In today’s economy, many people have forgotten one simple fact: as the consumer, you have all of the power. You have the power to influence business decisions, hiring procedures, and customer service, among other things, with very little effort. The simple fact is, companies are listening to your comments, particularly when you go out of your way to provide them this input.
Customer service is a failing effort at many companies. Devotion to upholding the image of the company seems to be a thing of the past. So often, I encounter rude customer service representatives who have been poorly trained and cannot even attempt to address my concerns, as they don’t even care. Many companies are not fully aware of this as they grow in size. Often times, the district manager may not have any idea how bad some employees, or even managers are. This is where you come in. You can, and should, inform companies about the service that you get. It is in this way that we, as consumers, can make our best efforts at having the buying experiences we want. Remember, your input is very valuable. Many companies go to great lengths to get this kind of input, from paying people to take surveys, to hiring outside evaluation companies.
I am calling for everyone to make an effort to improve customer service. Tell every company you encounter about their service, especially if it is exceptional, or exceptionally bad. This will help make sure that good customer service representatives are rewarded. Conversely, it will help get rid of people with poor service skills. Another alternative is that people with poor customer service skills will be disciplined and retrained, which can help keep the problems from occurring elsewhere.
For example, awhile back my wife and I flew on Southwest airlines. We had a very pleasant experience, however, on one branch of our flight, the air nozzle was broken on our aisle. It really didn’t bother us too much, but after we got home, I called in to their customer service number. I figured that if no one called in, they may never be made aware of the problem. They were so apologetic for this that they gave us two $50 gift vouchers for our trouble, and in doing that, earned two customers for life.
Previous to our Southwest flight, we used Northwest Airlines. Our experience with them was drastically different. They were rude, all of our flights were delayed, they lost our luggage, etc. The entire experience was miserable. I called into their customer service department and was put on hold for an extremely long time. I got so fed up, I hung up the phone and decided to just e-mail my complaint. I got a generic template letter apologizing for the experience and offering me a $10 voucher. Now you can truly see why I am so devoted to Southwest Airlines now, as they really seem to care about their customer.
One final example involves Best Buy. A friend of mine ordered a refrigerator from them and was having it delivered. The delivery crew came 4 hours early on the first attempt with no notification. The second day, they didn’t show up. On the third day, the delivery was finally made, but then the refrigerator had problems. Now in Best Buy’s defense, they use third party delivery services to deliver their products. In this case, they had an extremely bad company. Had my friend not called in, Best Buy would have been unaware of this. In the end, Best Buy did a wonderful job of making everything right. They gave our friend a $100 gift card, a $400 Dyson vacuum cleaner, and most importantly, a sincere apology. This resolution was more than enough to keep my friend happy, and she gladly uses her new vacuum to this day.
In this day and age, so many people complain about poor customer service experiences. While it is terrible when this happens to you, make sure that you don’t just sit idly by. For your sake, and the sake of the company you are dealing with, tell them about your experience. What examples of fantastic service or horrible let downs do you have?
**I will be starting a website to detail customer service experiences, and will be using your tales of customer service to help people see how different companies are handling their customer complaints. Visit DEMAND SATISFACTION to check it out.