When customers have a bad service experience, in this connected world, customers get angry and even. A recent survey by ClickFox took a close look at what the repercussions are of a bad customer service and found 52% of disgruntled customers spout off to family and friends, and 32% will stop doing business with the company that wronged them. However, when customers take to social media to air their wrath more than 60% other consumers are influenced by these negative comments.
So giving customers poor service and not putting it right to your customer’s satisfaction is very short sighted. My recent experience with Tower Designs has proved this point.
I participated in a one-off exhibition, designed and planned a printed display, through the print supplier Tower Designs. This was not my cheapest option, but they were a preferred supplier of our network. To get a response to my order request (this should have been a warning sign) I had to contact the network.
Two days later, due to lack of stock a more expensive quality paper was ordered and paid in full, and delivery promised at noon the following week. On the delivery day, the tracking number on the courier site was not progressing, this I queried, but the supplier insisted they have the correct information to wait for delivery and an entire day was wasted waiting in for a delivery that was still in France. At the end of the delivery day and after a ‘full investigation’ Tower Designs admitted the order was not picked up by the couriers. Had the supplier reacted earlier on the delivery query, the situation would have been discovered and resolved in time for the important exhibition opening.
The order was finally delivered in the afternoon so while the exhibition was open, we had to change the display.
What I received was a catalogue of accusations, excuses and finger pointing: Apparently
• I had missed the deadline (then why was the order completed?)
• I was told the order would be late (then why would I submit the ordered?)
• I should allow three days after delivery time to receive order (then why give a tracking number and delivery time?
Then I was quoted their out clause buried in terms and conditions not sent with the order but referred to one year ago when registering your account.
What I did not get was:
• An apology for the missed deadline, for giving the wrong information and wasting an important prevent day.
• An acknowledgement that mistakes were made and that going forward the system and processes will be improved.
• I requested a refund of the additional parking charges and a 25% refund on the display cost – this was rejected by Tower Designs!
What must you do when a customer complains?
1. Listen for the problem: take customer complaint seriously.
2. Embrace complaints: research shows that 50% of your customer experience difficulties and for every five customers that complain 95 will not say anything but may just walk away.
3. Listening to your customer: this stop your disgruntled customers complain to the world.
4. Do not take complaints personally: many complaining customers are ignored which angers them further.
5. Take responsibility for failing your customer standards and learn from the experience: always assume the customer is right even when they are wrong.
6. Thank the customer for making you aware of your business shortcomings with an apology and/or compensation: negative word-of-month is hugely amplified by the power of social networks.
7. Quick and efficient response pays dividends: effective responses can win new loyal customers rather than influence existing customer negatively.
See 10 great customer service responses on Twitter and my discussion below:
For those striving for excellent customer service experience, best practice standards that are continually reviewed and improved is a good starting point. Do not make the mistake of assuming that the prescribed, standards will suit every customer, every customer and situation is different. Think of how you want your customers to feel and what you would want them to say after using your service, then devise a customer service best practice standards that accommodates that the necessary behaviours.
If you have any experiences of good and bad customer service please share them.
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