Poor Customer Service Can Send Customers Running Away

Posted by Customer Service Mom at 3 April, 2008, 5:48 am

From a customer service perspective, the past couple of weeks have almost sent me over the edge. Since this is my field, I realize I am a little more sensitive than the majority, but it still amazes me how business choose to approach their customers and how much some expect their customers to tolerate.

As more and more businesses are created, the one thing that sets everyone apart from their competitors is how they deal with their customers. Even if you have the best product or service, if you do not handle your customers with kid gloves, they won’t be back. One example is an airline that is based here in Columbus, OH. They have been challenged over the past month with a few service issues. They offer outstanding fares, but to help keep their costs low, they do not have a customer service department. However, all inquiries/issues need to be handled via e-mail. For me, I will be willing to pay a little more to make sure I get outstanding service.

Addressing a customer issue quickly and professionally is key to keeping them as a loyal customer. On Saturday, I received a delivery of brochures I desperately needed. I was so relieved that they arrived on time, but when I looked at them, they were a mess – the printing was off centered and they could not be used. Their customer service department wasn’t open, so I e-mailed them with my concern. I did not get a response until late Monday evening. However, it was not the response I expected. Their e-mail actually advised me they were too busy to respond and I should fill out the form once more and try again or call. After picking my chin up off my desk, I opted to call, which only raised my blood pressure because I was on hold for 45 minutes, to find myself being hung up on by the representative when she asked if she could put me on hold. Long story short (or shorter), it took 2 ? hours repeating my issue 5 times, being told it was my fault by 3 different representatives and 1 supervisor. I was finally connected to another supervisor who found the source of THEIR printing issue, advised me he fixed it and would send it out overnight delivery at their expense. FINALLY!!! But my take away from this experience is that this company takes their customers for granted and I won’t be doing business with them again.

My faith in customer service was revived today. I had a painting contractor come to my home to give me an estimate to paint the exterior of our home. The man came to the door, advised me he was going to walk our property and take pictures and would come back in when he was done. OK, I was bracing myself for the worst. The other bids we received didn’t come with a photo album, so I had a feeling this was not going to be good. Well, he came back and made his presentation. Much to my surprise, it ended with, Mrs. Jaroscak, we will be more than happy to paint your home, but it is something that can really wait until next year. Wow – an honest company that actually turned down a $4,000 job. Again, I had to lift my chin off my desk, but for a positive reason this time. This company has now won me over as a customer. The other bids were lower, but with his presentation and honesty, he built a rapport with me.

Building a positive relationship with customers is what will keep them coming back. It is inevitable owning a business, we will all have negative situations that will arise – it is unavoidable. But how we handle them with the customer may end up being more of a positive customer service experience for your customer than if the entire transaction went smoothly. It provides an opportunity for us to show a customer how much we value their business and our integrity. When a customer raises a concern, be prompt, be sincere, and create a resolution that everyone can walk away and be satisfied with the outcome.

Category : Customer Service