Defying Expectations. How Good Customer Service Can Turn a Negative Into a Positive | July 24, 2004
We’ve all experienced poor customer service before. Whether it’s seeking help from your hosting company or returning faulty goods, these situation rarely end positively. You get bounced around from person to person, end up being transferred to the wrong department or sit waiting for a return phone call that never happens. When you do finally talk to somebody they either treat you like a fool or assume the problem is your fault.
The level of poor customer service is so endemic that we actually expect it. We expect that when the TV breaks, we are going to have to spend weeks on the phone to trying to get it fixed.
Companies seem to spend inordinate amounts of time and effort getting your business, but very little effort when something goes wrong. However they really are missing an opportunity. It’s at crisis points where people need help the most and when they are at their most impressionable. Do a bad job and they’ll leave with a sour taste in their mouths, but do a good job and they will be loyal customers for years to come.
An excellent case in point is Apple Computers. I bought my girlfriend an iPod for Christmas, but after only a short while the remote started to wear out. A couple of days ago it finally broke so we contacted Apple to complain. Less than 36 hours later I was signing for a new remote and along with a new set of headphones.
This has to be the best service I think I’ve ever received. No back and forth phone calls or waiting weeks for somebody to email. Just fast, effective service. We went from being pissed off with Apple because the remote had broken to singing their praise, all because they didn’t muck us around.
Every time somebody interacts with your company you have an opportunity to impress them and reinforce your brand values. Generally it’s much cheaper to retain clients than it is to recruit new ones. That means it’s vitally important for companies to look after their existing customer base.
This will probably sound obvious but it’s something that I think many companies forget. The quicker and more efficiently you get something resolved, the cheaper it’s going to be for you. When I have a server problem I end up having to ring our hosts half a dozen times before I find somebody willing to help. Rather than spend 10 minutes solving the problem and leaving me thinking what a great service they give, I make 6, 5minute phone calls and leave thinking that we really must get round to switching hosts.
I’m sure this has something to do with Apples fast service. What’s the point of spending an hour having to deal with a broken $5 component. Just send out a new one. The customer’s happy and Apple have just saved themselves an hours which they can better spend coming up with cool new products (or dealing with iPod battery complaints).
Posted at July 24, 2004 9:58 PM