn more. Company ABC’s employees clearly were not listening and even though the manager heard my complaint (once it was escalated) she was too busy explaining the company’s internal management issues.
2) Ask the customer what they need. XYZ company was really clear they want to know what I need and how they can provide it to me. ABC Company placed blame on contractors for not fulfilling my needs and never once asked me what I needed to resolve the issue.
3) Thank your customers for their feedback – Postitive or negative. If a customer takes their time to give you feedback and is seeking a resolution to the problem then you are blessed! Many customers simply take their business elsewhere and you never know why. When the manager of ABC called me and said she didn’t know of the problem I said, you are welcome! She seemed confused. I told her that she should be glad I called if she didn’t know the issue existed then how would she be able to solve it. I was sure that I am not the only one that was frustrated over this issue. I was giving her valuable feedback. She didn’t seem to see that.
4) Listen, listen, listen. – I can’t say this enough so I will put it out there again. You need to listen to the feedback you are getting. Don’t get defensive. Don’t get discouraged. This is GOLD! Your customer has handed you valuable insight into your business. Even if the feedback is negative, it is something you can learn from and make your business better.
5) Solve the problem – this sounds silly but you wouldn’t believe how many businesses never solve the problem that the customer was complaining about. If a customer has a problem then by all means offer a solution! You won’t always be able to make a customer happy but it is the effort that you put into it that matters. You always want the customer to at least walk away feeling heard and valued by you.
Do you have any great customer service stories? Or maybe, you have one we can learn from. Please share your experiences here!