We all have stories of what our best and worst customer service experiences are. For some of you, this experience will make you a loyal customer for life or make sure that you never use that company again.
Below are two experiences that come to mind for me.
Our television service provider, who shall remain nameless (not a satellite company), is somewhat notorious for poor customer service. They have a good product, but if and when you need to have an issue resolved, it can be a train wreck of an experience.
For example, a few years ago we had to close our checking account. We had several monthly bills automatically withdrawn every month: electric, gas, water, cell phone, cable, etc. We called each of them, filled out paperwork, and were told the process for each.
When we contacted our cable provider, after waiting on hold for over twenty minutes, being disconnected, then connected to the wrong department, then finally transferred to a real person, we were told that this would be no problem. “Just fill out this form and send it in, and then next month the billing will come out of your new account.”
Fast forward two months. The billing is still coming from the old account or rather the closed account. And each time it does, there is a “bounced check” fee and late fees. After several rounds of calls and discussions, I was told, in a condescending, you’re-too-dumb-to-be-on-the-phone-with-me-manner, that I should know that it takes several months to change this process and there is nothing more we can do about YOUR PROBLEM.
The icing on the cake - after I refused to pay the fees, they finally managed to go into my new account and take the “late” fees out without asking, but still would not connect billing to my new account.
On the other hand, I do have an example of exemplary customer service, and it’s a familiar business -Publix.
Several of us could probably give a glowing story or two about this grocery store, however, I have long been a resentful shopper there. You see, I’m a cheapskate. I have been known to squeak a little when I walk. With that being said, I’m also a converted shopper to this place.
Last year I made a quick shopping trip in to get a few items I needed to make gumbo. I had my items in my basket and was ready to check out, when I realized that I had the wrong sausage (not the one Mr. Cheapie had a coupon for), so I set my basket down up front and ran back to get the right sausage. When I returned, my basket was gone. Was someone else too lazy to shop for their own gumbo items? No, the fast and friendly folks at Publix had noticed the unattended basket and put the items back where they came from.
When I asked an employee where they may be, he asked for my grocery list that was in my hand, and took off. He was fast, too. In just a few minutes, he returned with the items on my grocery list, wiped the sweat from his brow, and apologized for the inconvenience.
Now this is not ground breaking stuff here, but I could just imagine if this happened elsewhere, the reaction would have been much different.
As a small business owner, you have a choice. An easy choice. Do you want to provide customer service that is so good that people have to talk about it or do you want to provide service so bad, that people have to talk about it?