You don’t need a PhD in marketing to know that good customer service is essential. If people have got as far as handing over money in response to your offer then they should be made to feel as good about it as possible.
So why is it that on at least five occasions in the last month I have been left feeling like a dupe?
Here are 5 real life examples of bad customer service as experienced by me.
- First up the AA breakdown service. As I stood by the side of the M1 motorway with my entire family wrapped in blankets the telephone operator attempted to locate me. ‘So you’re on the M1, is that clockwise or anti clockwise?’ My problem? Ignorance. The M1 is the UK’s oldest north/south motorway. Upshot ? She sent the truck to the wrong place.
- In at number 2, Strada Pizza. They refused to take a two for one voucher at a restaurant in Center Parcs despite there being nothing on the voucher to say that this offer was restricted. When I wrote to their head office to complain I do not get a reply. Result? A very unhappy customer who has not been heard.
- Daniels Department store. In their favour I will say straight up that they did give me my money back. Thank you. However, the assistant argued with me for a long, long time about it. I was returning a £6 toy which was badly made and didn’t really work. They argued that this was simply how they were made and so it was my choice/my loss. Result? I decided to go to John Lewis next time because they are always nice to me when I take things back. (Note to self; fighting with shop assistants is a skill. I think I did ok.)
- Tenpin Bowling. Booking an hours bowling with my family should be simple. It’s not. They have a website which I found personally to be so twistedly unusable that I was actually crying when I came off. I circled one particular task 3 times before getting it right. Despite the fact that it kept telling me that I was going to be saving money by booking online I felt that I was being offered no discount when then the final total came up and I had been made to do all the work. Complain? You can call our 10p a minute phone line. No thanks. So now they think I am a satisfied customer. I am not.
- Opticians Dollond and Aitchison. I once took my youngest daughter to get her eyes checked. She was fine. We used D and A because they have a reputation for quality service and the service was indeed good. But for several years now they have been mailing me letters telling me that I must bring my daughter in for a check up. The more I do nothing the more irritating letters I seem to get. The message behind these mail shots is that by ignoring them I am risking my daughter’s health. I resent the suggestion. It may only be perceived on my part but it’s enough for me to know I won’t use them again. A friend has had exactly the same experience so, don’t do it D and A, you are losing customers.
Listening to customers is one of the most valuable things a business can do. For all I know every one of the companies above thinks they are doing a really great job. It is up to us to tell them that they are not.
Thanks for reading. If you found this content useful I would love to work on blog posts with you. Sharing useful content is one of the best ways to improve your customers’ experience. Together we could get your message out there. I use twitter and other social media to drasticaly improve your bottom line. One client has reported orders up 50% on last year since we started working together.
Click over to the About Me page or mail me Lucy.Thorpe@btconnect.com to find out more.