I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to mega stores, utility providers, websites, or food chains and been dished up an open handed customer service slap.
Horrible customer service isn’t just painful….it’s bad business! We recently asked when is it the proper time to swear at your customers in a video made at Dreamforce 2013 and got some pretty hilarious responses, but in reality you have to keep a level head on a daily basis for success. If you are a big company, give it the mom and pop touch, or have fun with it like the famous Netflix rep did by treating the conversation as if the two were in a Star Trek scenario. Humor can cut through and loosen up the mood, even in the worst of times. You’re there to help your customers, not to do battle.
Here are a few recent experiences I’ve been through:
EXPECTATIONS AND THEN SOME:
I don’t eat pizza all the time, but when I do I want the best, and San Francisco has some of the best food culture out there. It’s usually between Tony’s in North Beach or Patxi’s, which has multiple locations and a deep dish pie that makes my mouth water. A few weeks back, I was lazy and in the mood for deep dish, so I ordered from Patxi’s online and waited… and waited… and waited. I know it takes time to make the deep dish, but it was well over an hour by the time it came. The delivery guy left and we tore into the pizza. It wasn’t bad, but we noticed right away that it was the wrong pizza and the guy was gone. It’s a $30.00 pie, so that didn’t sit well with me. I complained about the issues to their online customer service rep, and he ended up not only refunding my money, but sending me a coupon for a free deep dish. WOW! This kind of service really makes a company stand out, especially compared with some of the other guys…
I knew my internet was slow, but when my buddy Dennis did a test on it with his phone, I was shocked by the results — under 1 MB of download and upload speeds! I have had some legendary issues with AT&T in the past, but this was ridiculous. I called and had them up the service to their top speed in my area. All that did was put shoes on a snail. I now range around 1 MB for upload and download speed. That’s close to the dial up speeds of bygone days. I went through the grueling process of getting an agent on the phone who quickly informed me that it is “up to 6 MB of speed.” “OK,” I said, “I understand that your product doesn’t function well in one the world’s largest tech cities, so why do I have to pay more money than almost any other city for an inferior product? Can I get a discount, because your service fails to meet expectations.” Short answer was no. I tried posting on their community board, but not one responded… It got lost in their system. Which is bad, but not as bad as…
I realized my HSA banking account with Benefit Wallet was low on funds. This account is for medical and very important, so I got online and tried to set up auto funds transfer from my checking account. The link was broken and returned an internal server error. I tried it on three different browsers… No good. I looked for a help section on the site… Nothing. I found a simple contact form, but with no contact information. Immediately I broke into a cold sweat. This is a sign that a company doesn’t want to be bothered by its customers, the people who pay it’s bills. I wrote a message. In a day, I received a message back telling me to call. They gave me a phone number, so I called and a woman told me to contact via the site. I told her I did that, so she said to wait a few days and then try the link again, followed by hanging up on me. I’ve been calling and sending form messages for the last month and the link is still broken. I did some investigation and found out it’s a Xerox company. I contacted their corporate office… Nothing.
This is how companies lose customers.
So, now I’m going to cancel my HSA and start the search for a new internet provider. It could have been really easy to implement a turnkey solution such as a customer community that keeps customers engaged, providing outcome resolution through discussion and support solutions. I do feel that the tide is turning on many of the mega companies that felt their products/services were so needed that they didn’t have to engage their customers. I personally hope for a day where support is a quick and efficient medium for all companies.