Over the past year, I’ve got sick and tired of bad customer service. I have faced it not just from small outfits such as restaurants but also large companies such as the utility companies, TV package companies, mobile providers etc. It reached a point where I thought; ‘that’s enough’ and I get the general impression that a lot of the public out there feel the same.
My reaction has been, with restaurants I have asked them to remove the service charge and told them exactly why their service was poor. I am not paying for something I am not receiving. With stores where the sales assistant has been stroppy or downright unhelpful I’ve voted with my feet telling them why I am not purchasing before leaving. With the bigger companies, I’ve started comparing, switching, changing provider though I know I’ll have to go through the same rigmarole when whichever deal I’ve switched too ends as they only seem to care about attracting new customers rather than retaining existing ones. As for asking for help when something goes wrong…well, don’t get me started on the whole shenanigans of press button 1, then button 4 etc…
I found this poem which sums up the attitude of far too many companies out there…
Customer Disservice Hotline
Screw you for calling our customer disservice hotline.
Calls will be ordered in any manner we please.
By proceeding you waive all rights to human kindness.
We apologize for any convenience,
and thank you for your impatience.
Written by the rather splendidly named: Mucro Pondera Divinus http://hellopoetry.com/poem/607199/customer-disservice-hotline/
I don’t get it.
Customer Service affects your ROI
When I was a financial adviser I knew that customer service was paramount. I went out of my way to keep my clients happy. To my way of thinking it was easier – why keep seeking new clients when if you kept the existing one’s happy you could earn the same money and develop a loyalty relationship. Now I never wanted to be a huge conglomerate – I had other specific goals in mind. I did find by adopting this attitude I was able to retain 99% of my client base, effectively close my doors to new business and had people recommended by my other clients beating at my door to hire me. What’s not to like?! It was easy, stress free and my turnover kept on increasing year on year. I was happy but more importantly my clients were happy. It makes sound business sense to retain customers as a happy customer will buy more from you!
This is what I feel has been lost by most companies, big and small.
Customer Service and communication
Maybe somewhere in the marketing frenzy that consumes big business they have lost sight of who is paying for their products and services. Clever social media videos that go viral and smart advertising that wins awards mean very little to the average customer on the street who just wants a quality product/service with no hassle or fuss. Some companies have cottoned on to this and make sure that existing customers are offered the same deals as new clients, but it is more than deals and discounts. Old fashioned courtesy, politeness, a swift response to queries and keeping customers informed when something goes wrong, all go a long way towards a good customer experience.
In this increasingly technologically driven age, business seems to have lost sight of the importance of ordinary human contact. While I applaud, and appreciate the convenience of being able to shop online, pay bills online and check my balances etc. I become very disenchanted when I cannot pick up the phone, speak to a real person and get a query resolved.
A word of warning to business that focuses solely on social media to drive its marketing. It can bite back. An unhappy customer can spread the news very effectively via Facebook and twitter and with 75% of people buying on recommendation; poor customer service will soon be highlighted.
Do you know how frustrating it is to phone to cancel your contract, push endless buttons, wait on hold and then finally get into protracted discussions and then have that company turn around and say; ‘well we can offer you the same deal at this lower price’. Aargh! Take your heads out of your profit pockets and do what you’re supposed to. You are a service company so look the word up in the dictionary and start offering the damn thing but make it exemplary.