When was the last time that you experienced GREAT customer service? It seems that over the last decade or so, many businesses have adopted a model of striving to provide only adequate or good customer service. Most of the time, clerks and cashiers in stores barely smile or acknowledge you when you are at the register, and employees that you encounter randomly in the store seem to be hoping that you won’t ask them for help. I dread having to call customer service for most companies and if I am in the unfortunate position of needing to contact technical support, I make sure that I have drinks and snacks and get comfortable for what is likely to be a lengthy phone call.
I have, in the last several months, had many occasions to contact (or be contact by) customer service for several companies. Earlier this year, the car adapter for my Microsoft Zune MP3 stopped working just a few short weeks after I purchased it, I was not looking forward to contacting the company about this. The big box store that I had purchased it at wouldn’t help me without a receipt, which I could not locate. The product, however, was still under the manufacturer’s 90-day warranty. I called, explained what had happened, and the astonishingly nice gentleman on the phone said that he would have a free replacement sent to me the next day. That’s it. I didn’t have to jump through hoops, cut through any redtape, or kiss a frog to make it happen. Two days later, my new adapter showed up and works great.
Just a few weeks ago, I was having some issues with the speaker in my Blackberry. Basically, I could no longer hear my phone ring because the speaker was not working. So, after I put my daughter to bed, I grabbed a drink and some snacks and called customer service for my wireless company. The rep that answered my call was very pleasant and, after verifying that my device was still covered under warranty, arranged to send me a replacement device. While waiting for the system to process everything, he and I even had a nice little chat about how nice it was to find a pleasant person on the other end of the phone.
On the other hand, I happened to be around when a client was dealing with an overnight shipping company today. They had requested a package pickup at a specific building. Someone in the client’s office spoke with a rep from the company who said that she would contact the driver and relay the request to them. The driver either did not get the message or did not follow through with the request, and the package did not get picked up on time. When my client called the company to request a credit, she encountered a rude customer service rep who insisted that my client was mistaken and that no live person had spoken with my client’s colleague, that the mistake was my client’s fault, and they would not be credited. I have had similar unpleasant experiences with the same company looking for packages that were not delivered on time or were lost in transit and somehow ended up several states away for no apparent reason. How difficult would it have been for this company to apologize for the mistake and issue a credit in the interest of continuing a potentially lucrative relationship with my client?
When dealing with your clients, remember that every contact that you have with your client – on the phone, by mail, email, blog, social media, and even your voice mail message – is an opportunity to leave them with a GREAT customer service experience. Most consumers will tell up to 10 people when they have a bad experience with a business, but will only tell up to four people when they have had a good experience. At the very least, that should be enough reason to strive to give good customer service (so your customers aren’t telling 10 people about their bad experience). And, when you can provide a GREAT customer service experience, you just might shock your customer into telling people about the experience. They might even blog about it!
So, when was the last time you had a GREAT customer service experience? I invite you to share you experience below…