Maybe with customer service, leopards can change their spots.
Is there hope for organisations that have a terrible reputation for customer service? Can they turn themselves around and deliver service excellence?
I have just received an email from my satellite TV provider. It was extremely clear and polite. It said that I’d had a free trial of a new product (not that I could remember and I hadn’t used it) but nevertheless, it said the trial was about to end and, not to worry because, and I quote “it’ll automatically come off your account after the trial period and you won’t need to do a thing.”
And do you know what. I believe them.
A few weeks ago there was a problem with my home broadband, and when I called there was a clear message saying that the issue was in the area and rather than waste my time talking to someone, they were fixing it and I should try again in an hour. I tried again ten minutes later, I’m not blessed with enourmous amounts of patience, and it was working.
Why am I telling you this you might ask? Aren’t good news stories boring? Don’t we just want to talk about when things go wrong?
Well, we do. And I will. But the examples above demonstrate far more than just good customer service, dare I say, great customer service.
They tell me that, no matter how bad your customer service is, there is hope and it can get better. I know this because when I became a customer of this organisation I had an altogether different experience.
Contrast the friendly email, and the helpful, informative answer machine message with this.
•Sixteen (16) weeks to install.
•Thirteen (yes, that was 13) different boxes.
•Two dishes, countless cables.
•Twelve different engineers, each who told me a different story and blamed another part of the operation.
•Eight and a half hours of phone calls.
•Twenty nine emails.
In the end, I had my own personal trouble-shooter, a lovely lady from Glasgow for whom I had a direct number and email address should I have an issue. Although I ordered the product in August, it was the following February before I had to start paying due to the compensation they had to pay.
This happened six years ago. How times change.
If you are an organisation who, how shall we put it?, has some work to do on your customer service delivery then the above story should be all the encouragement you need.
No-one said delivering excellent customer service was easy. No-one said it happened overnight.
It’s a journey and sometimes a long and hard one. But if you had told me six years ago I would still be a customer of the company above, and singing their praises on a blog I would have said “what’s a blog?”
Then I would have laughed. And said I didn’t think so. But it just goes to show what can happen and what can be achieved with the right focus, effort, people, resources, commitment, determination and of course, motivation.
Because that’s the difference between an organisation that can adapt and change and understands what its customers want. And one that doesn’t.