Thursday, 28 April 2011

Banging the Drum for Great Customer Service


The customer is not always right.  There…….I’ve said it.  There’s no doubt that this is true.  However, when trying to build brand loyalty and build up your customer base it’s essential for retailers to make their customers feel good, even if they’re wrong, and those few little words, ‘what can I do to put this right for you?’, will often be the difference between losing a customer for ever and talking you down to everyone they know, and having them do what you really want them to, which is praise you to their friends.

It used to be that if you had a problem with a retailer you would tell just a few people and it would go no further.  Now with the power of the internet, user generated content (customer reviews), blogs, Facebook and Twitter the disgruntled customer can tell the world.  Literally.

I had some of the worst customer service today that I have received from any online retailer. This was with a hair and beauty salon and here is what happened.

1.   I placed my order for three products online.  I hear nothing more.

2.   A box arrives containing just one, with one product crossed out,  and a ‘to follow’ note beside the third.

3.   I have been charged in full for all three already

4.   I call up, I hang on for ten minutes and ask for an immediate refund, which, in all fairness, I am promised.  But I had to ask for it.

5.   This is where it gets really bad……………….the owner of the store calls me.  Rather than apologise, right at the start, and try and soothe an obviously busy and irritated customer, I am told that the problem is due to various stockist/warehouse issues, that they have thousands of happy customers.  Apparently one customer does not matter.  Or that is how I am left feeling after what is virtually a five minute tirade.

I interject that this is about customer service and not making the customer wait until the short delivery arrives before they find out the products are not available.  Let alone charging them for goods they know they have not despatched.

Good customer service is the cornerstone of any business, online or off.  Retailers and service providers ignore that at their peril, I’m sure you’ll agree.  Seriously bad service is never forgotten.  And it doesn’t matter how big or small you are, how successful, how many customers you have.  Your reputation can turn overnight.

If you have any good, bad, or indifferent customer service stories you’d like to tell me please don’t hesitate to comment……….