Home > Leadership, The Monday Musings Column > it’s as easy to do customer service well as it is to get it wrong

it’s as easy to do customer service well as it is to get it wrong

Customer service Is something of a passion of mine and over the last week a few examples good, bad and indifferent have prompted these thoughts.

The first came when shopping at one of the large retail chains. I try to help others help me and had begun to sort through assorted vouchers and coupons as I waited for the person in front of me, but had not finished by the time that my turn came and so I offered the cashier the ones that I thought applied. “You can’t use this one and that one in the same transaction.” I was told in a tine that suggested I might have in some way insulted their mother.

The contrast with shopping in America is strong. There if I do not have a coupon when I come to pay I am usually offered one. I can remember once over there when we went to buy some saucepans. At the till I was not only offered a coupon, but one that saw me leave with so much stuff that someone had to help me carry it to the car. I paid half price for what I went in for, but took home goods to five times that value. We have a long way to go here.

On the business front an item we ordered via the web arrived, but what was in the (sealed) package was not what it said on the box. A few clicks on the web and we printed off a return postage label and the package was back in the post the same day. Two days later an email confirmed that the goods had been received and that we would be contacted within five working days. Now five days seems a long time, but we were busy and ten has passed before we realised that there was no news. We rang, gave the transaction number and were told that the item had not been received.

We pointed out that we had been emailed and after a couple of minutes checking they apologised, said that they did have to item and that a replacement would be sent that day. It arrived the next morning, so a bit of a curate’s egg in terms of service, but one where the attitude of the people on the customer service team was good; they were just let down by a process glitch thst should be easy to fix.

Next another horror story. One of our business insurances needed renewing and, as usual, an internet trawl helped in making the decision to go with the same supplier as last year. Clicking on the option to renew there and then the payment details were entered, but then instead if a message to confirm the renewal one that said that the transaction could not be completed and we should try later. Within ten minutes a very pushy young man telephoned and as good as demanded that we give him credit or debit card details over the ‘phone. He did not get them. The next day we received a call from someone claiming to be from a sister insurance company. He too was aggressive in his approach and got the ‘phone put down on him. Neither company is likely to get any business from us in the foreseeable future.

To end on a good example something we purchased failed to perform and we emailed customer care. They telephoned us within thirty minutes and, having confirmed our address, promised action. The next day we received a replacement, a pre-paid label and padded envelope to return the faulty item and twenty pounds worth of vouchers along with an apology. Some people know how to do it well; it isn’t any harder than doing it badly, so why do so many make such a meal of it?

 

 

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